We love wood! I guess that would be obvious if you’ve ever visited our lumberyard and architectural mill. It’s stacked everywhere! But if pressed about our favorite, we’d have to first narrow down the choices. Though our custom mill loves those beautiful hardwoods – Oaks, Maples, Mahogany, Walnut, Cherry (the list goes on from domestics to exotics), let’s just talk softwoods today. Unlike the hardwood trees that lose their leaves each autumn (called deciduous), softwoods are conifers, with needles to handle the winter snow. We especially love them this time of year because they include our Christmas trees – Spruces, Firs, Pines.
Softwood Lumber Species. In the construction world, softwoods are primarily used for framing lumber, siding, paneling, and decks. Here are the most common softwoods and their main uses:
- Southern Yellow Pine – Framing lumber (especially joists, headers and rafters), pattern stock (sidings, flooring and paneling), and treated lumber.
- SPF (Spruce-Pine-Fir) – Framing lumber (especially plate material and studs)
- Douglas Fir – Framing lumber, pattern stock, timbers, doors
- Cedar – Fencing, decks, trim, decorative timbers
- Redwood – Decks, pattern stock, furniture
- White Pine – Boards, pattern stock, trim, mouldings
- Larch and Hemlock (Hem Fir) – Framing lumber
Wood Characteristics. So if those are our choices, how does a good carpenter decide? There are so many factors and characteristics that he must consider, including strength, stability, elasticity, grain pattern, machinability, stain-ability, decay and insect resistance, cost and availability, among others. Some woods act more as specialists – perfect for specific applications (not so good in others). As in life, there are certainly trade-offs. But is there a “Best All-Around”? A Jim Thorpe or Bo Jackson of softwoods? Bo Knows . . . Softwoods!
Most Popular. If we surveyed our trim carpenters, framers, builders, remodelers and historic preservationists, I’m confident that the overwhelming response to that question would be . . . . . . . . Doug Fir! Here’s why:
- Framing lumber – Straighter walls due to its stability, Better looking studs and plate material
- Pattern stock – Known for beautiful grain and ease of staining, Vertical grain is almost synonymous with mid-century moderns and contemporary exteriors and interiors
- Timbers and beams – Textured or smooth (S4S), Structural strength, Better priced than Cedar, Splits and checks are part of natural beauty and character
- Doors – The “classic” wood door is vertical grain Doug Fir, for traditional homes or contemporary
- Exterior Applications – Old growth, tight grain wood still readily available, reasonably priced and is naturally more durable and resistant to decay, Great for fascia, trim and cornice mouldings.
New STK Doug Fir in Stock. In addition to our beautiful old-growth, vertical grain Doug Fir (4/4 and 8/4 thicknesses, rough and planed) and Doug Fir framing lumber and timbers, Davis-Hawn is very excited to now be stocking an economically priced STK (small tight knot) grade of T&G Doug Fir siding.
It is a reversible V-Groove/flush T&G pattern, perfect for ceilings, porches, soffits and paneling. This product fills a big gap between Yellow Pine V-groove products and premium vertical grade Doug Fir. It is priced much closer to Yellow Pine, but offers the beauty, stability and finishing of Doug Fir (looks great paired with Doug Fir beams). Available exclusively at Davis-Hawn, so come see us and cast your vote for Doug Fir as “Best All-Around” softwood! Email Scott Bachman for pricing.