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Western Hemlock

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Wood-products producers market western hemlock with White fir, Grand fir, Noble fir, and other firs that have identical working, appearance, and performance characteristics and call the lumber HEM-FIR. If you live in the West, your chances of buying pure hemlock substantially increase. You'll want the clearest wood for furniture and cabinets: B & BTR SEL, C SEL, D SEL (Western Wood Products Assoc., USA finish grades) or Canadian grades No. 2 CLR & BTR, No. 3 CLR, and No. 4 CLR. For the lowest moisture content, demand boards dried to 15 percent ("MC 15" in the trade). Your cost should be about $1 or less per board foot. You won't find western hemlock finish- or appearance-grade boards kiln-dried to anything less than about 12 percent. That's typical for western softwoods. That doesn't mean that the wood can't be used for cabinets and furniture, though. But you'll have to acclimate the wood in your home for a week or so to stabilize it. Then, keep the following advice in mind when working your chosen wood.


Continued on page 5:  Machining methods

 

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