Much of our fencing and construction work uses Douglas Fir, which we believe is the finest softwood grown in the UK.
The Douglas Fir is a magnificent tree when standing and a superb timber once felled. The native Douglas Fir grows up to a height of 40 metres with a diameter of up to one metre.
One of the reasons it is widely used in the construction and fencing sectors is its strength to weight ratio. Douglas Fir has the highest strength rating of any softwood and is the preferred species for timber framing.
Although its strength properties are similar to those of oak, Douglas Fir is 30 per cent lighter in weight and, as a structural timber, offers a cost effective alternative with the price for an equivalent section being approximately half that of green oak.
Much of the Douglas Fir used in the UK is generally sourced either from the UK or from mainland Europe.
A few facts about Douglas Fir
Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) is an evergreen conifer species in the pine family. It is native to North America although it was introduced to northern Europe more than 200 years ago.
The qualities that make Douglas Fir so popular in construction are: rapid growth and medium density but good strength. It also takes well to glueing and sawing. The more mature a tree, the greater its levels of durability.
Douglas Fir has a pinkish to dark red heartwood, with a yellow sapwood. The sapwood has a 5-10cm thickness. The texture is medium and the timber has a straight grain.
One downside for the Dougas Fir’s usefulness in construction is its tendency to split, making pre-boring necessary.
Uses of Douglas Fir
Due to its strength, Douglas-fir is primarily used for building and construction. It is hard and resistant to abrasion, making it suitable for uses where wear is a factor, such as bridge parts, log homes and commercial buildings.
It is one of the finest timbers for heavy structural purposes, including roof trusses and glulam beams, (glued laminated timber, a type of structural engineered wood product comprising a number of layers of dimensioned lumber bonded together with durable, moisture-resistant structural adhesives).
Structurally, it is used in the form of lumber, timbers, pilings and plywood.
Douglas Fir is also used to produce a wide variety of products including general millwork, flooring, furniture, cabinets and veneer. This species has excellent strength properties and is well known for its workability. The wood dries rapidly with small dimensional movement and little tendency to check. It is relatively easy to work, with good machining qualities.
Wood offers the way forward
At Dodd & Co, we have been using wood, particularly Douglas Fir, to construct a range of agricultural, equine and domestic buildings. More and more of our customers are coming to appreciate the many benefits of building with wood. Wood is a beautiful, natural building option that offers durability and versatility, making it well suited to a range of building applications and types. Using wood provides a renewable and a low-impact, green alternative to energy-intensive building materials such as concrete, aluminium and steel. It is the only construction material that stores carbon. Wood also offers cost advantages.