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Sources of Good Quality Douglas Fir?

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Forum topic by tool_junkie posted 09-29-2014 03:18 PM 1424 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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tool_junkie

296 posts in 1995 days


09-29-2014 03:18 PM

I have been fascinated by the TV stand project in Wood Magazine of March 2014 that they made out of Douglas Fir. I really like how it turned out. The clean straight lines of Doug Fir make it look really modern.

Now being impressed by this project, I want try Doug Fir to build a table. I bought three 2×12 x 10’ boards form Home Depot last night but I am not really pleased with them. They claim to be # 2 or better. They have knots around 2 inches or so and some small cracks here and there. I am not too well versed with lumber grades, so that adds to the confusion.

I guess I need some education in Lumber grades (specifically Doug Fir) and if someone knows of a lumber company in Cedar Rapids, IA area where I may have better chances of finding cleaner boards. What would be a better than #2 grade?

Has anyone bought from bigger lumber companies like Gilcrest and Jewett, Ogden and Adams, and Suburban Lumber and have any idea what quality boards you expect to find there?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks!


12 replies so far

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3129 days


#1 posted 09-29-2014 03:42 PM

Have you looked at Menards? I have had good luck with Doug Fir from Menards.

Check this out: http://www.ahec.org/hardwoods/pdfs/IllustratedGradingGuide.pdf

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Ripthorn's profile

Ripthorn

1406 posts in 2451 days


#2 posted 09-29-2014 03:53 PM

Doug fir can be tricky to get great looking boards. The standard home store stuff is not a great grade. I have a local lumber yard that sells either FAS or Select fir in both regular and V/G (vertical grain, or quarter sawn). The nice straight lines in doug fir come when you get quartered stock. It is more expensive, but looks much nicer. A #2 grade is actually pretty low, bordering on unsorted (or run of the mill, literally).

PS. I like your signature, aren’t we all? :)

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View GrandpaLen's profile

GrandpaLen

1643 posts in 1739 days


#3 posted 09-29-2014 03:53 PM

Nice tight knots can add an element of character, but if you have your mind set on NO knots, you could probably special order #1 Clear and possibly Quarter Sawn Doug Fir, But hang on to your wallet.

Would you be able to cut the lengths you need from between the larger knots?

Work Safely and have Fun. – Grandpa Len.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View tool_junkie's profile

tool_junkie

296 posts in 1995 days


#4 posted 09-29-2014 05:49 PM

Absolutely right Ripthorn!

PS. I like your signature, aren t we all? :)

- Ripthorn

TheDane: I looked at Menards’ website and called them as well, they don’t stock Doug Fir. They do, however, have Southern Yellow Pine and my research tells me that it is softer than Doug Fir. BTW, I am not able to see the PDF you linked to. Are you able to download it from that link?


Have you looked at Menards? I have had good luck with Doug Fir from Menards.

Check this out: http://www.ahec.org/hardwoods/pdfs/IllustratedGradingGuide.pdf

- TheDane

GrandpaLen: I was actually planning on cutting around the knots and and then edge gluing, but the more I have to do that, the more waste I am creating. So that is why I was thinking if I could buy relatively less knotty boards, I would end up saving in material and time.


Nice tight knots can add an element of character, but if you have your mind set on NO knots, you could probably special order #1 Clear and possibly Quarter Sawn Doug Fir, But hang on to your wallet.

Would you be able to cut the lengths you need from between the larger knots?

Work Safely and have Fun. – Grandpa Len.

- GrandpaLen


View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1775 days


#5 posted 09-29-2014 05:56 PM

No personal experience but I have heard good thing.

http://www.bearcreeklumber.com/species/fir_cvg.html

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7932 posts in 1846 days


#6 posted 09-29-2014 06:18 PM


...have Southern Yellow Pine and my research tells me that it is softer than Doug Fir.
- tool_junkie

Yellow pine is harder than fir, mahogany and poplar. The hardest species approach cherry in hardness.

The biggest problem I’ve had with lumber yard fir is being very brittle, you can sometimes pick it apart with your fingernails and it likes to chip when cut with power tools. Nice looking wood though.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View LiveEdge's profile

LiveEdge

486 posts in 1086 days


#7 posted 09-29-2014 06:41 PM

Douglas fir is not a fir. It has a hardness comparable to SYP.

Too bad you don’t live here in Oregon where you can hardly throw a rock and not hit a Doug fir growing somewhere. Maybe try someone that can ship from the Pacific Northwest?

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4036 posts in 1817 days


#8 posted 09-29-2014 06:58 PM

Construction grade DF is not really good furniture wood, full of knots and not very dry. My hardwood dealer sells it in clear, vertical grain, furniture grade, it is used a lot for making doors. A hardwood dealer is going to be your best bet other than the mail order places.

BTW, SYP is harder than DF, but not by much. Here is a link to the Janka Harness scale ratings for most species.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3129 days


#9 posted 09-29-2014 07:24 PM

BTW, I am not able to see the PDF you linked to. Are you able to download it from that link?

Yup … works fine for me. Just go to http://www.ahec.org ... on the top menu select ‘About U.S. Hardwoods’, and from the dropdown menu select ‘U.S. Hardwood Grading Rules’.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View skatefriday's profile

skatefriday

380 posts in 949 days


#10 posted 09-30-2014 12:16 AM

The DF at my local HD is so wet, if you could could wring it
like a towel I’m certain you’d get a water flow.

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7932 posts in 1846 days


#11 posted 09-30-2014 06:38 AM

The only D.fir we get here are 2×4 studs and they are dry, generally straight too, but brittle. They cost a little more than SPF but are worth it. The SPF 2×4s are wringing wet and often warped to hell.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View tool_junkie's profile

tool_junkie

296 posts in 1995 days


#12 posted 10-02-2014 12:45 AM

Thank you all for the valuable information. I called the places I listed above and one of them told me they carry the select variety of Douglas Fir. I will be going there in a couple days to check out.

TheDane: I was finally able to get the pdf document. It is very very informative.

Thanks!

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