Hem-Fir is a species combination of Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) and five of the True Firs: California Red Fir (Abies magnifica), Grand Fir (Abies grandis), Noble Fir (Abies procera), Pacific Silver Fir (Abies amabilis), and White Fir (Abies concolor). While Western Hemlock and the True Firs are sometimes marketed separately in products graded for appearance, these species share similar design values making products graded for structural applications interchangeable.
The Hem-Fir species combination is one of the most important in the Western region, second only to the Douglas Fir-Larch species group in terms of abundance, production volumes, strength, and versatility in end use.
Hem-Fir lumber products are available in structural, appearance and remanufacturing grades. In strength properties, Western Hem-Fir is slightly below the Douglas Fir-Larch species combination, and above both the Douglas Fir-South and Spruce-Pine-Fir (South) species combinations. Hem-Fir is useful for a multitude of general-purpose framing applications and is capable of meeting the span requirements of many installations.
In the clear and nearly clear appearance grades, Hem-Fir “Finish & Select” products are fine grained and even textured, lending formality to wood paneling, cabinets and trim. Hem-Fir “Factory & Shop” grade products are remanufactured into handsome solid wood doors, louvers, shutters, moulding, case goods, furniture and more. Limited volumes of knotty, board products are available in Hem-Fir and these are graded primarily to the West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau’s “Alternate Board” grade rules, and to some extent to WWPA’s rules for the “Common” grades. Lower-grade knotty products are useful for those utilitarian applications in construction where economy governs.
Preservative pressure-treated Hem-Fir products are both visually appealing and strong, and in comparison to the naturally durable Western cedars and redwoods, among the more economical species considerations for decks and other outdoor amenities. Among the Western species, Hem-Fir is a preferred species group for preservative pressure treating.
Read More About Hem Fir at WWPA