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We create master-quality timber for the finest homes using only the most beautiful natural materials.





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What is Free of Heart Center Timber?

We get the question all the time when educating our customers on the best lumber choice for their project. In short, free of heart center is timber that is sawn to exclude the heart center of the tree (the growth rings at the center of the tree) and is best suited for those who are interested in stable, straight and strong timber.


Our goal as high-quality timber suppliers is to produce the most stable, functional, attractive, and long-lasting timbers. Free of Heart Center lumber meets these requirements.

If you want to achieve that aesthetically pleasing look without the cracks and twists in the wood, then Free of Heart Center is how you do it.

Free of Heart Center or FOHC is the most important lumber grading specification for producing exquisite timbers.

A lot of people might not know what Free of Heart Center is and how it’s different from boxed heart timber. This post is going to explain the differences between boxed heart and free of heart center wood and why someone would prefer FOHC over boxed heart.  

What does Free of Heart Center mean?

Free of Heart material is sawn to exclude the heart center of the tree (the growth rings at the center of the tree) and is best suited for those who are interested in stable, straight, and strong timber. By excluding the heart center of the tree, the stresses on the wood cells are significantly reduced through the natural drying process. The result is a more stable material, resistant to twisting and checking. These undesirable characteristics are prevalent in boxed heart materials as the growth rings are stressed as they dry until they open up at some point creating a “season check”. Season checks are typically an aesthetic issue that some customers choose to avoid. 

Check out this video for more information!

Look at the contrast between Boxed Heart and Free of Heart options.


You can see the season checks (cracks) always lead straight back to the heart center of the tree. Any checks in the FOHC material would be minimal, hairline checks and due to the reduced stresses, the timber remains straight and stable over time.

What type of FOHC wood is the best bang for your buck? #1 & Better Douglas Fir FOHC. It scores the highest on the Strength Grade. 

At Reliance Timber, we stock #1 & Better Douglas Fir FOHC. Doug Fir FOHC provides the absolute most stable and strong timber nature has made possible. With this, you can construct extremely strong and stunningly beautiful homes, pavilions, and sheds. 

Discover the Beauty of Fine-crafted Timber

Reliance Timber is nestled in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. We cater to the log home, timber frame home, and conventional home industries, shipping our product throughout North America as well as Internationally.

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