5 Things that May Surprise You about Douglas Fir

1.IT’S NOT ACTUALLY FIR.

Technically, Douglas Fir is a pine or a spruce and so is often written in botanical texts at “Douglas-fir” to keep it distinct from actual Fir species.

True firs have cones that sit upright like little owls on their branches. The Douglas fir cone hangs down and stays intact when it falls to the ground.

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Left: Douglas Fir cone

Right: True Fir cone

See the difference?

Little owls vs. graceful art nouveau chandelier shapes.

2. IT WAS NOT NAMED AFTER A GUY NAMED DOUG.

David Douglas

It’s named after a guy named David. That would be David Douglas, the 19th century botanist famous for identifying a variety of Pacific NW plant species that are now cultivated all over the world. Also named after David? David Douglas High School and the Douglas Squirrel.

3. THE ROOF OF THE TACOMA DOME IS ONE OF THE LARGEST WOOD GEODESIC STRUCTURES IN THE WORLD.

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The wood was salvaged from the volcanic blowdown of Mount St. Helens.

How cool is THAT?

4.YOU CAN DRINK IT.

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Doug Fir buds are used to create a special eau de vie brandy from Clear Creek Distillery that runs about $50 a bottle.

5. ANCIENT HAWAIIANS USED FIR TO BUILD WAR CANOES.

DF Canoe

Though there are no native Douglas Fir stands in Hawaii (there are a small number of trees planted on the grave of David Douglas who is buried there), there are evidently ancient Hawaiian canoes made of Doug Fir. It turns out that Douglas Fir logs would wash ashore in Hawaii from clear across the Pacific. The Hawaiians carved them into outrigger canoes.

Of course today Douglas Fir is one of the most widely used lumber products in the world. Clear Vertical Grain Douglas Fir is particularly well suited to the custom manufacture of wood windows and doors for use in the Pacific NW due to its exceptional durability in our wet climate. We’re pretty in love with the stuff around here.

You can learn more about Doug Fir (and some of the iconic local landmarks that were built with it) at our Whiskey and Windows reception on March 19th at the Architectural Heritage Center.  Get the details and RSVP here.

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Case Study: Full Sail Brewing Custom Entry System

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We were delighted to recently complete a custom storefront system for Full Sail Brewing’s Hood River corporate offices. It was the perfect mix of Uniquely Versatile elements: unusual scale, specific climate and weather conditions and a client with a very specific design aesthetic in mind. Here’s a look at the goals and challenges of the project:

The Goal

Use of Vertical Grain Douglas Fir was a central design theme throughout this project.  The main entrance is meant to highlight that theme with solid CVG Douglas fir transom, sidelites, and doors with a clear finished interior and exterior.

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The Challenges

TMencer Construction Company approached us with this opportunity along with other custom shops in the region. Although our price point was higher, Tim Mencer valued our commitment to on-site consulting services, our ability to provide complete AutoCAD drawings for review and our expertise in integrating very specialized hardware for custom projects like this one.

An Off-Kilter Rough Opening: The biggest challenge to the project was that the existing masonry opening was not at all square, plumb or level. Several framing options had to be explored to find a solution that would fit the doors and glass as designed while adjusting for the variances in the existing opening.

Complex Commercial Hardware: The commercial hardware specified for the doors was very complex and challenging to integrate into an entry door of normal thickness.

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The Uniquely Versatile Solutions

Extensive onsite and off site consulting by our product development team about the available framing  options helped TMencer Construction narrow down some workable solutions to the site’s out of kilter opening measurements.

To address the hardware issue, we ultimately decided to make the doors thicker than originally specified (2_1/4” instead of 1_3/4”) in order to overcome some of the biggest hardware integration challenges and ensure greater long term durability.

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The Result

The final project’s simple lines and unadorned clear grain fir makes the entrance seem easy and approachable without hinting at the surprisingly complex design solutions required to integrate them into the space. We are proud to provide such a warm wood welcome to the staff and guests of Full Sail Brewing.

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