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Hemlock, Western

Western hemlock is the most plentiful tree species on the coast of British Columbia. It is commonly sold and shipped together with amabilis fir under the name Hem-Fir (also often referred to as Hem-Bal). This species is used for general construction, roof decking and plywood, as well as for laminating stock and the production of glue-laminated and solid beams. Compared to other species, its strength and stiffness make it a preferred material for use in horizontal components and longer spans.

Thicknesses

Subject to availability

5/4
6/4
7/4
8/4
9/4
10/4
12/4
16/4
20/4
1/2"
3/4"
1"
2/4"
1/4"
2"
4/4"
Lengths

Subject to availability

4-6'
7/8'
9/10'
11/12'
13/14'
15/16'
17-20'
7' and longer
Applications
Construction
Interior Millwork

Distribution

Northwest coast of North America

Scientific Name

Tsuga heterophylla

Specific Gravity: Basic

0.37

Specific Gravity: 12% MC

0.47

Janka Hardness

540

Color/Appearance

Heartwood is light reddish brown. Sapwood may be slightly lighter in color but usually isnt distinguished from the heartwood. Occasionally contains dark streaks caused by bark maggots. The conspicuous growth rings can exhibit interesting grain patterns on flatsawn surfaces.

Grain/Texture

Grain is generally straight, with a coarse, uneven texture.

Endgrain

Resin canals absent; earlywood to latewood transition usually gradual, color contrast fairly high; tracheid diameter medium-large.

Rot Resistance

Rated as non-durable regarding decay resistance, and also susceptible to insect attack.

Workability

Overall working properties are good, but because of the disparity between the soft earlywood and the hard latewood, sanding can create dips and uneven surfaces. Glues, stains, and finishes well.

Odor

No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity

Western Hemlock has been reported to cause skin and respiratory irritation, as well as runny nose.

Pricing/Availability

Western Hemlock is one of the two primary commercial species of hemlock harvested in North America ‹with the other being Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). Western Hemlock is used as construction lumber and is commonly grouped together with other species of fir and hemlock and sold under the more generic label ÐHEM-FIR.Expect prices to be moderate for a domestic softwood.

Sustainability

This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, and is reported by the IUCN as being a species of least concern.
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Hemlock, Western
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