Does hemlock get harder with age? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 08-06-2014, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Does hemlock get harder with age?

I'm constructing a workshed. The cheapest framing material I can get is hemlock 2x4s. However, I've heard that with age, it's difficult to put nails in it and such.

Don't know much about this. Does anyone here have experience with this type of wood? Is this true?
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post #2 of 7 Old 08-06-2014, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Såte
I'm constructing a workshed. The cheapest framing material I can get is hemlock 2x4s. However, I've heard that with age, it's difficult to put nails in it and such.

Don't know much about this. Does anyone here have experience with this type of wood? Is this true?
I believe it is true. So get a nail gun. :)

Al


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post #3 of 7 Old 08-06-2014, 11:33 PM
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Hemlock is used when green, I've used a lot of it over the years. In the summer, you may get splashed as you sink a spike. In the winter, it's frozen. You take a sledge hammer to the lumber yard to break pieces loose from the pile. It has a tendency to split or check and twist as it dries out. Best practice is to get it nailed up, with sheathing and blocking when needed, when the lumber is green. Hopefully, this will help to keep it from warping too much. You still need to be selective with your studs and cut up the warped ones for smaller pieces. When dry, the best nail guns will have trouble with hemlock. Since it's normally full of knotty areas, it can feel as hard as dry red oak.

Hemlock isn't a choice most house builders would make but it's fine for garages, garden sheds and utility structures. It can be inconsistent in size, some 2x4s being wider or thicker than others, sometimes more than 1/8". Along with warping as it dries, it's not a good frame for sheetrock or plaster interior walls since the plane of the wall frame may be wavy.

It's used a lot in larger sizes, beams, cribbing, etc. Commonly used for timberframes in my area. More stable in large sizes but pretty heavy, especially when green but not a lot less when dry. I remember framing houses with hemlock years ago for a contractor that was a penny pincher. He paid for it later. Standing on a second story top plate, pulling up 2x12x18' hemlock rafters, frozen and weighing almost as much as me. Best upper body workout you'll get. Just mentioning hemlock brings that sweet, musty smell of the wet sawdust to memory.
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post #4 of 7 Old 08-07-2014, 03:13 AM
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Sometimes cheaper isn't always better. The problems I have personally heard about working with hemlock, most listed by others above, would make it unsuitable in my eyes. Spruce and fir framing grade is still pretty cheap, and stronger if memory serves

Edit: memory doesn't serve. Just checked the data sheets, hemlock is stronger in a majority of categories, though spruce and for win in flexibility. Still, given the workability issues is still go with spruce or fur unless hemlock is significantly cheaper, i.e %25 or more

Last edited by epicfail48; 08-07-2014 at 03:19 AM. Reason: fact checking
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post #5 of 7 Old 08-07-2014, 04:54 AM Thread Starter
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At my local lumber yard Hemlock is $0.36 a foot and Douglas-Fir is $0.48 a foot for 2x4s. That means a Douglas-Fir 8ft 2x4 is $3.84 and a Hemlock 2x4 is $2.88. Definitely a notable difference.

I wasn't going to use a nail gun because I don't own one and I do not plan on constructing another building anytime soon. Would a hammer work fine?

Also, another concern of mine is that I wont be able to nail or screw anything into the wall studs. Should I be concerned?
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post #6 of 7 Old 08-07-2014, 05:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Såte View Post
At my local lumber yard Hemlock is $0.36 a foot and Douglas-Fir is $0.48 a foot for 2x4s. That means a Douglas-Fir 8ft 2x4 is $3.84 and a Hemlock 2x4 is $2.88. Definitely a notable difference.

I wasn't going to use a nail gun because I don't own one and I do not plan on constructing another building anytime soon. Would a hammer work fine?

Also, another concern of mine is that I wont be able to nail or screw anything into the wall studs. Should I be concerned?
You can drill pilot holes and install screws into the studs.






.
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post #7 of 7 Old 08-07-2014, 08:22 AM Thread Starter
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You can drill pilot holes and install screws into the studs.






.
Are you talking about that last part about of what I posted (I meant nailing and screwing things into the wall post-construction)? Or do you mean using screws to assemble the wall?
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