With a general trend in France for decent sleeper grade oak finding its way to Chinese factories, we are seeing a serious shortage of decent timber from which to produce sleepers. Those arriving through our ports have been pretty poor quality recently and hence we haven’t imported any since February when we were fortunate enough to source some decent material. Whilst we can commission production from a higher grade oak, the costs are 27% higher and at this time we’ll only do this to special order. lightloads.je is instead importing Douglas Fir Sleepers.
Douglas Fir is the strongest of our homegrown softwoods. It can cope with heavy duty framing, groundworks, cladding and landscaping. Like Oak, there’s not a lot it can’t be used for externally, it is naturally durable and will fare better than other softwoods in the ground. Fresh sawn Douglas is good for structural work, cladding and external landscaping.
Our 3 metre sleepers are most likely the longest supplied locally and present excellent value:
Dry, Douglas Fir is a good all rounder; good for most joinery or furniture work – it’s at the high quality end of softwood joinery material. It’s superb for flooring, and excellent air dried for external cladding, it looks great with a machined profile because it has a nice machined surface, and it’s a mellow colour.
We continue to supply air dried 175mm x 15mm x 3m Douglas Fir cladding boards. Cladding in Douglas Fir is an inexpensive softwood alternative that is sourced from fast growing managed forests. It’s best used rough sawn (not planed). It has a light cream colour with red-brown heart wood. Like all timbers, over time it will turn a silvery grey colour. Colour treatment is best applied once dry. When fresh sawn, Douglas Fir will air dry by about 25-30% in the first 4 weeks.