Hemlock Western
Tsuga heterophylla (Pinaceae)

Tsuga heterophylla (Pinaceae) wood colour
Tsuga heterophylla (Pinaceae) wood grain

Moderately Durable

Very Workable

Price Rating:

500 kg/m3

Typical Tree Height:

Trunk Diameter:

Width Ranges:


Hemlock | Alaska Pine | Tsuga heterophylla

Western Hemlock wood - The Hemlock Western sapwood is typically 75-125mm thick and challenging to differentiate from the heartwood, which is creamy-brown to pale yellowish-brown. Hemlock Western latewood areas are darker and frequently tinged with a roseate, purplish or red-brown colour, producing a well-defined growth-ring figure on plain sawn surfaces. Dark streaks, known as 'bird pecks' but caused by maggots, are frequently present. The grain is commonly straight and even, with a medium to fine texture. Western hemlock can be confused with Amabilis Fir (Abides amabilis) , which is very similar. In the UK Hemlock is often used as economical stair parts Western Hemlock is a versatile timber. Hemlock can be used for construction, joinery, mouldings and much more. If currently available (from sustainable and legal sources) you can use our system to be connected with suppliers of Western Hemlock.
Hemlock Western on the wood database Further reading on Hemlock Western timber:
If you would like to read a full profile specification on Hemlock Western timber, please visit our sister site, Any One wood, The online wood reference database.

Material Type:

Also Called:
Pacific Hemlock, Hemlock Spruce, Alaska Pine, British Columbian Hemlock, West Coast Hemlock

Durability Notes:
The Hemlock Western heartwood has little natural resistance to decay and insects, and is moderately challenging to treat with preservatives. The sapwood is permeable. Normally used internally for stair parts.

The drying and seasoning of Hemlock Western is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Hemlock Western - The wood dries slowly, but seasons well. Shakes, uneven moisture content, iron stains and warping can occur. There can be fine surface checking when it is kiln-dried. There is little movement in service. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.

Hemlock has low hardness and stiffness and medium bending and compressive strength. The wood has similar mechanical qualities to Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) but with a straighter, tighter grain. Hemlock works well with both machine and hand tools. Western Hemlock planes, turns, screws, glues, stains and varnishes well. There is little dulling effect on cutting edges. Pre-drilling is advised for nailing near the ends of boards.

Typical Uses:
Construction, Furniture-Making, Cabinetry, Carpentry, Flooring, Decorative Woodwork, Millwork, Crafts, Musical Instruments.

Moisture Content:
Guide - 12-18% for KD

Possible Health Risks:
Bronchial problems, rhinitis, dermatitis, eczema and possibly nasal cancer.

Sustainable and well managed


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