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