Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

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Common Name(s): Eastern Hemlock, Canadian Hemlock

Scientific Name: Tsuga canadensis

Distribution: Eastern North America

Tree Size: 65-100 ft (30 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 28 lbs/ft3 (450 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .36, .45

Janka Hardness: 500 lbf (2,220 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 8,900 lbf/in2 (61.4 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,200,000 lbf/in2 (8.28 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 5,410 lbf/in2 (37.3 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 3.0%, Tangential: 6.8%, Volumetric: 9.7%, T/R Ratio: 2.3

Color/Appearance: Heartwood is light reddish brown. Sapwood may be slightly lighter in color but usually isn’t distinguished from the heartwood. The conspicuous growth rings can exhibit interesting grain patterns on flatsawn surfaces.

Grain/Texture: Grain is generally straight, but may be interlocked or spiraled. Has a coarse, uneven texture.

Endgrain: Resin canals absent; earlywood to latewood transition ranges from moderately abrupt to gradual, color contrast fairly high; tracheid diameter medium-large.

Rot Resistance: Rated as non-durable regarding decay resistance, and also susceptible to insect attack.

Workability: Working properties are intermediate. The wood tends to splinter easily when being worked,  and tends to plane poorly. Also, because of the disparity between the soft earlywood and the hard latewood, sanding can create dips and uneven surfaces. Glues, stains, and finishes well.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity: Eastern Hemlock has been reported to cause skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Eastern Hemlock is one of the two primary commercial species of hemlock harvested in North America—with the other being Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla). Hemlock is used primarily as a construction timber, and is in good supply. Expect prices to be moderate for a domestic softwood.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses: Boxes, pallets, crates, plywood, framing, and other construction purposes.

Comments: In addition to its lumber, Eastern Hemlock is also known for its ornamental value, and hundreds of cultivars are known to exist. Eastern Hemlock is also the state tree of Pennsylvania. Currently, the species is threatened by the hemlock woolly adelgid, a non-native insect that kills infested trees.

When compared to Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), Eastern Hemlock generally has wider growth rings, though both species can have tightly spaced growth rings.

Related Species:

Related Articles:

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Scans/Pictures:

Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Eastern Hemlock (sanded)

Eastern Hemlock (sealed)

Eastern Hemlock (sealed)

Eastern Hemlock (endgrain)

Eastern Hemlock (endgrain)

Eastern Hemlock (endgrain 10x)

Eastern Hemlock (endgrain 10x)