Latin Name: Pseudotsuga menziesii.
Origin: Native to the Western United States and Eastern Asia.
Common Names: Douglas Spruce, Oregon Pine, Columbian Pine.
The Tree (characteristics): The Douglas Fir tree can grow to heights of 200 to 250 feet tall with a trunk that is 5 to 6 feet in diameter. The Douglas Fir has long, flat, spiral-like needles that grow directly from the branch surrounding it. The cones have three-pointed bracts that protrude from the cone scales. The cones will mature in one season and retain their scales when they fall. Douglas Fir is considered one of the best timber trees in North America. It is a popular choice for ornamental purposes and Christmas trees. These trees are commonly used for reforestation along the Pacific Coast.
Appearance of Wood: Sapwood is yellowish to reddish-white in color. Fresh heartwood can be yellowish-brown to reddish yellow in color and will darken quickly to a brown-red to dark red color.
Density: The Douglas Fir tree is medium-weight and is considered hard. Average reported specific gravity ranges from .45 to .51 with an average dried weight of 32 pounds per cubic foot. Janka Hardness is 620 pounds of force.
Drying and Shrinkage: Douglas Fir has low shrinkage, good stability, and is not prone to warp when in use. Average reported shrinkage values are 4.5% radial, 7.3% tangential, 11.6% volumetric.
Working Properties: Douglas Fir machines and glues well. It does tend to have a blunting effect on cutting edges. The wood readily accepts stain and when working with the wood it tends to have a resinous distinct odor.
Durability: Douglas Fir is naturally resistant against fungal and insect infestation and has natural durability when exposed to the elements.
Uses: Douglas Fir is often used in building and construction including balconies and pergolas. It can be used for flooring, paneling, the production of cellulose products, and plywood.
Availability: Douglas Fir is widely available although old-growth and reclaimed boards can be more expensive.