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Thread: heart pine or doug fir?

  1. heart pine or doug fir?

    hello all. I'm trying to figure out what kind of wood this 100 year old flooring is. Here's a pic of it. Top two are the flooring and the bottom piece is a sample of doug fir. I'm leaning towards heart pine. It's not as red as the doug fir. Thanks
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  2. #2
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    I'd sand it a bit and smell it. Fir usually has a pretty distinct smell when sanded.

    Jason


    Quote Originally Posted by joe farrington View Post
    hello all. I'm trying to figure out what kind of wood this 100 year old flooring is. Here's a pic of it. Top two are the flooring and the bottom piece is a sample of doug fir. I'm leaning towards heart pine. It's not as red as the doug fir. Thanks

  3. Yeah, I tried that. It just has an old musty smell to it. My problem is I have to replace some damaged flooring and had planned on pulling from the closets but someone in the past already did that. The owners plan on having the floors refinished in the future and are receptive to using the closest wood possible. I'm just worried about what the finish will look like if the flooring isn't doug fir and I use it to repair the damage.

  4. #4
    The two boards on the top I don't believe they are Heart Pine ie southern longleaf yellow pine. The bottom one definitely is Long Leaf. The top two look like loblolly.

  5. #5
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    Looks like SYP, vertical grain to me. Not so much like heart pine IME. My house is full of original SYP, just over 100 years old, I'm staring at it presently and it looks just like your top two samples. You are in a hard spot trying to match it. New stuff doesn't look the same, fir is too red/orange to match well and its grain too tight. I imagine there is some old growth stuff available, but it is probably freshly sawn from larger reclaimed timbers, so its faces haven't been uv aged the same way. So the closet idea has already been used. Can you take boards from under the bed?

  6. #6
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    Bottom one looks like fir to me

  7. #7
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    Where do you live?
    Glad its my shop I am responsible for - I only have to make me happy.

  8. #8
    Bottom one looks like Douglas Fir based on color, tighness of grain and straightness of grain. There is still old growth being harvested in the northwest. On the west coast of Canada logging companys are shipping raw logs of it to overseas countries.

  9. #9
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    It's great that everyone is pointing out that the bottom sample is doug fir, but the OP already knows that. He put it there. He want to know what the top pieces are.

    I will second the yellow pine. Doug fir is usually more pink like your sample, however white fir can look like your planks too. I would recommend cutting it to get to the smell, sanding will only get you the musty old smell as you already know.

  10. #10
    Another vote for SYP. SYP was very common for flooring, at least in this area of the country. In my experience, Douglas Fir is not. Douglas fir is softer and also tends to "feather" sometimes as it ages, and SYP would be preferred for flooring for those reasons.

  11. #11
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    Fir floors are somewhat common here in New England, so I wouldn't rule it out entirely.

    Jason


    Quote Originally Posted by John Keeton View Post
    Another vote for SYP. SYP was very common for flooring, at least in this area of the country. In my experience, Douglas Fir is not. Douglas fir is softer and also tends to "feather" sometimes as it ages, and SYP would be preferred for flooring for those reasons.

  12. #12
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    Hard to tell from the picture but the top one's don't look like the heart pine I'm used to seeing as I work in an antique lumberyard. Typically the quartersawn heart pine I see has very close and tight grain and old heart pine is very hard dense and heavy. It's also very resinous and more of a red brown, not pinkish like the fir. If you can scratch it easily with your fingernail it's not heart pine. The old heart pine is gorgeous stuff and goes for top dollar.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by joe farrington View Post
    Yeah, I tried that. It just has an old musty smell to it. My problem is I have to replace some damaged flooring and had planned on pulling from the closets but someone in the past already did that. The owners plan on having the floors refinished in the future and are receptive to using the closest wood possible. I'm just worried about what the finish will look like if the flooring isn't doug fir and I use it to repair the damage.
    depends on how you finish it.

    the point made above about not having the same 'age' in the look is 100% accurate.

    staining will be difficult if not impossible to match. i would recommend using a colored shellac for color if you want the color to match when it's all refinished. you can still put a varnish on top if you want something more resistant to abrasion. but a stain, or any other penetrating finish, won't match if they're not of the same age.

    i'm restoring a 100+ year old house with longleaf pine floors and trim myself. and that's the solution i arrived at.

  14. Thanks for the responses. I also think it's pine, but unfortunately the doug fir on the bottom of the pic is the closest match I can get in my area. All the syp I've seen at the local lumber yards is way too yellow. This is for a friend of mine and in his opinion it should match fine since he and his wife plan on staining the floor dark cherry. I'm not so sure, so I plan on test staining a few pieces. thanks again.

  15. #15
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    A lot of the old floors in the Mid Atlantic States were what we always called -- Bull Pine. Not sure where you are -- but they look like BP. I was always told it was used because it was strong and cheap -- shipped in from the west coast. It is surprisingly hard -- much more than D Fir. and with greater variations of grain than D Fir.

    Old longleaf heart pine looks completely different than the Bull Pine that I am speaking of.

    The Bull Pine floors were always a little hard to match -- the wood was still cut but no longer shipped east. Using locally available pine never worked all that well and SYP has a wild grain and is a bit more yellow. Many of the contractors would salvage and keep some for future fixes!

    What part of the country?

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