What Are The Benefits Of Building With Air‑Dried Douglas Fir?

That’s a great question. And we’re going to provide you with answers in this post. But first, let’s get the high-level on air-drying lumber products from the U.S. Forest Service:

…air drying helps to ensure continued markets for wood products by contributing to customer satisfaction. Both conservation of the timber resource and customer satisfaction contribute to the wise use of timber, which has long been an accepted tenet of the USDA Forest Service’s conservation policy.

U.S. Forest Service

We agree with that statement, and we believe in smart, sensible conservation of our Coastal Douglas Fir timberlands. Sensible conservation means we’ll be able to provide architects and builders with exceptional free-of-heart-center, air-dried Douglas Fir timber for years to come. 

And that’s a good thing for all of us!

In this post, we’ll cover the what, the how, the why, and the who of air-dried lumber, specifically Douglas fir. Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • What Is Air Drying In The Lumber Industry?
  • How Does Brazier Lumber Company Air Dry Douglas Fir Timbers?
  • Why Is Air Drying So Important? (Or Is It?)
  • Who Wants Air-Dried Douglas Fir (And Why)?

We’ve got a lot of wood to chop here, so let’s get started.

What Is Air Drying In The Lumber Industry?

Air drying is exactly what it sounds like. Wood is a hygroscopic material. Hygroscopic is just a fifty-cent word that means wood will release or absorb moisture based on whether it’s in a moist or dry environment. And sap and water typically comprise 50%, or more, of the weight of most live trees.

There are arguments for and against drying wood before using it in a building project, either in a kiln or air drying. But as certified lumber nerds, we firmly believe in the tremendous benefits of air-dried Douglas Fir for architects and builders.

Now, that being said, it always depends on your building project and your primary objectives with respect to aesthetics and the visual qualities of the wood.

More on that later.

How Does Brazier Lumber Company Air Dry Douglas Fir?

The process is pretty straightforward. It involves some additional labor, materials, space, and expertise, but your project is worth the extra effort to us.

The process of air-drying wood is also known as “stickering.” Spacers, or sticks, are placed at the ends of the timbers and every 20”- 28” or so, as they’re stacked in vertical layers. 

The ends are typically coated with a latex paint or wax emulsifier. This keeps the ends of the timber, which are the fastest drying area, from drying too fast.

Courtesy of Design And Technology Online

In a nutshell, we want to keep the timbers dry on the top, sides, and bottom, with plenty of real estate for air movement.

But Why Is Air Drying So Important? (Or Is It?)

Not to be ambiguous and wishy-washy here, but the answer to that question is yes and no.

Free of Heart Center Douglas Fir is pound-for-pound one of the strongest structural timbers available—period.

It’s also one of the most sought-after woods for building beautiful structures, like this one:

Brazier Lumber

What’s not to love about that veranda?

The best architects and builders know that FOHC Doug Fir is the go-to timber for projects like this one. 

Now let’s clear up the wishy-washy part. Douglas Fir timbers are also known for maintaining excellent structural and material quality without any formal drying process. In other words, they typically won’t exhibit any significant twisting, cracking, or shrinking if they’re used wet and allowed to dry in place. 

But, if you want the best-of-the-best aesthetics and eye-catching natural wood grains for your project, air drying and custom planing is the ticket.

One more quick factoid—Air-dried Doug Fir will also retain its natural wood grains and color better than kiln-dried timbers, which speed up the drying process (sometimes too much!).  

So Who Wants Air-Dried Douglas Fir (And Why)?

At Brazier Lumber Company, we bring in the finest FOHC Coastal Doug Fir timbers from out west to our yard in Langdon. These timbers are air-dried and earmarked for architects and builders who will accept only the strongest, most beautiful natural wood timbers available for their projects. 

Does that sound like you?

Excellent! We’re here to serve you.

Where can you go for more info, like how much do FOHC Douglas Fir timbers cost, what sizes are available, what are standard lead times, etc.? 

You’re in the right place.

As our founder, Stephen Brazier, likes to say, “Wood is as much of an art as it is a science, and we focus on both, so our clients don’t have to.”

You need the highest quality air-dried FOHC Doug Fir timber available in the Northeast, and we have it. 

Sounds like a match made in heaven. 

Get in touch online, call us at 603-207-1241, or stop by today.