Hemlock Timber – The Complete Guide

Despite what the name suggests, Cedar Sales are experts in a range of timbers - Hemlock being one of our best selling species, and for good reason.

Hemlock timber is an exceptional choice in architecture, offering a beautifully light appearance and a distinct, consistent grain.

We have a wealth of knowledge around Hemlock timber and are more than happy to share our expertise with the world. We've put together a list of questions we're often asked (and some we're not often asked!) in the hopes of clearing up a few misconceptions and teaching the world about the exceptional timber species that is Hemlock.

Is Hemlock a strong contender for your next project?

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GENERAL

What is Hemlock wood?

Hemlock wood is a type of softwood that’s affordable, sustainable and great to work with. It is smooth in texture, soft and light in appearance and offers a consistent finish.

Where do Hemlock trees grow?

There are 10 species of Hemlock, 4 that are native to North America and 6 that are native to Asia. Hemlock timber is usually sourced from the mountains and coasts of Canada.

What is Hemlock timber used for?

Hemlock timber’s appearance and workability make it a popular choice for interior use. It is ideal for internal or out-of-weather application including ceilings, stairs, screening, panelling, feature walls, joinery, mouldings and retail fit-outs.

Why are Hemlock trees important?

Hemlock foliage is an important source of food, shelter and temperature regulation for many species of animals in North American forests. They are especially important for the eco-system in winter, when deciduous trees are dormant. Hemlock forests also provide a sheltered habitat for delicate plants.

The importance of Hemlock trees in forests is immeasurable. This ensures Hemlock timber is sustainably sourced, and that native forests are not under threat from harvesting.

All cedar Sales' timbers are sustainably sourced.

Which is stronger Hemlock or pine?

Hemlock wood is considered one of the hardest softwoods, making it popular for use in construction. It is considerably stronger than Pine wood.

Are Hemlock and spruce the same?

Eastern Hemlock is commonly referred to as Canada Hemlock or Hemlock Spruce. However, the Spruce tree, which can be categorised as Red, Colorado Blue, Black, White, Sitka or Englemann, is a different species to Hemlock. Both Hemlock and Spruce are softwoods, however Hemlock is a part of the Pine family. The trees’ needles, cones and bark can be used to tell the two apart.

Are Hemlock trees poisonous?

Hemlock trees are not poisonous. Hemlock plants, a herbaceous flowering plant native to Europe and North Africa, is poisonous. Hemlock lumber is produced from Hemlock trees, not the poisonous plant.

Are Hemlock trees poisonous to dogs?

Hemlock trees are non-toxic to dogs, cats, horses etc. As mentioned above, it is the Hemlock herbacious plant that is poisonous.

 

STRUCTURE / LIFE SPAN

Will termites eat Hemlock?

Unfortunately, Hemlock lumber is not resistant to termites. If you live in an area that’s prone to termites, it’s best to treat the wood before building to protect it against damage.

How long will Hemlock last?

Hemlock is an incredibly durable and resilient softwood that grows harder with age. Hemlock is resistant to wear, however should be treated to prevent natural decay. Hemlock timber can last a lifetime if maintained effectively.

Can Hemlock wood be stained?

Hemlock timber is popular for its workability, and accepts any stain, paint or clear finish. It’s an outstanding timber option for sanding, coating and varnishing, making it simple to achieve the perfect finish.

Are Hemlock trees deciduous or coniferous?

Hemlock is a coniferous tree. Coniferous trees can be identified by their leaves which resemble needles, and their production of cones rather than flowers. Deciduous are generally broad leaf trees that drop their leaves during cold weather, and produce new leaves when the temperature rises in Spring.

Are Hemlock trees endangered?

Softwoods, including Hemlock timber, grow quickly and can be sustainably farmed and harvested. Hemlock’s conservation status shows that the population is decreasing, however this is a result of parasites, not human intervention. Cedar Sales’ Hemlock wood is sustainably sourced, has a Green Star rating and a GreenTag Certification.

Can Hemlock be used outdoors?

Hemlock wood is not recommended for external use without prior treatment. It’s best used for interior applications including joinery, internal panelling, doors, window frames, mouldings, feature walls and screenings.

Are Hemlock trees evergreens?

Hemlock are evergreen trees that are members of the Pine family. As the name suggests, evergreen trees posses leaves that are green in every season throughout the whole year.

Are Hemlock trees fast growing?

Trees that produce softwood are faster growing than hardwood trees. As a result of the tree’s rapid growing nature, Hemlock timber is a sustainable and cost effective option.