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Douglas Fir

Conifer. Height 200`. Trunk diameter 5`-12`. Very long lived, a 500 year old Douglas fir is not unusual. It is also a very rapid grower. Distribution on the Pacific Coast from British Columbia, Canada south through Washington, Oregon into California south to Monterey. It ranges eastward into the Rocky Mountains. It is the state tree of Oregon. The largest Douglas fir is believed to live in Olympic National Park in Washington. Douglas fir is one of the best timber trees on earth.

The Douglas fir is both big and beautiful; very handsome by anyone`s standard. But it is the foresters` idea of perfection: very tall with a thick trunk tapering up gradually with no branches for the first 100 feet. The wood of the Douglas fir varies in weight and density but it is classified as a softwood. It is moderately hard, however, and exceptionally strong. The many grades of this very useful wood are listed below. Generally the wood can be described as straight grained; pale cream to light orange-red in color. It works readily and easily with both hand tools and machinery. The properties of this wood suit it perfectly to many forms of construction needs.

The sheer volume of the Douglas fir wood produced is permitted by the very large size of the tree. Much of Douglas fir is sold in the form of plywood. Both plywood and lumber are available in almost all grades

Listed here are the seven classes of Douglas fir with recommended uses. 

SUPERIOR FINISH: The highest grade. Many pieces absolutely clear. Used for interior trim and cabinet work where the finest appearance is important. Often finished natural, or can be stained or painted.

PRIME FINISH: Fine appearance. Ideally suited to applications where requirements are less exacting: trim, flooring, doors, sash.

E FINISH: Has some knots. Widely used where cross cutting and ripping is necessary.

SELECT MERCHANTABLE: Intended for use in housing and light construction when appearance is a consideration.

CONSTRUCTION: Intended for heavy construction. Widely used for joists and rafters.

STANDARD: Available in large quantities and more widely used than all other grades for general construction. Used for joists, rafters and studs.

UTILITY: Selected for utility value where appearance is not important. Combines a high degree of usefulness at a low cost for general construction where building codes allow.