SCI Joinery Gallery
Timbers - European Fir
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English name, European Fir/ Silver Fir. Also known as European whitewood.
Remarks, Another tree which is a work horse of a timber our region. British grown Fir is not as good as native grown, it grows to fast due to the very short warm Winters, and to much rainfall. Causing the growth rings to be bigger than they should be, with even less resistance to decay of insect attack. Only good for indoor use.
Species, Abies alba.
Age, 600 years old.
Height, 30-50m. Sometimes up to 65m.
Tree shape, Narrowly conical.
Leaf Type, Evergreen.
Leaves shape, Linear to 3cm long, with a notched tip, glossy dark green above, with two whitish bands beneath.
Flowers colour, Male, yellow/Female, green.
Fruit, A cylindrical upright cone, to 15cm long, green at first ripening to brown, with protruding down turned bracts.
Bark, Grey and smooth, cracking into small plates with age.
Native region, Europe.
Natural habitat, Mountain forests. 400-1,000m.
Weight, Green 670 kg/m3. Air dried 450kg/m3.
Maturity, 30 years.
Soil type, Sandy to clay loam.
Wood type, Softwood.
Timber colour, Straw-yellow to straw-red. Darkens with age. Not much resin in timber.
Durability, Slightly durable. (1 very durable, 2 durable, 3 moderately durable, 4 slightly durable, 5 not durable).
Treatable, Extremely difficult. (Easy, moderate easy, difficult, extremely difficult).
Moisture movement, Medium.
Environmental, Not listed as an endangered species.
Availability, Readily available at good timber merchants.
Drying, Dries quickly with little distortion. Knots can loosen or split.
Working qualities, The timber works well by hand or machine. Clean smooth finish. The timber can be stained, painted, glued, nailed or screwed satisfactorily.
To Europe, Was introduced to Britain in 1603.
Uses, Making timber pulp for plywood, furniture, indoor use for constructional carpentry or joinery.
Information, 55 different trees in this family.
Sold as Christmas trees.
Lighter than Spruce.
Fir has no insect or decay resistance after felling, so it is mainly used for indoor usage. Outdoors the timber is not expected to last any more than 1-2 years depending on the environment.