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Generally speaking, softwood lumber products originate from evergreen trees, or conifers. These trees tend to grow very quickly, and as a result, they are easy to replace after harvesting. This lessens the environmental impact on the manufacturing of this type of lumber.

Often used in construction and furniture making, softwoods like Pine or Douglas Fir tend to be prized both for their work-ability and their cost value. While most softwood trees are easier to work with than their hardwood counterparts, softwoods are not necessarily less dense than hardwoods. A common misconception is that hardwoods are denser, or harder than softwoods. This is not necessarily true. Douglas fir is one of the strongest woods, and it is a softwood. Softwoods don’t take stain or treatment very well as there are fewer cells to transport the coating deep into the wood. If you are going to paint Pine for instance, it is helpful to gain this material already primed and ready for the painting. Sterritt Lumber’s softwoods are among the company’s most heralded and purchased materials. We’d love to pass along their intrinsic value and machinability to our valued customers.

Western Red Cedar

Western Red Cedar boasts of two qualities that make it the perfect fit to satisfy your decking requirements: durability and ease of machining.

Properly finished and maintained, cedar will deliver decades of trouble-free use. Originating from a slow growing tree, cedar develops natural resistances to decay and the elements.  Because of this, you should have tremendous confidence in its long-lasting presence as your deck.  If your decking project calls for cedar to be exposed for prolonged periods to conditions where decay could be a factor, such as where the wood is in contact with the ground, cedar should be treated with proper wood preservatives.  Otherwise, this durable project will require little maintenance and establish a long life for your deck.

With its straight grain and uniform texture, Western Red Cedar is among the easiest and most rewarding woods to work with. It takes a fine finish in all hand and machine operations, takes fasteners without splitting, and is easily sawn and nailed.  When working with Western Red Cedar, sharp cutters are recommended.  However, unlike more exotic hardwoods, you won’t be splitting nails or requiring heavy machinery when utilizing this wonderfully durable product.

Because of these two factors and the natural beauty and elegance of this wood,  Western Red Cedar can be the ideal application for hundreds of decking projects!

Douglas/Vertical Grain Fir

A beautiful and stately wood, Douglas Fir has been the material of choice for many remodeling and home projects in this country for over a hundred years. Lightly colored and even possessing a slightly pink tone, this strong and versatile wood can be used for paneling, flooring, and dozens of other applications. This wood demonstrates its versatility as it excels both

for interior applications as well as exterior jobs. It is perfect for work done inside as its light appearance makes an aesthetically pleasing look, whether stained, painted, or left to its natural straight grain appearance. Designers appreciate the rich visual quality of vertical grain fir and enjoy its beautiful response to fine craftsmanship and finishing.  When sawn to expose its vertical grain, vertical grain fir decking is particularly attractive For exterior applications, Douglas Fir possesses many rot resistant qualities that enable the product to thrive for outside jobs. Substantial volumes of clear and nearly clear timber products are available in fir from the long-rotation commercial timberlands of the western region.

Floors and decks take an incredible beating and few species are suitable.  However, vertical grain fir decking will hold a finish, maintain its appearance, remain level, and resist cracking, scuffing or splintering under extreme wear.  Clear coatings, transparent lacquer, varnishes, oils, wax, bright or subdued stains, tints or paints and enamels are all appropriate finishes.

One unique feature of Sterritt Lumber’s Douglas Fir is that it has a “vertical grain” — this designation means that the grain of the wood is very straight and parallel with the next growth ring, which creates a quite uniform appearance and also makes the Fir less likely to twist or cup on the job.

Douglas Fir timberlands are the most productive softwood timberlands in the United States when it comes to volume per acre. More softwood lumber is produced in Oregon than in any other state due in large part to the predominance of Douglas Fir in its coastal forests. Known as the “timber basket,” the northwestern portions of the United States is governed by some of the world’s toughest environmental laws providing protection for habitat, watersheds, soils and biological diversity.  Reforestation and management practices are not voluntary, they are enforced by law.  This notion is very important to all of us at Sterritt Lumber!  

A Few Words About Its Structural Properties

As wood loses or gains moisture, it will shrink or swell until it reaches some uniformity with the changing level of moisture in the air of its immediate environment.   All lumber benefits from some degree of “seasoning,” (allowing it adjust to the humidity conditions of its surrounding atmosphere before it is installed).  Because of its unique cell structure, wood shrinks primarily in width and thickness and very little in length.  Douglas Fir is unique among all softwood species in that it is naturally dimensionally stable, having the ability to season well in position.  


When architects and engineers look for the best in structural lumber, their first choice repeatedly is Douglas Fir.  It is dimensionally stable and universally recognized for a superior strength-to-weight ratio.  It provides excellent nail and plate-holding ability.  The species also enjoys superior performance against strong forces resulting from natural occurrences such as winds, storms and earthquakes.  It is truly the ideal structural wood for framing lumber in residential, light commercial, multistory and industrial construction.

What About Appearance Grade Douglas Fir?

For versatility and beauty, few woods in the world match the magnificence of Douglas Fir.  Unlike the structural grades, appearance lumber is milled and graded according to aesthetic rather than structural performance criteria.  Grain pattern, texture, color, and knot size are some of the factors that influence the grade of Douglas Fir.

Douglas Fir’s light rosy color is set off by its remarkably straight and handsome grain pattern.  Douglas Fir is widely available in the appearance grades, and this species will “redden” over time when exposed to light.  Its tough fiber makes this species difficult to work with hand tools.  However, it reacts admirably to sharp power tools and machines to an exceptionally smooth, glossy surface.  Douglas Fir paints easily and can hold all types of stains and finishes.

For these reasons, we are very proud to stock this stately, versatile, and dynamic wood at Sterritt Lumber!  Many designers state the aesthetic appeal of clear, light, straight, vertical-grain Douglas Fir is unsurpassed among the world’s softwood species.  We happen to agree!  Whether you are looking for structural timber or an appearance grade lumber, let us handle your diverse Douglas Fir requirements!

The Many Benefits Of Stately Douglas Fir!
Douglas Fir is North America’s most plentiful softwood species, accounting for one fifth of the continent’s total softwood reserves. Because of its versatility, It also accounts for an equal amount of uses in the building materials industry!
Douglas Fir Gutter

New England is such a prime region for history, restoration, and renovation, Sterritt Lumber is proud to stock a variety of Douglas Fir Gutter!

This important aspect of the exterior of homes, businesses, and churches may remind one of a bygone era where distinguished and unique structures dotted the landscapes of the Northeast.  However, it also may remind homeowners and contractors alike of the virtues of value, strength, and durability.  These are some of the qualities that Sterritt Lumber embraces, so we are proud to stock this product that has been traditionally a staple of our business for decades.

Why Fir Gutter?

Pound for pound, Douglas Fir is one of the strongest western softwoods.  This wood is used in the manufacturing of more products than any other lumber species available.  Reliable, workable, and durable, this wood brings out the very best in your projects. Douglas Fir has an enviable performance record. The species has earned respect from industrial users because when it comes to high performance demands and extreme stress conditions, Douglas Fir surpasses all expectations. With its tough, durable fiber, high strength in relation to its weight and dense grain structure, Douglas Fir is a natural choice for industrial and re-manufacturing uses.  Rigorous conditions, especially those present in New England, call for a material with a very long installation life.  Although somewhat expensive to install, wood gutters, when properly cared for, outlast many other types of gutters.  Fir is known to last up to 50 years with proper maintenance.  So why not use this marvelous wood to help protect your valuable (and maybe even historic) home or structure against the elements?

Sterritt Lumber’s Fir Gutter

Douglas Fir timbers are best known for their tough fiber, dense grain structure and strength.  They are additionally valuable for their rustic beauty and excellent fire ratings in building codes.  By extension, so too do Douglas Fir Gutters display these very same qualities.  At Sterritt Lumber, we stock this gutter in the following dimensions:

  • 3″ x 4″

  • 4″ x 5″

  • 4″ x 6″

In addition, you can order even lengths often up to 40 feet!  All of our Douglas Fir Gutter is available at our Arlington St location.  Because of this, you can even come by and choose the particular piece that works best for you in terms of beauty, length, and grain.  We primarily supply the Boston pattern due to its demand, but we have the capabilities to source others such as the Ohio, Philadelphia and many more patterns.  Please contact one of our professionals today for tips on installation and how to get the longest life from your fir gutter!

An Installation Tip

Many contractors assert that there should be a slight pitch in the gutter when it is installed.  However, our friends at Custom Carpentry in Massachusetts have found this to be more troublesome.  Over pitched gutters hold less water and overflow at the low ends during moderate to heavy rains.  Forcing water to the leaders faster than they can drain may not be productive.  Moving debris in gutters to the leaders creates unwanted blockage.  Pitched gutters hold less water too.   Adding more water to an over pitched gutter just causes it to overflow at the low end.  A dead level gutter will drain because the surface tension of water will keep the flow toward the leader going. The small amount of water remaining after the rain stops will merely evaporate.


Sterritt Lumber stocks multiple types of pine for all your applications, from framing to interior trim, we are sure to have exactly what you need.

Grading Pine Lumber

In grading pine lumber, many things are taken into account.  Here are the basics of this practice so that you can make the right choice for your job:

Select Grades

  • The select class of pine as defined by the North Eastern Lumber Manufacturers Association contains grades defined as C and D. Grade C is the highest grade of pine lumber and is commonly used for fine woodworking and interior trim. Select D grade pine lumber is not as fine in appearance as grade C but maintains a similar level of structural quality. The minimum requirements for Select C grade only allow for a single half-inch knot per 4 feet of surface area. Select D grade allows one tight half-inch knot for every foot of surface area.


Common Grades

  • There are four grades of pine lumber that fall under the common class. They are the premium, finish, standard and industrial classes. The finish grade is defined as a board with a fine appearance and tight knots. Premium grade is similar to the finish grade but encompasses boards with larger knots. Standard grade is used mainly for construction where a less finished board is acceptable. Industrial grade is the lowest grade. It allows boards with knots and other characteristics of any size as long as the board remains structurally sound. These grades of lumber allow for larger and more frequent knots than the select grades and a generally rougher grain of wood.


Appearance Grades

  • Appearance grade pine lumber uses lumber from the standard grade but applies additional restrictions as to the features allowed in the board. Appearance grade boards generally come from the higher end of standard graded boards. This type of board is used mainly for construction purposes and allows larger knots than the finer grades of pine lumber. This grade permits knots up to two-thirds the width of the board depending on the type of knot. It also allows for splits up to twice the width of the board but less than one-sixth its length. Appearance grade lumber exceeds these requirements, but boards may vary depending on the particular requirements they exceed.


Construction Grade

  • Construction grade boards are simply the pine boards from the standard grade that do not make the cut to be designated as appearance grade. All pieces in this category must meet the minimum requirements for standard grade lumber. These requirements include limiting the size and frequency of wormholes to one medium hole allowed per 2 linear feet. Construction grade pine boards do not limit the level of machine burn on boards and have the least stringent requirements for incipient and advanced decay. The construction grade limit knots from two-thirds to one-half the width of the board, depending on the type. Unlike appearance grade pine lumber, construction grade pine lumber is unlikely to exceed its minimum requirements.


Stud Grade

  • The stud grade of pine lumber is a general-purpose categorization for lumber that is used in vertical load-bearing capacities. Stud grade lumber is rated from Grades 1 to 5. Each grade of stud lumber typically falls under one of the other grades of lumber as well. Stud grade pine lumber is defined by restrictions on the qualities in the wood that affect its strength and structural qualities. Stud grade lumber heavily restricts the amount of warp as well as the size and frequency of splits, holes and knots in pine boards used as studs.  Sterritt Lumber’s studs are of a premium grade.  This prevents warping, twisting, and wasted product within your lift.

Have you ever wondered what type of material a wooden roller coaster is made of?  There are few dense and durable materials that could handle the stress of a speeding roller coaster— Southern Yellow Pine happens to be the choice of this application as well as dozens of others.

Industry experts agree that Southern Yellow Pine’s density makes it an incredible strong softwood. That strength

Southern Yellow Pine

means it’s possesses ideal load-bearing capacity and high fastener-holding ability. Couple that with it's abundance (which keeps its cost low), and it is easy to see how Sterritt Lumber’s wide selection of Southern Yellow Pine can tackle applications where beauty, durability, and strength are valued.

Southern Yellow Pine performs well in both impact bending and surface hardness, making it also ideal for applications such as doors, windows and other mouldings.  Its superior machinability, aesthetic appeal, competitive cost and wide availability make it a intelligent choice for dozens of applications that include flooring, paneling, and rustic looks.  Left natural or stained, Southern Yellow Pine’s grain pattern and golden color provides visual interest and a high quality look.

Southern Yellow Pine is plentifully grown across the southern United States, making access and availability to this superior product widespread.  Southern Yellow Pine thrives in the red clay soil of the South.  Because it’s grown in the US you can feel good about supporting an American product that’s more environmentally friendly and better for local economies.

Eastern White Pine

Lightweight, soft, even-textured and easily machinable, Sterritt Lumber’s Eastern White Pine is the least resinous of all pines. It does not swell or shrink greatly due to the elements, and it possesses incredible durability.

It is one of the most workable and builder-friendly materials on the market. Because of these characteristics, Eastern White Pine is appropriate for mouldings, pine paneling, exterior millwork, furniture, and boards for boxes, crates, coffins, boats, woodenware, and novelties. In fact, this versatile material has often been called “God’s gift to the woodworker” due to its many possible applications. In addition, most grades of pine take to stain and paint well. That is a unique quality among softwoods.

Sterritt Lumber offers a wide variety of pine products and grades for many applications:


Clear Pine

Sterritt Lumber’s Clear Pine is a very high quality material absent of knots and possessing a straight and even grain. It is perfect for cabinetry, furniture, and trim. We stock this valued product in 1″x4″, 1″x6″, 1″x8″, 1″x10″, and 1″x12″ in random and multiple lengths.

Primed Pine

Our primed pine is pre treated with two coats high quality coating that produces a consistent finish throughout the product. In addition, any knots are sealed to prevent bleeding. Because of this, Sterritt Lumber’s primed pine absorbs paint exceptionally well and is a beautiful option for stately trim projects.

Common Pine

Showing off its versatility, Eastern White Pine demonstrates a “workmanlike” quality in a variety of applications. It can be used to produce a rustic look for siding or furniture, but it also is perfect for rough framing applications like blocking and temporary stair treads.

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