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NOTE: there is rarely any "standard" or "typical" look for a wood so take what's in this table with a grain of salt
the REST of the pictures on this page will give you a better overall feel for this wood

Douglas fir / Pseudotsuga menziesii and Pseudotsuga macrocarpa
(see fact sheet for synonyms)

2" x 2" flat cut, 5" x 5" quartersawn, 3/4" wide end grain, and a 1/4" x 1/4" end grain closeup.

This softwood does have resin canals and rays are visible at 10X. Growth ring boundary are very obvious and the transition from light earlywood to a darker latewood is abrupt. Swirly face grain is common on flat cut. Plywood using rotary cut veneer face has very swirly and irregular grain.

NOTE: To be technically correct, the name of the wood is "Douglas-fir"; capitalized and with a hyphen. It is not used that way in common usage, so although "douglas fir" is incorrect, that is the way it is normally used. Also, these two species are NOT firs at all, nor are they spruce or pine ... they are "Douglas-fir (not actually a fir)" and nothing else thanks to the U.S. Forest Service.

A sampling of other English language common names: black fir, blue Douglas-fir, coast Douglas-fir, Colorado Douglas-fir, common Douglas-fir, cork-bark Douglas spruce, inland Douglas-fir, Oregon Douglas-fir, Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir, yellow Douglas-fir, Oregon pine, red pine, Oregon spruce, red spruce.

Pseudotsuga macrocarpa is generally called "big-cone Douglas-fir" or sometimes "bigcone spruce" (although it is not a spruce)



A NOTE ABOUT FIR SPECIES IN THE USA


my samples:
NOTE: these pics were all taken in very bright incandescent lighting ("soft white" at 2700K)
colors will vary under other lighting conditions

Note that the first 4 samples shown here (reclaimed old growth resin wood) are all from the same vendor and quite likely from the same plank:



both sides of a sample plank of reclaimed old growth Douglas-fir with resin wood / Pseudotsuga menziesii --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. Compare the growth rings on this sample to those on the one samples down below to see the startling difference between old growth and new growth trees. This sample has over 120 growth rings/inch and that one has about 5. The significantly richer color of the first side of this sample is because it was a patina which I only sanded off of the second side.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


This is a 1/2" wide section of the end grain, rotated to be perpendicular to the growth rings and showing blue lines across every 10 rings except for the last line on the right which crosses 3 rings. This shows that there are 63 rings in 1/2" which prorates to 126 rings/inch. Further, note that the most dense 1/4" of this piece has over 40 rings in 1/4" which would prorate out the 160 rings/inch. Amazing. There is a piece of Western red cedar on this site that has an area even slightly more dense than this (and almost as dense across a full inch).


both sides of a sample plank of Douglas-fir / Pseudotsuga menziesii --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. While it seems clear that this sample is very likely from the same plank as the one directly above, this one was labeled as "resin wood" rather than old growth. Both samples are old growth and both have heavy resin deposits.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank reclaimed old growth Douglas-fir with resin wood / Pseudotsuga menziesii --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. At over 80 rings per inch it's easy to see that this is old growth and the heavy resin deposite are easy to see as well, although not as heavy as some I have seen. In fact, the sample directly above this one has a slightly heavier resin presence. The significantly richer color of the first side of this sample is because it was a patina which I only sanded off of the second side.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank reclaimed old growth Douglas-fir with resin wood / Pseudotsuga menziesii --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above; note how the area in the upper middle right is a fairly bright red. That's because the resin is particularly heavy in that area and the light hitting the face directly above that area is being transmitted through the resin and thus enhancing the red color.


both sides of a sample plank of reclaimed old growth Douglas fir / Pseudotsuga menziesii reclaimed old growth --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank sold to me as Douglas-fir / Pseudotsuga menziesii --- Compare the growth rings on this sample to the several directly above to see the startling difference between old growth and new growth trees. This sample has about 5 growth rings/inch and the one at the top has over 120 and at least one of the others has over 80.


end grain and end grain closeup of the sample plank directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


NOT A RAW WOOD COLOR --- both faces of this sample have a light coat of clear paste wax
both sides of a sample plank of Douglas fir / Pseudotsuga menziesii --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Douglas-fir / Pseudotsuga menziesii --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


Douglas-fir plank and end grain. The end grain pic does a great job of showing the sharp delineation between early growth and late growth in the ring pattern. Go to the bottom of this page to see a project that exploits the significant variance in hardness between early and late growth.


end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above --- color is accurate on both; this is a perfect example of how the smoothing that takes place with the 1200 grit sanding makes a huge difference in how a piece reflects the light.


first face and the end grain of a sample of Douglas-fir / Pseudotsuga menziesii. This part of a collection which is discussed here: COLLECTION A


the second face, before and after sanding, showing how the patina from aging is only surface deep.


end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above.


both sides of a sample plank of a reclaimed sapwood of Douglas fir / Pseudotsuga menziesii --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample of Douglas-fir (labeled as "red fir") / Pseudotsuga taxifolia. This part of a collection which is discussed here: COLLECTION A and is one of the few pieces from that collection that were too skinny to do end grain pics. Pseudotsuga taxifolia is now considered a synonym of Pseudotsuga menziesii.


Douglas-fir rift cut plank, face and edge


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


Douglas-fir flat cut plank, face and edge. Notice how the edge grain is the tangential surface, as it always is on fully quartersawn planks. Because the tangential surface more normally appears on the face of a plank, when it appears on the edge like this, it is called "face grain" to emphasize that it is the tangential surface but on the edge not the face.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


Douglas-fir plank and end grain --- color is just a little too orange


end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above --- color is too gray on the end grain shot and correct on the update.


Douglas-fir small plank and end grain (as you can see from the end grain, this is actually a joined plank, with a small portion of the 2nd plank showing on the left)


end grain closeup of the piece directly above


sample plank and end grain sold to me as Douglas-fir / Abies taxifolia (which is a synonym for Pseudotsuga menziesii)


end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of bigcone Douglas-fir / Pseudotsuga macrocarpa --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of bigcone Douglas-fir / Pseudotsuga macrocarpa --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of curly Douglas-fir / Pseudotsuga menziesii --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. The darker color of the labeled side is correct --- probably a slight patina --- and the overall orange color is also correct. NOTE: actually, this is not JUST a sample of "curly" wood, it is also a sample of "wavy grain" wood (not all curly wood has wavy grain and this is a fairly extreme example of grain wave, which you can see clearly in the side grain closeup below).


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE and side grain closeup from directly above. The side grain shot is to emphasize the wavy grain


both sides of a sample plank of curly Douglas-fir / Pseudotsuga menziesii --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. The darker color of the labeled side is correct --- probably a slight patina --- and the overall orange color is also correct. NOTE: actually, this is not JUST a sample of "curly" wood, it is also a sample of "wavy grain" wood (not all curly wood has wavy grain).


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


both sides of a sample plank of curly Douglas-fir / Pseudotsuga menziesii --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


Douglas-fir plank and end grain of a piece freshly cut from the kind of banister railing that you typically find at most hardware stores.


I found these images in "my" folder, but I have no recollection of having taken them or what the scale is. They certainly are of a quartersawn surface on a very high ring count piece (probably both of the same piece). They might have been sent to me years ago by a correspondent and I lost track of that fact. HUGE enlargements are present.


quartersawn Douglas-fir plank


quartersawn Douglas-fir plank


quartersawn Douglas-fir plank


Douglas-fir planks; end grain (note that these are all low ring count) --- these pics are a little too yellow


quartersawn Douglas-fir planks photographed at a lumber yard


misc Douglas-fir planks shot at a big box hardware store; colors are accurate except for the last one which is a little more washed out and faded than the wood actually was


end grain of some different Douglas-fir planks at the samw lumber yard


rift cut Douglas-fir plank


flat cut Douglas-fir plank


MARK PEET CONTRIBUTIONS


All the pics in this section are of salvaged old growth Douglas-fir that was contributed to the site by Mark Peet, whom I thank for this and for many other contributions to the site. HUGE enlargements are present throughout. The planks that Mark gave me are high ring count (about 15 rings/inch), but the studs are VERY high ring count (about 40 rings/inch)

First, there are some studs for which I cut out the cleanest parts for the 3 sections shown here:


both sides of a stud section


both sides of a stud section


both sides of a stud section


end grain of each of the three stud sections


end grain closeup of each of the three stud sections


END GRAIN UPDATE of each of the three stud sections

Next, there were a set of planks. I cut-off 12" sections of four of these, shown directly below, and then cut-off 6" sections of the same set of planks and three of these are shown in great detail further down


both sides of the 12" planks


both sides of the 6" sections that were cut from the same planks as the 12" sections above


end grains of 3 of the 12" planks. I chose these because one is flat cut, one is rift cut, and one is quartersawn.


end grain closeup of each of the 3 planks above


END GRAIN UPDATE of the 3 planks above

END OF MARK PEET'S CONTRIBUTIONS






A sheet of moderate quality Douglas-fir plywood that can be better seen in the enlargement. This face was made from one panel-sized sheet of rotary cut veneer


Douglas-fir plywood sheet --- very high quality, notice the total lack of knots; this sheet was also faced with one panel-sized sheet of rotary cut veneer, like the one directly above.


a 4' long section of a piece of Douglas-fir plywood --- HUGE enlargements are present and the relatively rich orangish color is correct


a couple of bark-inclusion areas from a piece of Douglas-fir plywood --- each of these areas is about 10" x 6"


This fantastic piece of slow-growth Douglas-fir was provided by William Brooke from Beautiful Mt. Lehman, B.C., whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. The first show shows it raw, as I got it from William, and then I show it half-sanded so you can see the contrast of the aged patina and the raw look. Below I'll show closeups of the incredibly dense growth rings.


the other side of the piece, including side grain, after fine sanding. Note that the side grain does not at first glance even hint at the density of the growth rings but rather looks pretty much like what you see on any Douglas-fir --- the trick here is that this pattern exists over a very small space, whereas on most pieces the same pattern would exist over a much larger area.


here are the shots that demonstrate the slow-growth nature of this particular tree. You can see from some of my other samples that this is NOT always the case with Douglas-fir. If you count carefully, you'll see that there are about 40 to 50 rings to the inch depending on the area you choose, which is truely slow growth. In the pic on the left, if you compare the left side to the right side, you'll see that there were clearly a large number of years with REALLY slow growth and on the right a similar number of years with somewhat faster (but still really quite slow) growth.


end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above --- color is accurate


small sections of a couple of high resolution pics that William took of the same piece.


modest-sized plank; grain lines do not show up well in this small image but are quite clear if you click on it to get the enlargement. The dark color is quite accurate and the discoloration on the left end is apparently water damage.





flat cut Douglas-fir veneer [hmm ... this MIGHT be yellow pine --- the color (shown accurately here) looks like yellow pine but the grain looks like Douglas-fir]


flat cut Douglas-fir



a cross between flat cut and quartersawn ... hey, I KNEW there was some reason for the designation "rift cut".


quartersawn Douglas-fir veneer --- the 2nd piece is definitely more reddish than the other two pieces, as accurately shown here


quartersawn veneer sheet and closeup --- note the very tight growth rings. In fact, the growth rings on this are SO close together that I find it hard to believe that it IS Douglas-fir, since that species does not normally grow this slowly. OK --- well, I made that ignorant statement before William sent me the nifty sample up above, which shows conclusively that Douglas-fir DOES grow that slowly, and ever slower. Once again, I thank William for enlightening me.



The Wood Book pics


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
Douglas-fir (listed as Pseudotsuga taxifolia, but these days, that is taken to be just a syn. for Pseudotsuga menziesii, and also listed as Douglas spruce, red fir, yellow fir, and Oregon pine) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for each of the 3 views


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
big cone spruce (Pseudotsuga macrocarpa) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for each of the 3 views. This species is also known as bigcone Douglas-fir, Douglas-fir, and bigcone Douglas spruce, among other common names

web pics:


log ends


quartersawn planks with wet and dry sections; the first was listed as oregon pine / Pseudotsuga menziesii


huge Douglas-fir cants; from the context of the original pic, I judged these to be about 20' long, so probably 2'x2'x20'


Douglas-fir turning stock


Douglas-fir flat cut planks


flat cut plank listed as European Douglas-fir


Douglas-fir quartersawn planks


rift cut planks


misc Douglas-fir planks


Douglas-fir planks, all from the same vendor and all listed as Douglas-fir / Pseudotsuga menziesii


reclaimed Douglas-fir


both sides and two closeups of a plank labeled as "old growth curly" Douglas-fir --- the closeups do a nice job of showing the curly grain pattern on the edge of the wood, but notice the significant color difference in the side of the plank in the closeups (green) and the distance pics (tan)


although listed as curly Douglas-fir, I belive it is more technically correct to call this "wavy grain", not "curly".


flat cut Douglas-fir veneer, color is very unlikely (actual wood is probably tan, not green)


Douglas-fir quartersawn veneer


Douglas-fir quartersawn veneer with color that is just laughable --- this is the kind of crap picture that made me start this site in the first place


Douglas-fir veneer


Douglas-fir plank and end grain --- pics sent to me by Dave Owen, whom I thank. Dave told me a particular name for the grain pattern but I have lost his email and don't remember.


Douglas-fir flooring


a pair of boxes with redwood lids and what was listed as "curly" Douglas-fir sides, although I think technically this is NOT "curly" but rather "wavy grain"


side grain and face grain of a piece of old growth wavy grain Douglas-fir. Pics contributed to the site by Daniel Dill, whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. The wavy grain, seen clearly in the side grain shot, results in a flat cut face grain that is sometimes called "quilted" although it's not quite the same as, say, hard maple quilting. Still, it is a stunning figure. It looks a bit like the "peanut" figure in tamo ash.





both sides of a plank of Douglas-fir and a closeup. This is from the BogusColorVendor so I'm surprized it isn't fire-engine red --- color is actually possible, although I think it has a little more red tint than is likely in the wood




Douglas-fir bowls and 3-inch-high turning


A coat rack made with doug fir over red oak. I have exploited the fact that the late growth is very much harder than the early growth. The piece was burned with a torch then scrubbed with a wire brush. The early growth just turned to ash and scrubbed right off whereas the late growth scortched but did not burn and did not scrub off, thus giving a nice ridged effect and a highlighted grain contrast. A couple of coats of polyurethane turned the early growth a little more yellow and a little more attractive, and brought out the shine in the burnt late growth. This piece was made from the same plank as my first Douglas-fir sample at the top of this page. If you enlarge the detailed pic, you really see the 3D effect the process created.


two views of a high ring-count Douglas-fir section on a laminated bowl. The bowl has one coat of natural stain and the pics have a little too much red in them. I couldn't get the excess red out without making the fir look more yellow than it is. To the right of the fir is a very pretty piece of cocobolo fronted by a small oval of yew. The base is purpleheart