Domestic Species Focus: Douglas Fir Wood

In addition to the many domestic and exotic hardwood species, tropical decking, and hardwood plywood which we carry, we also supply our customers with some select softwoods species, including Douglas Fir. Particularly for those customers who require timber framing and exposed beams, Douglas Fir has become a favorite species. As the popularity of such styles continues to soar, we expect our inventory for this premium domestic softwood species to keep pace with the market demand. Why are Douglas Fir timbers so ideal? Let’s take a look!

Douglas Fir Details

Like another domestic softwood species, Western Red Cedar, Douglas Fir can be classified by whether it grows along the coast or along the Rocky Mountains. Unlike Western Red Cedar, though, one area seems to produce superior Douglas Fir. Because Coastal Douglas Fir trees grow to be much larger and produce more structural timbers, we carry only that variety.

Douglas Fir timber truss roof

Like many lumber species, the name “Douglas Fir” is a bit of a misnomer; it’s not a Fir, at all. The lumber is similar to Hemlocks, though, with cream-colored earlywood, red-brown latewood, and extremely straight grain. The overall effect of the different-colored lines is a generally warm, orange appearance. The distinct lines separate areas of varying hardness, causing some challenges to milling; as a result, tool edges need to be kept extremely sharp to prevent splintering and tear out.

While exposed beams and timber framing are popular uses for Douglas Fir, other applications include rustic-looking paneling and flooring as well as exterior siding.

Douglas Fir Inventory

At J. Gibson McIlvain Lumber, we always ensure top quality by purchasing our Douglas Fir directly from mills in western Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest; we then offer Douglas Fir lumber in both common construction sizes and structural timbers. Due to the growing demand for large timbers and the challenges of moving such large materials across the country, J. Gibson McIlvain maintains a sizable inventory of Douglas Fir on both the East Coast and the West Coast. That system allows us to deliver Douglas Fir structural timbers anywhere in the country, without extensive amounts of lead time.

We carry rough-sawn Douglas Fir lumber in your choice of kiln-dried or radio frequency kiln-dried forms. Our in-house millworks can manufacture any paneling, trim, or mouldings you require, and we can ship those items to your job site, along with any hardwood plywood and other lumber you may need.

Douglas Fir boards which we typically stock include the following common construction sizes: 4/4, 5/4, and 8/4 Rough 4”-12” (kiln dried, vertical grain); 1×4-1×12 (C and better S4S); 2×4-2×12 (C and better S4S); 1×4-1×12 (CVG S4S); 4” and 6” Tongue and Grooved Beaded edge. In addition, we keep an inventory of 4-3 x 4-12 structural timbers in #1 Appearance and Select Grades, Freed of Heart Center.

Learn More About the Wood Industry

Understanding Douglas Fir’s Strengths & Weaknesses
Comparing Douglas Fir with Western Red Cedar

J. Gibson McIlvain Company

Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the McIlvain family has been immersed in the premium import and domestic lumber industry. With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company ( is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods.

As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums.

Contact a representative at J. Gibson McIlvain today by calling (800) 638-9100.

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