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Douglas Fir Facts

Turning Reclaimed Beams Into Flooring, Paneling, and Moulding

November 9, 2011 by | Jennifer | There have been 0 comments

The life of a Douglas-fir tree starts on a Northwest hillside somewhere, growing tall and straight for hundreds of years.

When it’s harvested, the Douglas-fir becomes the heart of a building, standing firm as a beam in a factory or warehouse.

When the building is pulled apart, it’s time for another new life to begin. What will that life will hold? That’s for you to decide.

When you purchase reclaimed Douglas fir, what you do with the wood is limited only by what your project will entail. AltruFir can mill reclaimed beams into whatever product the customer has in mind.

Do you want the beam to stay as is, rough and weathered-looking, with nails holes and marks of its former life intact? You can do that.

Reclaimed Douglas Fir

Do you want one beam milled from its massive industrial size into several smaller beams, appropriately scaled for your home? That’s a possibility too.

And who says a beam has to stay a beam? AltruFir can turn reclaimed beams into beautiful wide-plank reclaimed flooring, elegant wall paneling, or eye-catching trim.

The possibilities don’t end there, either. Once you’ve decided how best to use your recycled Douglas fir, you need to decide what specific final touches you want your finished product to have. In the lumber world, the way a board is shaped--any beveled edges or grooves that are cut into it--is called its profile. Here are just some of the many profile options available.

For Reclaimed Flooring
Tongue-and-groove is easy understand: the groove on one side of a board fits smoothly around the protruding piece on the board next it--the tongue. Tongue and groove flooring is one of the standard profiles offered by AltruFir.

Back relief is another common option. Also called kerfing, it refers to grooves cut along the back side of a board. Back relief can help make wood less prone to warping, makes the board more flexible, and eases installation.

Beveling refers to diagonal cuts along the edges of a board. Flat-edged boards will fit perfectly together, while two beveled-edge boards will meet up with a v-shaped groove running between them.

For Reclaimed Paneling
Many of the same terms you’ll hear in flooring profiles are used in discussing paneling as well. Here, too, you can get tongue-and-groove paneling, paneling with back relief, and paneling with beveling.

One popular paneling profile is bead board. This profile features a design of vertical grooves in narrow strips down the face of the board. It is a classic design dating back to Victorian times, making it a good fit for both old and new homes.

For Reclaimed moulding, trim and joinery
Reclaimed Douglas fir beams don’t have to just be cut into strips for floors and walls. A recycled beam could become the mantelpiece over your fireplace or the banister of your staircase. Quality trim and joinery adds a wonderful touch to a room on its own or coupled with a Douglas fir floor.

Moulding is a place where craftsmen can really get creative with millwork profiles. Crown moulding, for example, is cut with a decorative, curved angle and installed along the top of the wall, visually easing the transition from ceiling to wall. Cove moulding is milled with a concave shape and is also often used along ceiling edges, or as the transition from a mantel to a shelf, for example. A chair rail is installed partway up the wall--at about the spot where the backs of chairs might scrape against it--and can be relative flat and smooth, or dramatically rounded, depending on the effect you desire. The possibilities are nearly endless--just describe what you’re looking for to someone from the AltruFir team, and we can create a custom profile for you.

So when you look at that big, rough Douglas fir beam, don’t be limited by what it looks like to start with. That reclaimed beam’s next life can be anything you imagine--go ahead and make it something beautiful.

- Jennifer Rouse

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