Western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) is the most plentiful tree species on the coast of British Columbia. It is commonly sold and shipped together with amabilis fir under the name Hem-Fir (also often referred to as Hem-Bal). This species is used for general construction, roof decking and plywood, as well as for laminating stock and the production of glue-laminated and solid beams. Compared to other species, its strength and stiffness make it a preferred material for use in horizontal components and longer spans.
Western hemlock is the first choice for mouldings and interior woodworking and known for its excellent working properties. It is also widely used in joints, veneered interior paneling, furniture, doors, floors and windows. It is non-resinous and takes any stains or finishes extremely well. It sands smoothly, glues easily and has high nail and screw holding ability.
Hem-Fir is primarily available as structural lumber for North America, Japan and other export markets. In North America structural grades follow National Lumber Grades Authority (NLGA) rules, and Select Structural, #2 and better, and stud grades are the most common.