Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wood Species for Your Timber Home

Several wood species are accepted in the timber frame and post and beam home industry.  Each species carries its own characteristics and beauty.

Douglas fir timber frame
Douglas fir: Known for its structural strength, Douglas fir’s color ranges from a yellow to orange-brown to deep reddish brown and has a limited number of knots.  Douglas fir checks and cracks minimally compared to other wood species. Large Douglas fir timbers may be designated FOHC (free of heart center) which means that the usual 'bulls eye' heart wood found in the center of most beams is absent. Free of heart timber also checks less and is more stable than timber which does have heart wood.

Eastern White Pine:  A blond wood with knots of various sizes and occasional red streaks, EWP is a stable, soft wood that is a favorite choice in the Northeast.  Not as strong as Hemlock or Douglas fir, Eastern White Pine is a light wood which cracks and checks as it dries over time giving a more rustic look. 

Western Red Cedar:   This species ranges from medium to dark brown in color.  It is saturated with a natural preservative, which allows it to repel water naturally.  This keeps shrinking and swelling to a minimum and limits warping and twisting.  Its close, even, straight grain makes it easy to work and finish to a smooth, silky finish.  Western Red Cedar is generally free from pitch and holds stains and paints beautifully.

Eastern Hemlock:  Hemlock is strong and less expensive than Douglas fir; however it carries a defect called “ring shake”.  Ring shake is a lengthwise separation that occurs between and parallel to growth rings which usually appears after a year or so.  Colors range from a pale brown to faintish reddish brown, which darken over time. 

Red Oak:  Red Oak is light brown with red undertones which gives an antique look.  Oak is a relatively heavy and strong hardwood, but tends to twist, crack, and check more than most softwoods.

Southern Yellow Pine:  Southern Yellow Pine is a very popular wood species for a timber frame or post and beam home.  Available in long lengths and with consistent high quality, it has a bold grain pattern and color ranging from golden brown to reddish brown which darkens with age.  When dried properly, Southern Yellow Pine twists and checks very little and stains very well. Most Southern Yellow Pine used in timber frames is now from salvaged or reclaimed structures.

Whatever your selection in wood species, you can be assured your timber home will be beautiful!

No comments: