NW Wood Types
Information on common Northwest tree species
certified products, call NNRG at 360-379-9421.
Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menzeisii)
Doug-fir is the most plentiful and versatile of Northwest species. The wood has strong contrast between reddish heartwood and pale sapwood and has excellent strength and stability. Applications include timbers and framing, interior finishes, furniture, industrial lumber - just about anything. Quarter-sawn clear lumber is highly prized for interior trim.
Red alder (Alnus rubra)
In the past 20 years, alder has gone from a 'junk' tree to one of the most sought after Northwest species. It has good stability and workability and is used in a broad range of interior finishes and consumer items. Kiln dried lumber is a uniform amber while air dried can vary from pale white through a range of reds and browns.
Big-leaf or western maple (Acer macrophyllum)
Western maple is an abundant, uniformly white hardwood found in wetter Northwest habitats. While not as hard as some of its eastern cousins, western maple performs well in a wide variety of interior finishes including trim, flooring, furniture and consumer items. Figured wood is highly prized and used in instruments and fine furniture.
Western red cedar (Thuja plicata)
Cedar is renowned for its rot resistant properties and superior stability and is suitable for a wide variety of exterior uses. The species is capable of withstanding decades of exposure, but is not recommended for ground contact. White sapwood contrasts dramatically with the reddish, oil rich heartwood, which weathers to a lustrous silver if minimally treated.
Western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla)
Hemlock is a uniformly light-colored and soft wood used primarily for light framing, pressure treated lumber and moldings. The species is especially prevelant in coastal zones and as a later emerging species in mature forests.