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Thread: Douglas fir

  1. #26
    Registered User mingusb1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    Douglas fir varies greatly. Even in the best grade, C and Better, it can be light and fine grained or coarse grained and heavy. Not quite as stiff per weight as spruce.

    In my trade years in an AWI shop, we ran thousands of feet of molding and made innumerable exterior doors and sash/frames from the best available material. One time in the 70’s we had a truckload of roughsawn 2x12x20 very fine grained old growth that didn’t have a flaw, save an occasional pitch pocket. Never see that again, It had escaped the Tillamook burn in the 30’s.

    Old grade books specify material that would be impossible to source in commercial quantities today as the old growth is so depleted. Sad.
    Interesting Bill. While in school at Oregon State in the early 90s I remember the figure the timber industry used for old growth that remained was 10%. Other groups put it at 5%. Sure would be nice to have more of it on the landscape.
    Member since 2003!

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  3. #27
    Registered User Mandoborg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Connor View Post
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    This guitar top is made of Douglas Fur. The instrument was made by Damon Kapke, Duluth MN especially for me. I've had it for at least 15 years with no problems. I play the guitar plugged in mostly, but I'm going to be recording a Blues album soon where the guitar is plugged in and Mic'd at the same time. It has a great sound.

    Not trying to start Trouble Greg, but do I see three nasty cracks in that top or are my eyes playing tricks on me ? I've used D.F. for tops, mostly when first starting out,but like previously stated, you need the old growth stuff that looks like Spruce. I've had 2 crack on me and it makes me hesitant to use it again when there are so many more stable options. To each there own though. I've been raised to believe you can build with pretty much any material if you approach it correctly and you don't have one of those ' Spruce, Maple, and Ebony only ' snobs breathing down your neck !!

    Jim

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DUGTTuoRPs

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  5. #28
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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    According to ODF (Oregon Dept of Forestry) many of the firs in the Cascade range cross pollinate.

    There was mention of the California Red Fir. I had known of this tree for 40 plus years as the Shasta Red Fir. It is difficult to find a purebred due to the cross pollination.
    I have knowledge of a pre WWII violin maker near Mt Shasta Calif. who used Shasta Red Fir for his top wood.

    Another Source:

    https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Documents...-of-oregon.pdf

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  7. #29
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    Here we go again...
    When I look up California red fir I get Abies magnifica. When I look up shasta red fir I get Abies magnifica. It appears they are indeed the same species. Also, they are not closely related to Pseudotsuga menziesii.

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  9. #30
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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    There was mention of the California Red Fir. I had known of this tree for 40 plus years as the Shasta Red Fir. It is difficult to find a purebred due to the cross pollination.
    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    Here we go again...
    When I look up California red fir I get Abies magnifica. When I look up shasta red fir I get Abies magnifica. It appears they are indeed the same species. Also, they are not closely related to Pseudotsuga menziesii.
    Can different tree species really cross pollinate? You wouldn't get sterile seeds, kind of like a botanical mule?

    Sue

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  11. #31
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    There are hybrid trees, but as far as I know they are always formed from trees of the same genus and closely related species.

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  13. #32
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    I always knew those endless row crop style planted trees that line all of the highways of Oregon to be fast growing hybrid hem-firs.

    It is wonderful to have a lengthy scientific conversation with multiple contributors using multiple languages rather than another $50 pick thread!

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  15. #33
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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    Can different tree species really cross pollinate? You wouldn't get sterile seeds, kind of like a botanical mule?

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    There are hybrid trees, but as far as I know they are always formed from trees of the same genus and closely related species.
    Abies procera (noble fir) and Abies magnifica (red fir) are examples of closely related tree species that hybridize. Another example from the west coast is Lutz spruce, a hybrid of Picea sitchensis (Sitka spruce) and Picea glauca (white spruce).

    Plant taxonomists get into debates and opinions change over time on whether certain closely-related "species" are distinct species at all or different varieties of a more broadly defined species. From the east coast, an example would be Carya glabra (pignut hickory) and Carya ovalis (red hickory), which have also been called Carya glabra var. glabra and Carya glabra var. odorata. This sort of disagreement over how a species is defined is another reason you might see multiple scientific names applied to the same plant. But in this case, the rules of botanical nomenclature won't sort it out because the basis is a disagreement between experts in the field.

    Back on the subject of Douglas-fir, if anyone is traveling through the Columbia River gorge I can recommend a side trip to the historic arboretum at the Wind River Experimental Forest. This is located a few miles up the valley of the Wind River north of Carson, WA. In a non-COVID summer it would be a short expedition from the Columbia Gorge Bluegrass Festival in nearby Stevenson. At the entrance to the arboretum trails there is a gigantic round cut from one of the largest Douglas-firs on record. I'll try to dig up a photo of it. The arboretum is worth a visit too, if you like trees. In the early 20th century, as foresters tried to figure out what would be the best timber tree for the Pacific Northwest, they brought in an incredible assortment of species from around the world and planted them together at the arboretum as a field trial. Most (not all) of the deciduous trees did not persist long. Few of the conifers did well, but many of them still survive to this day. In the end, none of the imported trees outcompeted the locals. This was an early basic test that shifted the conversation for foresters from "what could grow best here?" to "how can we best grow Douglas-fir?". Now Douglas-fir gets planted as a timber tree on other continents.

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  17. #34
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Vierra View Post
    Now Douglas-fir gets planted as a timber tree on other continents.
    I can confirm that. I've been tree and woods nerd all my life and always watch for "interesting" trees on all my trips (I mostly look for odd wood grain etc - just few days ago I found black poplar that is completely burly/birdseye on the whole trunk 20'+ long and 3.5' diameter before the branches start, during Covid isolation trips to local forests few months ago I found extremely curly beech - the grain pattern looked much like the famed D-log.
    Doug fir has been grown here for many years and I see it harvested (logs) on many places. It tends to grow faster than local spruces/firs so it is only planted on smaller scale not to overgrow domestic trees. I remember one of my first sightings of this in free nature (outside town parks). I was looking down a small valley from high spot and saw few conifers sticking out of "standard" mixed forest of european beech/maple/fir/spruce that looked different. I walked towards them and sure there were handful of doug firs planted in the middle of forest. I don't know how they got there as that was not location where imported trees were grown normally.
    BTW, most forestry folks around here use name pseudotsuga taxifolia, I knew also the pseudotsuga menziesii name but have been told it is old name... BTW, our name for the tree is "duglaska tisolistá" which is translation/modification of the Douglas and taxifolia (yew-leaved)
    Adrian

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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    I always knew those endless row crop style planted trees that line all of the highways of Oregon to be fast growing hybrid hem-firs
    Apparently they were already working with getting Douglas Fir to grow fast as far back as the 30's (I don't know about before that). In my 20's some 40 odd years ago I remember being out in the woods above the Clackamas River in an area called Ladee Airstrip (if I spelled that wrong sorry) and busting through the woods to find an old rail right of way from a logging operation and a sign that said the area had been reforested in the mid 30's. Those trees were mature but the difference was that the old growth trees didn't have as many low branches as the ones that were planted in the 30's.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  21. #36
    Registered User tree's Avatar
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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    Well, you know how scientists are - once they have better data, they have to either reject the hypothesis or modify it to fit. It's the same with nomenclature.

    But if you think plant taxonomists are bad, let me steer you away from mycologists . . . nomenclature of the fungi seems to change like the weather!

    Dang, it's nice to see a thread become so tree-centric and geeky! On the subject of hybrids, of which I only have a very basic understanding, I do remember a comment my Dendrology professor at NCSU made when teaching oaks (Quercus). He told us that with some of the species within the red oak group, it wasn't unusual to hybridize occasionally, that they were kind of "promiscuous".
    Clark Beavans

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  23. #37
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    Why can't we get these trees to comply with the names we give them? Don't they understand that it is confusing when they don't conform to what we say? You'd think the trees came first and the names came later and tried to catch up! Why must the trees make it so confusing? Sheesh!
    (Now removing tongue from cheek...)

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  25. #38
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    I think what it may come down to is nomenclature and species divisions are a human construct. If I recall correctly the definition of species is at least partially on whether interbreeding can occur. I would guess that any botanical entities that can interbreed are genetically varieties and the rest is the result of human efforts to sort them out by phenotype.

    And with plants, I would say that a fair amount of phenotype may well be environmentally mediated. This was true in the seaweed world where I studied years ago, and I would speculate it to be true for trees as well.

    (Never mind botanical/academic egos )

    Sue

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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    These days you have to be careful. Classification , which used to be based the visible characteristics of floral parts, is now based on microscopic DNA. In the SW we used to have a group of common trees, related to mesquites, called acacias. Now all the acacias are gone and reclassified as something else. Australia now is in sole possession of acacias.
    As a field person I dread cold wet winters because I feel like taxonomist just stay inside and spend their time changing things.
    As to John's comment about hybrids, the more I look at oaks - the less I know.

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  28. #40
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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    Quote Originally Posted by JimKo View Post
    ...the more I look at oaks - the less I know.
    There are oak trees on my property with the bark of white oak and the leaves of chestnut oak. Back in Virginia I could easily recognize white oak and chestnut oak winter or summer. I'm still not sure what the oak trees here are. (At least the red oaks look familiar.)

  29. #41
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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    "Because the Douglas-fir is not a true fir, the common name is hyphenated."

    As long as we are going through the names, this is something I also never heard before. It's Douglas-fir.

    https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfd/librar...douglasfir.htm
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  31. #42
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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    I lived about a block away from where that was. I often stopped there and tried to imagine what it looked like. That area is completely different now, but was a nice place to live. The trailhead to get into Forest Park was about a two minute walk from my apartment.

    “ When I lived in Portland I had Douglas firs in my back yard that were down a hill from the house, the house was basically three stories and they towered over it. The first time I saw the tree at Rockefeller Center in New York I couldn't figure out why people were so amazed at its size. Growing up in Portland in the 50's while we were being fed the obviously wrong information about the tree we had the opportunity to visit this building built for the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition. Look at the size of the people, look at the size of the logs. By the way, that building caught fire and was destroyed in 1964. It was a sad day.”

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  33. #43
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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    Mike I am with you. Read the link and am a little suspicious about the hyphenating on the common names. Maybe it is a thing with our good brothers and sisters in Canada but here I have never seen Desert Willow, Mountain Mahogany, or Tulip Tree hyphenated. How about Horse-Apples?

  34. #44
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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    Quote Originally Posted by bruce.b View Post
    I lived about a block away from where that was. I often stopped there and tried to imagine what it looked like. That area is completely different now, but was a nice place to live. The trailhead to get into Forest Park was about a two minute walk from my apartment.
    Totally different is true. The Forestry Building was a pretty neat place to visit. I lived out on the east side when it burned and you could see the glow and the smoke from a long way off. They had these small steam locomotives on the grounds around the building. They were still standing but worse for the wear after the fire had reduced the building to ashes and rubble.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  35. #45
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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    Quote Originally Posted by JimKo View Post
    Mike I am with you. Read the link and am a little suspicious about the hyphenating on the common names. Maybe it is a thing with our good brothers and sisters in Canada but here I have never seen Desert Willow, Mountain Mahogany, or Tulip Tree hyphenated. How about Horse-Apples?
    Apparently OSU thinks so as well.

    https://oregonstate.edu/trees/conife...uglas_fir.html
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  37. #46
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    I went to Oregon State! It was a lousy school, but Corvallis was beautiful place to live and a wonderful affordable town back when there were only 8000 students and HP had 5000 good paying jobs. Things are so different now, it might be a good time to rename it....

  38. #47
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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    Just looked at the USDA Plant Data Base which lists the "official" common names. It shows Douglas-fir. In the USDA Plant Guide it says a tribe along the California coast used the sap of spring buds to treat venereal disease. Everyday is a learning experience for me.

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  40. #48
    Registered User Jim Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    I think OSU is a wonderful school, James, and its forestry program is highly regarded in the timber industry.

    I made my living in the 90’s in the forests of the Sierra Mountains in the northern part of California. Doug fir was always the “money tree” in the timber industry as it almost held its value when other species fell. Now, living in Oregon and still spending lots of time in the woods for recreation, I see Douglas-Fir trees suffering (along with all the other conifers) from drought, excessively high average temperatures year ‘round and other maladies associated with climate change. It’s heart breaking. The forests in the Pacific Northwest appear to be suffering and is it another canary in the cage warning for us?

    What an interesting thread. Perhaps we’ll have a discussion on my favorite conifer; Port Orford Cedar! Or is that Port-Orford Cedar? :-)
    Last edited by Jim Roberts; Sep-04-2020 at 12:23pm.

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  42. #49
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    Default Re: Douglas fir

    Quote Originally Posted by j. condino View Post
    I went to Oregon State! It was a lousy school, but Corvallis was beautiful place to live and a wonderful affordable town back when there were only 8000 students and HP had 5000 good paying jobs. Things are so different now, it might be a good time to rename it....
    I spent a whole lot of time in Corn Valley in the early to mid 70's. One of my favorite customers was selling my line of bikes and we were good friends. In the 40's downtown Corvallis looked pretty much like it did in the 70's with just a few less 53 Chevrolet's on the street.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  44. #50

    Default Re: Douglas fir

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    I think what it may come down to is nomenclature and species divisions are a human construct.
    Not only that, but it's a line artificially drawn at a point in time. Go back in time far enough and species merge, go forward in time and they split. And sometimes even split and merge again...

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