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Author Topic: Hemlock questions  (Read 921 times)

Offline starmac

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Hemlock questions
« on: January 07, 2018, 06:28:19 PM »
I have some questions for you timber gurus, err experts, or anybody else that knows anything about hemlock. lol

Would hemlock be suitable for bridge decking?
How about blocking, I assume so, but have never been around hemlock at all.
How about board road or mats?
It does not need to have a long life expectancy, but at least 3 years would be nice.

Also I have heard that hemlock does not float, is this true??

Online Kirk Allen

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Re: Hemlock questions
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2018, 09:01:05 PM »
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Offline starmac

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Re: Hemlock questions
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2018, 09:36:21 PM »
Wow, thanks for that site.
I really do know what most of the stuff means, but comparing the properties to white spruce, it looks as though it would be even better, possibly a little less rot resistant.
I did not realize that hemlock got as big as it does, the trees on this parcel are 120 years old, it will be neat to see what the growth rate between it and the Sitka spruce is.

Offline Ox

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Re: Hemlock questions
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2018, 10:46:04 AM »
All the old buildings around here including the house I grew up in were made from hand hewn beams of hemlock.  The old house was made around 1820 as the barn was.  Keep them dry and they'll stay straight and strong.  In the barn the rafters were made from young hemlock split down the middle using a pit saw I assume and the flat side went up for flat surface for the purlins and the round outside of the log is still seen today when looking up in the barn.  The old barn is mostly straight and so is the house.  Not bad for a bunch of northern hillbillies almost 200 years ago!  :)

If I remember right, hemlock wasn't as bad at pitch buildup on the blade as other species like red pine and larch/tamarack. 

Many folks like it for barn siding and roofing purlins/slats and such.  If I had a bunch I wouldn't hesitate to use it for anything I needed, except for ground contact.  This would be black locust.

As to your question I wouldn't use it for bridge decking unless it was temporary.  Strength wise it'll be fine but it won't last long in the elements.  I would, however, expect it to last 3 years.  This is temporary in my eyes.  This is just opinion - I've never used hemlock for bridge, blocking, road matting, etc. purposes.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 10:54:34 AM by Ox »
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Offline furu

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Re: Hemlock questions
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2018, 11:05:04 AM »
Is the variety that you have up there the same species of hemlock or is it different?  From my knowledge, western and mountain hemlock grows along the coastal areas up to the Kenai Peninsula but I have not heard of them making it into the interior of Alaska.

I know the eastern, the western, and the mountain species of hemlock have some significant differences.  I am not familiar with a sub species that grows in the interior.  That would be interesting to know more about it.  Are you talking about up in your area or down toward your potential new work site that you mentioned in another post? 
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Offline starmac

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Re: Hemlock questions
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2018, 01:02:00 PM »
This hemlock is down on the coast, no hemlock in the interior at all, that I know of.

Offline Stevem

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Re: Hemlock questions
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2018, 10:11:16 AM »
In Oregon western hemlock grows on the all the way up west slope of the Cascade Mts. and is a major component in the "Hem-Fir" classification for building material.  Hem-fir includes almost all conifer except D.Fir.  Not really considered "interior" area by the locals but might be as far as forestry gurus go.  And yes there is lots of it on the coast.  Not to be confused with eastern hemlock.  One of the traditional uses was for flooring.
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Offline furu

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Re: Hemlock questions
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2018, 11:26:58 AM »
In Oregon western hemlock grows on the all the way up west slope of the Cascade Mts. and is a major component in the "Hem-Fir" classification for building material.  Hem-fir includes almost all conifer except D.Fir.  Not really considered "interior" area by the locals but might be as far as forestry gurus go.  And yes there is lots of it on the coast.  Not to be confused with eastern hemlock.  One of the traditional uses was for flooring.

The "interior"  that is being referenced is in reference to a term used to describe large portions of the State of Alaska where I did not believe Hemlock survived versus the milder coastal regions of Valdez and SE Alaska .  Not the PNW, Oregon, Washington and southern BC.
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Offline Ox

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Re: Hemlock questions
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2018, 11:16:07 AM »
I'm pretty sure the hemlock up in AK and the ones here in upstate NY are totally different critters.  Never mind all I wrote about them cause I don't think it applies to you, starmac!  I guess I forgot you're in AK.
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Offline starmac

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Re: Hemlock questions
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2018, 04:13:24 PM »
Until I started looking into this, I thought hemlock was hemlock, but apparently there is quite a bit of difference between eastern, mountain and western.
One of which is size, according to the wood data base Kirk referenced western can potentionally be as much as twice as big as the others, and if I understand the properties right it is also considerably stronger in all ways.