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Tag Archives: douglas fir finish

  • Douglas Fir Finishing Touches

    Posted on February 15, 2012 by Jennifer

    One of the things that we like so much about Douglas Fir is its versatility. It’s the wood version of the little black dress--it’s classy and stylish all by itself, if you like to keep things simple.

    If simple’s not your thing, you can add on special effects to make it fancier, or take it down a notch with rustic styling. Light or dark, glossy or distressed, Douglas Fir wears anything well.
    First let’s talk about the surface of the wood itself. You have some options here. Douglas Fir can be planed and sanded to a completely smooth finish--this is especially popular for applications like joinery and trim. Or, Douglas Fir lumber can be left rough-sawn, with the marks from the saw still discernible.

    Douglas Fir Flooring

    Maybe you’ve chosen reclaimed Douglas Fir. This material in particular often comes with its own set of bumps and scrapes, part of the patina that has developed over time. For some people, those aren’t imperfections--they’re a highly desirable way to let the wood tell the story of its former life as a barn, factory, or gymnasium.

    In fact, some people like the weathered look so much that they want to create it on new boards. To achieve this effect, new Douglas fir is scraped with hand tools or brushed with a wire brush in an effort to create the perfectly-imperfect look and feel of an aged board.

    Now let’s move beyond texture and talk about color. What shade do you want your Douglas Fir to be? Its natural tone is a warm, rosy, golden brown. For many people, that natural beauty is what they want to see. Interviewed in “Veranda” magazine, interior designer John Saladino remarked on the “quietness” of natural Douglas fir. “It acquires a rich hue similar to a cigar box,” Saladino told Veranda.

    To achieve that subtle look, you can simply apply a clear or lightly pigmented finish. If you’re not sure what type to select, read our blog for a complete lowdown on stains and finishes for Douglas fir and other woods.

    Thicker stains and paints are also available if you want to transform the color of your Douglas fir and hide the grain for a formal, elegant look.

    Remember that aging process we talked about for adding texture to wood? You can do that for the wood’s color, too. Douglas fir can be stained with a mixture of silver and brown hues for an aged, weathered look; coated with a semi-solid white stain for what’s called a “pickled” look; or even sand-blasted and bleached, as designer Ron Mann did for this Douglas fir plank chair.

    Or, you could just keep it classic. Like that little black dress, people have been appreciating high-quality Douglas fir for a long time--longer even. Take a look at what lumber magazines were saying about Douglas fir a century ago:

    “At this time fir is used for all purposes of inside finish in buildings of high class and when properly kiln dried is susceptible to stain of various tones, giving the home-builder opportunity to harmonize tone of finish with the furnishings of the room...The special selected clear stock possesses characteristics of grain in the flat sawed stock that cannot be found in any other wood in such variety, the grain possessing curly, mottled, wavy and variegated effects that are very pleasing.”
    --January 1910 issue of the “The Timberman” (emphasis added)

    We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Keep it classy, Douglas fir lovers.

    - Jennifer Rouse

    This post was posted in Douglas Fir Flooring, Douglas Fir Trim, History and Interest, Douglas Fir Paneling and was tagged with douglas fir finish, douglas fir stain

  • Finish that Douglas Fir

    Posted on May 19, 2011 by Nicole

    Never mind the aesthetics, a wood’s finish protects it from premature, well, everything. We’re talking aging, shading, cracking, warping, and everything else life throws its way. We’ve said it before and we’re happy to say it again: the finish is essential to the lifetime of your wood, like how putting on pants in the morning is essential to keeping your job. But, any pair won’t do – you’ve got to know before you go. You wouldn’t wear Wranglers to the boss’ black-tie event or tailored-trousers to Saturday’s team-building in the backwoods. The same goes for how you finish your Douglas fir.

    We’d like to point out that Douglas fir is a fine timber product. CVG Doug fir is the strongest ‘softwood’ around because of its tight-grain properties, making it more resistant to the elements and more durable for both interior and exterior projects. You’ll get the best of both beauty and brawn with Douglas fir. The weather’s nice, so we’re inclined to start with outdoor applications as you think about firing up that grill.

    Outdoor Projects
    Exterior projects include siding, decking, porch soffits, board & batt, and even patio furniture. Any outside wood needs to be made into a force-to-be-reckoned-with because it’ll be up against Mother Nature and she too, has her bad days. So, when you’re shopping for a finish, look for exterior on the label. Once you find that, consider your climate type.

    outdoor wood finish

    Whatever your wood finishing project, it cannot be as difficult as this one.

    Moist climates + Finishes
    Opt for a label that has a water-repellent preservative or WRP. Your wood will thank you by avoiding mildew growth, a nasty combination with wood. It’s also less likely to swell, split, and warp from water exposure. Choose a penetrating finish for wood that will be hard hit with H2O – these finishes stop water absorption.

    And, after the rainy season, be sure to “test” your wood. If water beads and runs off, the finish is still good. If water soaks in, it’s time to reapply the finish – generally every 12 to 24 months.

    Dry climates + Finishes
    The sun and dry climates go hand in hand as does wood that cracks, spots, and yellows when left untreated in dry places. So, choose an exterior finish that contains UV blockers. Some water-repellent preservatives (WRPs) protect against UV radiation, but double check, especially if you’re living la vida loca in Arizona, which has 300 days of pure sunshine per year.

    Keep in mind that in drier climates, wood loses moisture. Hence, the cracking and shrinking. You may see both WRP and WR – water-repellent – on labels. What’s the difference? WRPs contain mildewcides and fungicides stopping spores that thrive in moist climates. However, we recommend using a WRP with a pigment commonly referred to as semi-transparent stain for wood in sunny places. The pigment adds another layer of protection from the sun, prolonging its life.

    • Always pre-treat bare wood with a finish or preservative before painting.
    • If using pre-existing wood, be sure to check for timber rot (dry or wet) before refinishing. Rot decays wood.
    • Take care applying that first finish to new wood. If done poorly, your wood will tell you so later down the line (and there’s really little that can be done to remedy future problems).
    • Always stick with the same type of finish – penetrating or surface – when it’s time to reapply.
    • Test different types of finishes using small blocks from your wood project to help you decide the best finishing product for your Douglas fir and your needs.

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