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Douglas Fir Facts

  • Using Douglas Fir for Your Baseboards: A how-to guide

    Posted on September 2, 2011 by Jennifer

    In the simplest sense, baseboards have a humble function: they’re strips of wood attached to the bottom of the wall, wide enough to cover up the little gap at the edges of your flooring.

    But beautiful Douglas fir baseboards can go beyond their utilitarian function to be a key design element, providing a visual marker that offsets both the walls and floors. They can set the tone for a room—a more formal home might have baseboards with an elaborately curved profile, while a modern home might have simple, straight baseboards.

    Choosing your style
    The size of your room: Although a standard height for baseboards is in the range of 3 ½ to 4 inches, a room with high ceilings can handle a wider baseboard, extending up to 10 inches up from the floor. AltruFir sells clear vertical grain Douglas fir trim in a variety of sizes, from 2- or 3-inch wide baseboards to dramatic 10-inch baseboards that make an eye-catching addition to a room.

    1x10 CVG Douglas Fir Trim

    The stain or finish you want: Douglas fir baseboards accept paint or stain equally well, so consider whether you want wood tones or a more vibrant color. If you want to highlight the natural grain of the wood, consider a clear vertical grain baseboard. If you plan to paint over it in the end anyway, a lower grade board might be fine for the job.

    Ordering baseboards
    Once you’ve selected your moulding, it’s time to figure out how much you need. At AltruFir, we sell trim by the lineal foot, which is simply the measurement of how long each board is. To figure out how many lineal feet you need, measure the length of each wall and add up the total. Order that amount plus a little bit extra—5-10 percent greater than the total. That’s just in case of mistakes, which can happen to even the handiest of home renovators.

    When you’re ordering, you can buy your trim in an assorted package called “random lengths.” With random lengths, you get a mixed batch of boards of different lengths that all add up to a pre-agreed-upon amount of lineal feet. One of our random lengths packages will give you 25 lineal feet of board, made up of boards that are between 6 and 12 feet long. Or, you can order by the piece, specifying how many boards you want and of which length.

    Getting started
    Once you have your baseboards, sand, stain or paint them first, before installing. It’s much easier to sand and stain each piece pre-install. That way you don’t have to stoop down to floor level to do the work, and you don’t have to worry about slopping paint or stain onto the walls and floors. You can go back and touch up your work afterward if necessary.

    Before you start nailing the boards to the wall, find out where the studs are. A stud is a supportive vertical board behind the sheetrock—when you start installing the baseboards, you’ll want to anchor them into those hidden studs. A simple tool called a stud finder, available at hardware stores for $10-20, will help with the process. In most standard construction, studs are located about every 16 inches along the wall.

    Start with the longest wall, and measure to find out exactly how long a piece of trim you need. Measure your board to the appropriate length and cut it to fit. When you make your cut, use a miter saw to make a diagonal 45-degree cut on either end of the piece, then nail it in place at the stud locations all along the length of the wall.

    When doing your nailing, you want to sink the nails down into the surface of the trim. This ensures that the nails get all the way through the baseboard, sheetrock, and into the stud behind them. It also allows you to fill in the nail holes with wood putty and sand over them for a smoother final finish. You can buy or rent a nail gun for the job, which will shoot them down into your trim, or you can do it the old-fashioned way using a hammer and a nail set. A nail set is a small piece of metal that looks something like an ice pick—you put the pointed end of the nail set onto the head of the nail, then hit the blunt end with a hammer, driving the nail all the way down into the wood.

    Joint work
    When you’re ready to fit the next piece of trim, take a small scrap piece of wood, cut a 45-degree angle in it, and test it to see whether or not it fits snugly against the first piece. A lot of corners aren’t exactly 90 degrees, so you may have to adjust the angle on your saw up and down a bit, testing until you find the angle that gives you a snug mating piece. Then keep your saw at that angle while you cut the next piece of trim. Nail the next board in place, and continue the process all the way around the room.

    If you have an extremely long wall, longer than any of the pieces you ordered, you may need to use two pieces of wood, making what’s called a scarf joint. Cut a 45-degree angle at the end of your trim piece, angling away from the face of the board, toward the back. Then repeat the angle-testing process that you used on the corners to get a tight fit for the scarf joint. Use a fine layer of wood glue on one of the surfaces when attaching the two ends, then fasten in place with nails.

    If you come to a door casing, a built-in cabinet, or another flat surface on the edge of the wall, you can use what’s called a butt joint—simply make a flat 90-degree cut on the end of your trim piece and run it straight up against the other piece of wood.

    The final touch
    Once every piece is in place, cover nail holes with wood putty, let it dry, and sand for a smooth finish. Using a small brush, touch up the nail holes and any other problem areas.

    When you’re all done, your Douglas fir baseboards will be a beautiful accent to the rest of your room—the finishing touch that ties your walls and flooring together. Just because baseboards have the humble job of covering a gap doesn’t mean they can’t look good while they’re doing it.

    - Jennifer Rouse

    This post was posted in All Entries, Douglas Fir Trim, Care & Maintenance and was tagged with douglas fir trim, wood trim, baseboards

  • Altrufir Provides Douglas Fir for a Beautiful State Park Renovation

    Posted on August 25, 2011 by nell

    Beautiful new Douglas Fir Floors

    Russ Hendricks, Maintenance Manager at Fort Worden State Park on the Olympic Peninsula, is very happy with the recent renovation at one of the park's many historic buildings. Altrufir is overjoyed that our Douglas fir flooringwas an integral part of that renovation.

    Douglas Fir Floors at Fort Worden State Park.

    Russ called us this spring looking for a suitable replacement for the old growth Douglas fir material used when the historic park structure was originally built. "Replacing historic Douglas fir is our specialty!" we told him. And a few weeks later we shipped the material to him. Despite a brief moment when he thought he might need just a smidge more material, the floor installation went off without a hitch. And Russ was very satisfied at how beautiful the floor looked.

    Nice picture of the natural variation in Douglas fir.

    Recently, Russ sent us pictures of the completed project and we think they are mighty nice. We like seeing how good the material looks. The natural beauty of vertical grain Douglas firis on full display, including occasional small knots, color variation, and short pitch streaks.

    We're so proud to have taken part in restoring this piece of the Pacific Northwest's history. What can we do for you?


    This post was posted in All Entries, Douglas Fir Flooring, History and Interest and was tagged with Douglas fir flooring, douglas fir floors, clear vertical grain, douglas fir restoration

  • Measuring for Your Douglas Fir Flooring: Do I really need overage?

    Posted on August 23, 2011 by Nicole

    So, you’re ready to dive head first into that big project to replace your flooring. You’ve got your notes laid out on the table with a list of names and numbers; and your heart is set on reclaiming that Douglas fir flooring rescued from the old church where your grandparents married years ago. You know it will look great in the rooms where your family’s heirlooms are displayed. You found a great floor installer who came highly recommended by a friend. You even took some time off. You’ve got the money set aside and know how much, er…Wait a sec. Actually, you’re not sure how much it’ll cost because you don’t know how much you’ll need!

    Measure before installing Douglas fir flooring and trim.

    It’s okay! We’ve been there too, daydreaming about a home project, picturing that new Douglas fir floor, and saving the first for last. No worries. We’ll help you calculate the square footage for what we like to call, the big measure. And yes, you’ll be doing some math.

    Here’s what you’ll need:
    Measuring tape
    Calculator (even if you’re good with numbers)
    Time (free from distractions)

    1) Measure the length of the room and jot down the number. Round up to make it easier

    2) Measure the width of the room. Jot this down too, rounding up if needed.

    3) Multiply the length and the width. This is the square footage. Write it down.

    Bear with us as we break it down further ‘cause we like to be thorough. So let’s say your dining room measures 12’5” long and 14’10” wide. Round up and that will be 13 feet long and 15 feet wide. When multiplied, the square footage is 195 or [13L x 15W = 195 SF]. But, we’re only half way done.

    reclaimed douglas fir

    Reclaimed Douglas fir flooring

    We need to think about extra material or overage. Yes, you do need to account for overage. We promise it’s not because lumber folks want a little extra money. We just want you to be happy. Because there’s nothing worse than seeing a customer’s smile turn upside down when they discover their measurements were slightly off, or after cutting off a few bits that won't do, there isn’t enough material. Think of the overage as smile-satisfaction insurance. What happens otherwise? Well, the customer orders the precise amount, has it delivered, and upon inspection, sees a few boards off-color, nicked, or with issues like a pitch streak. Now you can’t complete your project right away, and you have to spend more money for material and shipping.

    Save yourself the grief and order overage. We suggest 7% to 10%. Order less for thinner boards, a little more for wider boards. Is there an irregular wall line or a few 45 degree angles in that dining space? Keep your overage closer to 10%. Let’s do the math.

    4) Add the overage to the square footage. We’ll do 10% or [195 SF + 10% = 214.5 SF]. Round up to 215 square feet.

    5) Factor in any transition pieces for entryways, crown moulding, and baseboard moulding with your order. These pieces are measured in linear feet and come in standard lengths, usually between 8 – 16 feet. Again, be on the safe side by rounding up those linear measurements. Order longer lengths to cut the perfect fit needed for your transition pieces.

    6) Keep in mind that there are different grades, pressure-treatments, cuts, and dry-ratings. Do your homework before placing that order. The deciding factors are usually a combination of intended-use, end-environment, and budget.

    Now you’re ready to dive into your wood project head first and order that reclaimed fir floor for your home. One last thing…jot down the square footage again and stick it to the fridge -- a third time for good measure.

    - Nicole Morales

    This post was posted in All Entries

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