The fir tree (Abies alba) is native to central and southern Europe and is most common in the mountainous forests of the alps and mow mountainous ranges. It is forested outside its natural terrain in flatlands. The fir tree can often be found in parks and gardens.
The fir species belong to the pine family (Pinaceae). 40-50 different species exist in the Northern hemisphere. A further variant is the Nordmann fir which is primarily used as a decorative tree and comes from Turkey and the Caucasus.
The spread of the fir tree grows very slowly in comparison to height. They can grow for up to 150 years reaching a height of 50m and over 600 years of age.
Fir trees have a similar white to whitish-grey heart and sapwood, sometimes reddish-white or yellowish-white. The growth rings are easily discernable. Longitudinal cuts show stripes (radial cut) or grain (cross cut). In contrast to spruce, pine or larch, the fir does not have sap channels.
Fir tree wood is soft and light. It is elastic and flexible. It is less susceptible to shrinkage and when dried is strong and stable. Its natural durability is limited. Both sapwood (good) and heartwood (adequate) can however be waterproofed.
The wood from fir and spruce are comparable. The lack of sap and the ability to easily split fir is an advantage of fir, the easier working and light shimmer of spruce wood is an advantage of spruce wood. Very often both types of wood are sold or worked together.
Fir can be dried effectively and does not crack or warp considerably. It can be worked with more or less all tools and machinery. It can be split easily.
Round and sawn timber as well as sliced or peeled veneer is available on the market. Sawn timber is often sold together with spruce.
Other names: white fir, silver fir
- Building and construction
- Poles and masts
- Composite wood products and for the manufacture of paper
- Soil and hydraulic engineering