Douglas Fir is a softwood species belonging to the Pinaceae family. It is characterized by its straight grain, which can be even or wavy/curly, and its contrast between earlywood and latewood. The sapwood is typically whitish to pale yellow or red-pink in colour and varies in thickness, while the heartwood is variable in colour. Douglas Fir is known for its attractive, distinctive, vibrant grain and few knots. It is fairly uniform and finishes well, making it a popular choice for windows, doors, and structural members, especially when exposed or used as a feature such as roof trusses. Despite its softwood classification, Douglas Fir is surprisingly durable.
Oregon Pine, Columbian Pine, British Columbian Pine, Blue Douglas Fir.
Douglas fir has some resistance to decay but is vulnerable to attack from longhorn and jewel beetles. The heartwood is resistant to preservative treatment and treatment is not normally effective althouugh the sapwood does accept treatment.
The drying and seasoning of Douglas Fir is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Douglas Fir - Due to the low moisture content of the heartwood, the wood dries quickly and readily. There can be problems with staining from extractives and occasionally with honeycombing and ring failure. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.
Douglas Fir has high crushing and stiffness strength. Medium resistance to shock loads. It works very well with hand and machine tools but does have a blunting effect on cutters. It planes, nails, screws, turns and glues very well. It has poor painting and varnishing qualities but stains adequately.
It produces more plywood than any other timber, and vast quantities of veneer. It is also used for structural beams, building, domestic and factory flooring, formwork, packing cases, marine piling, interior and exterior joinery, cabins, vats and railway sleepers (railroad ties).
Possible Health Risks:
Wood Worker's Thoughts:
Nice timber to work with, there is a considerable hard and soft grain contrast both in appearance and texture
Commonly asked questions about Douglas Fir Wood
Is Douglas Fir a hardwood or a softwood? Douglas Fir is a softwood. It is the same for; is Douglas Fir hardwood or softwood? - Douglas Fir is a softwood.
Most groups/families of species share the same characteristics but this normally relates to their life as plants. Individual species do not always share the same characteristics as their relatives, in terms of the wood. Many factors influence how we use the wood and what we use it for, including where it grows, how it is forested, how it seasons/dries, etc. The answers to the following common questions, therefore relate to this particular species/wood and not the Fir family as a whole. Even more specific – our answers relate to the wood (as we know it) in its form as a useable resource.
What colour is Douglas Fir? Douglas Fir can be described as light brown, yellow/brown, orange
Is Douglas Fir good for outdoor use? or is Douglas Fir good for exterior use? Douglas Fir is most suited for interior/interior use. Douglas Fir can be used as an exterior/external timber (without treatment).
Whether the wood is naturally durable or not we would still recommend that it is decorated and/or coated with a suitable product to provide protection and/or maintain its appearance. This even applies when using the wood internally as, even subtle, changes in temperature or humidity will affect the wood. This will depend on the application/purpose of the wood and the user’s desired appearance. We also recommend that a recoating, care and maintenance programme is adhered to, for the life of an exterior wood. Wood cannot rot if it is kept dry – coatings and decoration can provide this protection. All of that said there are many durable timbers that are often left to weather naturally and will last for many years untreated/coated – movement and visual changes will occur but this is sometimes the desired effect. All wood is hygroscopic (it 'wants' to be in tune with its environment) it will therefore take on water from moisture in the air (or when directly exposed to or submerged in water) and ‘release it’ when dry or exposed to heat. This, inevitably, results in movement and dimensional change. For more about moisture in wood please click here - Moisture in wood