by Dan Smith, Salesperson for Honest Abe Log Homes

As my family and I were putting up our Christmas tree last night, I couldn’t help but to think of the tree itself, the mighty Douglas Fir.  Nationally, it remains one of the most popular Christmas tree species.  The needles are dark green or blue green, one to one and a half inches long, soft to the touch and radiate out in all directions from the branch.  It is shipped all over the country and exported to the Hawaiian Islands, Guam and parts of Asia.  It takes seven to ten years to produce a Christmas tree.

The Douglas Fir is named after a Scottish botanist named David Douglas.  The trees grow from central California, western Oregon and Washington and north to Alaska.  The tree can live for a thousand years, mainly due to a very thick bark that allows it to survive moderate fires.  The Douglas Fir can grow from 70 to 390 feet with two-thirds of the tree being limb free, which gives the wood a clear, almost knot free appearance.

Honest Abe uses the Douglas Fir for several different things in its log and timber frame homes.  It is used for ceiling beams and girders, heavy timber rafters that support the roof system, the post and beam frame work in our timber frame homes, trusses, wall ties, and support post that support the house itself.  Honest Abe uses it because of its strength, but it also offers more than just strength.  It gives the home owner a nice color contrast with the Eastern White Pine logs.  There are cheaper options, but we feel like the Douglas-Fir offers more bang for the buck.

Resilience, hardness and density result in its excellent strength-to-weight ratio and makes it ideal for framing construction and as supporting load-bearing members.  The straight, dense grain translates into the ability to hold a nail and excellent curative properties mean it’s not likely to warp or split thus increasing structural longevity.

The Douglas Fir is used for much more than just log and timber frame homes. It can be used for bridges, highway guardrails, railroad ties, and even home built aircraft.  But this time of year it does make for an awesome Christmas tree inside your Honest Abe Log Home.