Hemlock - ever used it?


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I found that my local mill has large pieces of hemlock at very, very reasonable prices (at least in comparison to their other stock). I've never worked with hemlock, and I'm wondering if anyone else has first hand experience with it.

From the limited research I've done, I've got the following:

- it's relatively soft (500-600 on the janka scale)

- it's apparently very stable

- it has poor rot resistance

- it takes stains and finishes pretty well

I may just go pick up a piece and play with it to see what it's like, but I figure someone here must have come across it at some point...

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by the way, be cautious when handling; hemlock is (in my experience), more prone to allergic reactions.

I don't believe the lumber variety is poisonous, but part of the hemlock family is. According to the little information I have, there are two subspecies, and the lumber variety is in one, while the poisonous variety is in the other. But do some research of your own: don't just take my word.

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Hemlock and fir are somewhat interchangeable in the construction world. Lumber around my area is often referred to as Hemfir, cause you never really know which you're getting. I've also used it quite a bit for trim purposes. Like everyone has said, it stains well, but I'm not a fan because it is so soft.

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Hemlock and fir are somewhat interchangeable in the construction world. Lumber around my area is often referred to as Hemfir, cause you never really know which you're getting.

Oh, crap. I've seen Hemfir in the BORG here (Phoenix), too, and until this very moment I thought it was some type of fir, in the same way that Douglas fir is. I suppose this ignorance on my part is somewhat justified, though, given that the whole "tree" thing is a pretty foreign concept in these parts. Oh, sure--we've seen pictures of trees in books, and even small pieces of them after they've been chopped into lumber and dragged here without their consent. But we have to take a pretty good hike before we actually see any bears poopin' in the woods.

You know, it's probably too late, but it really would be good if this here particular post had a signal to noise ratio that was somewhere north of zero. Maybe a link to some furniture made out of hemlock would help:

It's all in the design.

I bet that guy could make OSB look good.

-- Russ

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Many years ago when I was desperate for work I made a hundred doors for a construction company all in Hemlock. In working it it very much confirmed it's name. The grain although looking quite pleasing was very interlocked and if you planed every which way you would still get tear out. Pretty soft and easy to cut etc. but in all I hope not to use it again. I expect it would make furniture that would look good under a gleaming coat or two of poly or paint. If the price is right and you have the right project for its properties then buy it.

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