Douglas Fir, 1956 vs 2017

Forum: Wood & Lumber

Small piece came out my house. What a difference! Imagine what it will look like in another 60 years after they figure out how to GMO it into a single year’s growth to harvest.

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17 Replies

Madts ...

WoW.

—Madts.

Jack ...

Amazing. I have some old growth cherry and the rings are a lot more tight but not as extreme as your fir. With old forest density gone, on top of GMO, we will be lucky if future woods hold a wood screw.

Brian ...

Someone here posted an interesting video about wooden firemen ladders. They’re preferred because unlike aluminum, they will not collapse without notice. San Fransisco has an inspector at the ladder shop that measures the growth ring density. Home Despot tubafors need not apply for that job. Anyway, they use Douglas Fir and it looked a lot like the top picture. I don’t know where they find it today. Probably a spot held more secret than a good fishing hole.

Whitacrebespoke ...

They used a lot of Honduran pine for long ladders or at least In the U.K. they did.

I find this argument amusing, slow grown Doug is available but it’s mainly graded for joinery. For structural timber they seem to like fast grown for what ever reason (weight, lack of knots, profitability maybe) here in U.K. all construction timber is mainly white wood species like spruce and I’ve seen 4×2 with as few as 6 growth rings.

I got some stunning clear vertical grain slow grown doug in stock at the moment but at the price you would only want to use it for joinery.

Brian ...

Practically every construction grade 2x it’s pithy. I’ve noticed that all the lumber the scaffold crews carry is stamped “rated for scaffold by OSHA” or something to that effect. I’ll have to look into that so see what the minimum standard is.

a1jim ...

As a contractor of 30 years I have seen a big change in the grading system in lumber, what use to be #3 or #4 is now graded as #1& #2 . Dealing with demolition on some homes built as far back as the 1800s there is a very wide difference from what homes were built with then versus now. I don’t find Doug fir being mostly pithy but I live in the northwest where it’s logged so the material they send to NY might be of an even lesser grade than here. It’s kind of amusing to me that in UK doug fir is considered something they use for joinery.About the only items, we use Fir for are perhaps replacement of old VG flooring, but I understand that some wood(timber) is less available in the UK.

Brian ...

Here we go. OSHA standards for scaffold planking. Someone inspected it.

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/scaffolding/planking.html

Brian ...

Clear Douglas Fir and spruce is wonderful for making jigs and for shop furniture. Once in a while I’ll see clear untreated spruce 2bys at the home despot for cheap.

Whitacrebespoke ...

Douglas fir is exceptional joinery timber that and larch would be the only softwood I’d use is I could I assure you. This is the doug I currently have in making windows from as it’s a good substitute to pitch pine that a lot of the old windows were made from

Whitacrebespoke ...

This is what we get as construction timber and these are good compared to some of what we see. It’s nearly all white wood species spruce usually as it’s strength to weight ratio is one of the best there is for any timber. It’s shockingly non durable and treatment resistant though

Brian ...

That top one is pretty amazing. Really beautiful stuff.

Whitacrebespoke ...


It’s what the bottom sash and inside trim on this are done in it really is exceptional timber. Would be my choice for most softwood joinery but it is expensive on par with some of the exotic hardwoods.

Whitacrebespoke ...

Going back to your ladders Brian, same with timber buildings while the timber will charr and in some cases burn only timber remains structurally stable for a long time after a fire begins, aluminium, plastic, steel all begin to distort at very minor temperatures. Infact here in U.K. steel frame buildings have to be engineered to collapse on their foot print as opposed to falling over.

We have few timber houses built like yours in the states and I think it’s a real shame. My uncle lives in a beautiful Victorian stick framed house, but it may not be mortgageable because it uses a non standard construction method. We’re stuck in the dark ages over here laying vast quantities of bricks but with such large cavities now they are effectively two separate walls. Every one is afraid of fire in the U.K. (possibly because of the sheer number of smokers). A video of a Swedish building method was shown using timber blocks that dovetailed together and were filled with paper and wood waste. It is a fast effiecent and affordable building system but folks in the U.K. said no it was bad as it was a major fire risk. Amyet the system is quicker, more environmentally friendly and the houses take less heating as the insulation and sealing value is massive.

Brian ...

Not mortgageable due to non standard construction? A Victorian home? That is complete insanity. It’s an existing building. If it was such a fire hazard, it would have burned down a long time ago.

Most Europeans I know turn their noses up at frame construction. I guess they had the story of the 3 little pigs drilled into their heads. You’d think after they get the bill from the electrician for adding an outlet they would change their minds. You better love your cement house because plumbing and electrical changes are gonna cost you.

Brian ...

Nice window, by the way.