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  • Douglas Fir Trim: Seasoning the Room

    Posted on April 8, 2011 by nell

    Did you know that AltruFir sells more than Douglas fir flooring? Indeed we do, and one of those additional products is Douglas fir trim.

    Adding quality Douglas fir trim and joinery to a room is like adding the perfect seasoning to a gourmet meal—when it’s done right, it provides a tasteful accent that plays up the flavor already there in the rest of your home.

    The terms “trim” and “joinery” refer to all those little accents around the edges of your home that add to the overall look without taking center stage themselves. Things like a mantelpiece over the fireplace, moldings and baseboards along the top and bottom of the walls, casings around the windows and doors, even the doors themselves—they make a room seem complete.

    douglas fir trim

    Douglas fir trim (1x4) available on our site.

    When you’re selecting a material for those elements, you need something durable, attractive, and adaptable. Good trim and joinery needs to stand the test of time, enduring throughout years of use and the whimsies of passing styles.

    Lucky for you, we have a material that fits the bill: the naturally beautiful but tough Douglas fir.

    First let’s talk about appearance. Trim ought to enhance a room without overwhelming it. Douglas fir’s natural color is a rich, warm shade with a rosy tint and a very straight grain pattern. Depending on the way the wood has been cut, you can find Douglas fir trim that showcases either the flat grain, which has a wider light to dark pattern and slightly more contrast, or the vertical grain, with a clean, straight-lined grain pattern and consistent color.

    The process that wood goes through when it’s being transformed from a rough, bark-covered tree into smooth, precision-made components for your home is called milling or machining. Craftsmen use specialized machinery to cut and plane the raw wood into boards of very specific sizes and shapes, in the process smoothing and shaping it. When Douglas fir is machined, it creates a very smooth, glossy surface on the wood that’s perfect for trim.

    Douglas fir is also a very adaptable wood—it will look good no matter what you decide to do with the rest of your room. Do you like the simplicity of Douglas fir in its natural color? A clear coating that showcases the wood’s beauty works well. If you want to stain it to complement furniture or fit with a specific color scheme, Douglas fir also stains well, accepting bright or subtle stains and tints. Want to change the color of your trim entirely? The smooth surface of Douglas fir is also easy to paint or enamel.

    If you walk the hillsides of the Pacific Northwest, you’ll see Douglas-fir growing in its natural habitat. And you may notice, if you come across a grove in which these trees have been growing for 10, 20, or more years, (these giants have been known to reach 330 feet in height and to live more than 1,000 years) that most of the Douglas-fir’s limbs are high out of reach, concentrated on the upper portion of the trunk, with long stretches of towering, limb-free trunk. That’s because Douglas-firs are a shade-intolerant species, self-pruning their lower limbs and reaching up for the sun. What does that mean for the woodwork in your home? It means Douglas-fir trees produce long expanses of straight, knot-free growth with consistent fibers.

    That’s important, because when you’re talking about trim, you need to select something with durability. Can you trust that the wood trim you install today is still going to look great five, 10, or 15 years from now? Or will you install it only to be surprised when your trim is exposed to variations in temperature and moisture and those nice, straight planks start to shrink and warp?

    The straight, tough fibers found in Douglas-fir hold fasteners extremely well, so you won’t have to worry about your woodwork literally coming apart at the seams. Douglas fir trim won’t crack or separate, and it’s great even for very high-traffic uses, like stairs, baseboards, and doors.

    In fact, although Douglas-fir is technically a softwood, that doesn’t mean it’s wimpy. It’s the hardest of all the softwoods, with a rating of 660 on the Janka hardness scale. Douglas fir products, even those that get a repeated pounding, like floors, are known to last 100 years or more.

    Douglas-fir is also unique among softwoods in a property called dimensional stability. That means it doesn’t shrink or twist as it dries. For precision products like trim and joinery, the wood is dried in temperature and humidity-controlled kilns until it reaches a certain moisture level. Kiln-dried Douglas fir is a very stable wood that will remain the same size and shape without warping, cupping, or otherwise wiggling itself away from the duties you have planned for it. If only you could count on the other members of your family to do their job that reliably—and look as good as Douglas fir while doing it.

    - Jennifer Rouse

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

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