Larch Wood and Douglas Fir Larix occidentalis & Pseudotsuga menziesii

Larch Wood and Douglas Fir

Larch Wood and Douglas Fir are two of my all time favourites!

There are so many great woods available and normally people think of Hardwoods and Softwoods which is actually very misleading.

Why is it misleading I hear you ask…  Well here is an example; Balsa wood is the softest wood available but it is infact a hardwood! Larch wood and Douglas Fir are really hard but the are a soft wood!

Here is a video explaining why

SOFTWOODS

CONIFEROUS Trees

  • Cedar
  • Fir
  • Juniper
  • Larch
  • Pine
  • Redwoods
  • Spruce
  • Yew

HARDWOODS

BROAD LEAVED Trees

  • Balsa
  • Ebony
  • Elm
  • Kapur
  • Mahogany
  • Maple
  • Oak
  • Walnut

Anyway, I love Larch Wood and Douglas Fir, it has hues of salmon pinks, yellows and oranges and the most wonderful texture. Larch wood and Douglas Fir is used in all types of construction because of its density and strength and also because of the availability in larger sizes.

This fantastic timber has been used in construction for hundreds and hundreds of years and is still being used in boat building throughout central Europe. 

It has long been regarded as one of thee very best building timbers available. Stronger than pine and incredibly popular with engineers and architects for exterior cladding and structures. Larch wood and Douglas fir that has not been dried is exceptionally good for heavy duty structural works.

Larch Wood and Douglas Fir Structures

When architects and engineers look for the best in structural lumber, their first choice tends to be Douglas Fir. It is dimensionally stable and universally recognized for its superior strength-to-weight ratio. Its high specific gravity provides excellent nail and plate-holding ability.

The species also enjoys a documented superior performance against strong forces resulting from natural phenomena such as winds, storms and earthquakes. It is truly the ideal structural and general purpose wood for framing lumber in residential, light commercial, multistory and industrial construction.

Elasticity

The Douglas Fir/Western Larch species combination is rated as one of the highest in modulus of elasticity (E or MOE) of the North American softwood species. This is the ratio of the amount a piece of lumber will deflect in proportion to an applied load. It is a reflection of the species’ high degree of stiffness, an important consideration in the design of floors and other systems.

Strength

In strength properties, Douglas Fir/Western Larch is rated the highest of any Western softwood for extreme fiber stress in bending (Fb); for tension parallel-to-grain (Ft), for horizontal sheer (Fv), for compression perpendicular-to-grain (Fc), and for compression parallel-to-grain (Fc).

These physical working properties, as well as the moderate durability of its heartwood and its excellent dimensional stability, provide the reasons many builders use Douglas Fir as the standard against which all other framing lumber is judged. It is also tight knotted and close grained, adding the bonus of beauty to its structural capabilities.

Lovely Larch Wood and Douglas Fir Roof

Properties of Larch Wood and Douglas Fir

A couple of the most sought after features are its overall strength and its ability to withstand constantly changing wet and dry environments.

Another major feature is Larch and Douglas have huge natural rot resistant properties, exceptional colouring and a tight texture which makes it a joy to work with and enjoy in your garden.

  • Larch is a deciduous, softwood, conifer tree, highly resinous, and a medium density wood (530 kg/m3).
  • Our Larch is sourced from Western Europe with either FSC or PEFC certification. Environmentally sound and sustainable.
  • Being a very dense wood it can resist constant humidity changes with very little distortion, warping or shrinkage once dry.
  • A strong timber and stronger than other conifers such as Spruce and Pine. It is 60% stiffer than European redwoods, 30% stronger in bending and compression, 40% harder. It does though have similar crushing and impact properties to that of pine and spruce.
  • Larch is lightly scented with a straight grain and small knots.
  • Low maintenance and does not need treating, when allowed to weather if becomes a silvery grey colour. As with most woods it should be treated if it is to be put in to contact directly with the ground.
  • Larch is in the durability class of 3 – 4. Durability is the measurement of a 50mm x 50mm cross section of timber left in the ground unprotected. Class 3 is 10 – 15 years. Class 4 is 5 – 10 years.
  • When untreated and NOT in ground contact you can expect a life of 50 – 60 years. When treated and outdoors the life expectancy is 100 years +.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.