Also known as: British Columbian Pine, Douglas Fir, VG Fir, Vertical Grain Fir
Botanical Name: Pseudotsuga menziesii, P. taxifolia
Origin: Western North America, now also Europe
Description: Here in the U.K., we usually refer to veneer produced from north American grown trees as Oregon or B.C. Pine, and that produced from European logs as Douglas Fir.
In the USA however, the U.S. Forest Service’s preferred name is Douglas Fir. The best known and most abundant species is named after Archibald Menzies, the Scottish naturalist who first discovered it in 1791. The common name of Douglas Fir honours David Douglas, another Scot, who first introduced it into European cultivation at Scone Palace, near Perth, Scotland in 1827.
Felling in N. America is extremely strictly controlled as the trees are the favoured habitat of the Northern Spotted Owl, which has been declared an endangered species.
Systematic replanting has, however, been undertaken since 1912. Reforestation and management of the timberlands in Oregon are rigorously enforced by law.
A large proportion of available American logs are rotary-cut for use in the manufacture of plywood. For decorative veneer they are usually quartered to produce material that, at its best, is very straight-grained, with the prominent growth rings showing as fine, reddish-brown lines overlaying a basic yellow-brown to biscuit colour. Occasionally some smaller logs may be flat cut to produce crown veneer.
The European grown logs are, again, mostly quartered and typically show a much wider grain, the annual rings being wider apart.
Oregon Pine / Douglas Fir veneer is used extensively for fine interior joinery, shopfitting and furniture.