Douglas Fir

Pseudotsuga menziesii

Appearance

Shown with water-based finish (top), and oil-based finish (bottom)

Shown with water-based finish (top), and oil-based finish (bottom)

Color: Heartwood is yellowish tan to light brown. Sapwood is tan to white. Heartwood may be confused with that of Southern Yellow Pine. Radical color change upon exposure to sunlight.

Grain: Normally straight, with occasional wavy or spiral texture. Nearly all fir flooring is vertical-grain or riftsawn clear-grade material.

Species & Grade Variations: Wood varies greatly in weight and strength. Young trees of moderate to rapid growth have reddish heartwood and are called “Red Fir”. The narrow-ringed wood of old trees may be yellowish-brown and is known as “Yellow Fir.”

Properties

Hardness (Janka): 660; 49% softer than Northern Red Oak.

Dimensional Stability: Above average (change coefficient .00267; 28% more stable than Red Oak).

Durability: Durable but easily dented. Somewhat brittle and splinters easily, especially with age. Used for flooring, but may not be suitable for all applications due to its softness.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Harder to work with hand tools than the soft pines.

Sanding: Sands satisfactorily.

Nailing: Good holding ability.

Finishing: Some boards develop a slight pinkish to bright salmon color when finished with some products. Because of tendency toward color change, care must be taken to avoid oversanding when refinishing an existing floor.

Comments: Sometimes milled for flooring as end-grain block, which is significantly harder than plainsawn.

Cost

(Relative to plain sawn select Red Oak)
Multiplier: 1.70

Availability

Readily available.