Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Lumber Spotlight: Douglas Fir

Even though it is classed as a softwood, Douglas fir is harder than many hardwoods, including chestnut. It is more robust than other types of fir, and using reclaimed Douglas fir offers appeal as well as incentive. At the Lumber Baron, we believe that understanding the qualities of the lumber you use will allow you to make the best choice of materials.

Douglas Fir at the Lumber Baron

Know Your Lumber

Not all types of fir are the same. In many instances the material being sold by large chain stores may not be a true fir at all, but a closely related species known as Western hemlock. Because this material resembles white fir, the two are often treated as a mix and match brand of fir. Do not confuse this material with Douglas fir, which is more rigid and offers greater tensile strength.

Green Building with Douglas Fir

There are incentives for using reclaimed lumber such as Douglas fir. For example, using reclaimed Douglas fir may make your project eligible for LEED credits, an international marker of sustainability and environmentally sound building practices. If you are building for a sustainable future, or want to make an environmental statement, Douglas fir and other reclaimed lumber are a great investment.

Benefits of Reclaimed Douglas Fir

Reclaimed Douglas fir has other benefits as well. Old growth Douglas fir has been used in a variety of ways, and many of those applications left telltale signs in the lumber itself. Unusual patinas, natural stains, and such notable indicators as old nail holes are only a few of the visible traces found in reclaimed lumber. If you are trying to achieve a rustic look, but still want the best lumber available, foregoing modern mill cuts in favor of reclaimed fir is a practical and appealing solution.

Building on American History

Another interesting aspect of reclaimed Douglas fir is the historical value attached to it. The Lumber Baron searches for old bridges and buildings which were built using old growth lumber and are about to be demolished. Our lumber may be from any number of sites around the nation, and includes Douglas fir taken from the Georgia Pacific Mill in Fort Bragg, the defunct International Harvester plant in Richmond, and siding with a silverish tint recovered from barns throughout the country. Using reclaimed lumber is more than environmentally sound - it is also nostalgically historic.

The Lumber Baron is your one-stop location for newly milled and reclaimed lumber in the San Francisco Bay area. We specialize in reclaimed Douglas fir, redwood and other materials originally milled from old growth forests in the 19th and 20th centuries. We even offer on site milling and surfacing, and delivery services are available.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

What to Look for when Buying Reclaimed Lumber

Reclaimed lumber is an excellent building material, but you need to know what you are getting. Ask your lumber company where the wood was salvaged from, and how it was selected. The Lumber Baron wants you to be an informed customer, and we will happily take you through every step of the identification and selection process. For example, keep these key points in mind:

·        Buy from a knowledgeable company.
·        Lumber dimensions in the early 1900’s are different than those used today.
·        Inspect reclaimed material before purchasing.

Reclaimed Lumber at The Lumber Baron

Age and Environment Indicators

One of the things which sets reclaimed lumber apart is the effects of time and exposure. Reclaimed lumber from a winery tank is going to look differently than lumber from an old barn. Beams used on old bridges have tell-tale signs of exposure to water, and saltwater exposure looks different than freshwater. If you are dealing with a lumber company that does not know the history of their reclaimed lumber, talk to another company, because that history is almost as important as the type of wood.

Continuous Grain Patterns

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, old growth forests in the Pacific Northwest and other regions provided a steady stream of large timbers. Lumber with large dimensions was cut from a single tree, and the continuous wood grain is clearly visible. Heartwood is material cut from the interior of a tree and milled without joining. It also has a dense ring structure which is often an indication of the strength and durability of the lumber.

Unique Historical Signals

Many times, reclaimed lumber will include visual clues to determine its previous use. These historical signals may be many things, including weathered nail or bolt holes, coloration related to weather, fluids, or specific climates, or even saw or milling marks. Occasionally, the ends of timbers will include brands burned into wood by the original mill where it was processed.

Whether you are looking at reclaimed redwood cut from California’s old growth forests, or reclaimed Ipe cut during expansion projects in South America, each piece of material has its own story to tell. At The Lumber Baron, we take pride in the wood we sell, and much of our reclaimed lumber is hand-selected to make sure that only the best material is ever offered to our customers. Unlike large hardware stores, we specialize in high quality new and old growth wood, right down to providing on-site milling to meet customer specifications. We invite you to visit our lumber yard today, and we will show you first hand what to look for.