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Douglas Fir Trim and Joinery

November 30, 2011 by | Jennifer | There have been 0 comments

Everyone knows that a project is only as good as the materials that go into it. If you’re making a loaf of bread, you choose the right kind of flour. If you’re planting a garden, you select the right kind of seeds. But when it comes to picking wood for the trim and joinery of your home, how can you be sure you've chosen the right material for the job?

douglas fir trim

Vertical grain Douglas fir trim.

Now, there may not be one right choice--selecting building materials is, as always, a matter of personal preference. But that doesn’t help the homeowner who is trying to narrow down the selection. The good news is, Douglas Fir is a very good choice for many applications, and it’s ideal for trim and joinery.

Trim and joinery are the wood-working terms for the pieces of wood that surround the architectural features of a home--window casings and sills, baseboards and moulding, mantelpieces and stairway risers--all the detail items that help complete a room.

Natural Appearance
Appearance is paramount when selecting trim and joinery materials, because the eye is naturally drawn to these accent pieces. You need a material that looks good. Douglas Fir is an excellent choice because of the natural beauty of the wood. It has a rich, warm, reddish tone that lends itself well to either casual, rustic looks (think California mountain cabin) or clean, modern rooms (think soothing, Zen-inspired spa).

Douglas fir is also known for its clear vertical grain. These subtle lines run along the length of each board, giving it a clean, natural look. When Douglas Fir is “machined”--that means cut and planed to a specific shape--a very smooth, glossy surface is achieved.

If you like the natural look for your home, Douglas Fir works well. With only a clear coating or a transparent lacquer, Douglas Fir trim will be ready to showcase your house for years--no involved staining or painting process needed.

However, if you do want trim that can be stained to a dramatically dark hue, or painted for a splash of color, Douglas Fir works well for that too. It holds all types of stains and finishes and accepts paint, enamel, oil, and wax easily. No matter what creative finish you’ve got up your sleeve, Douglas fir trim is up to the task.

Durability and Stability
Douglas Fir is known for its durability. In fact, it’s so tough that it’s used in all kinds of industrial applications ranging from gym floors to fabricating vats to trestles and tunnels. It has a very tough fiber, it’s very strong in relation to its weight, and it’s resistant to cracking and splintering. That’s important for trim and joinery, because things like baseboards, door frames and stair risers take a beating over the course of their life.

Douglas Fir is also known for its remarkable stability. That clear vertical grain we mentioned before? It’s not just for looking pretty. All wood naturally expands and contracts in response to moisture variation. However, Douglas fir is unique among similar species because it holds its shape so well. When that naturally stable wood is kiln-dried, it becomes even more reliable. Vertical-grain Douglas fir that’s been kiln-dried is extremely resistant to shrinking, warping or cupping. Once you nail a nice, straight piece of Douglas fir baseboard around your floors, you can be sure that it will stay nice and straight--no shrinking or twisting out of place.

Douglas Fir is also resistant to checking and showing raised grain. The layman may think checking is a kind of bank account, but to a wood-worker, checking is a defect that occurs when wood dries out. Cracks and splits can appear, due to the surface of the wood drying out at a different rate than the core.

Raised grain is another problem that you won’t see with Douglas fir trim and joinery. Sometimes when wood is exposed to liquid, the cells that make up the grain swell, raising the grain up above the surface of the piece. However, since Douglas Fir is so stable, you can count on your trim staying smooth and sleek.

An ideal choice
Is Douglas Fir the only choice for trim and joinery? Maybe not.

But is it an ideal choice for most homes? If you’re looking for a trim material that’s attractive, easy to finish, and extremely durable, then you can count on Douglas Fir to fit the bill.

- Jennifer Rouse

This post was posted in All Entries, Douglas Fir Trim and was tagged with douglas fir trim, wood trim, douglas fir joinery, douglas fir moulding, wood joinery

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