VFS tries to tailor our product line to the needs of the forest. What that means is that we produce material from logs that the forest most needs removed for its natural (successional) progress over time and its overall health. Forests are not static, but dynamic with one species following another, competing for light and water, one species overcoming another that succumbs to age or disease and decays into the forest floor. We try to work with nature. Where there are overcrowded stands of Douglas-fir we mill a lot of fir lumber. Where there is a stand of alder that is reaching maturity and beginning to decay we take advantage of this opportunity by harvesting the alder before it rots and then replant the area with western red cedar or other native species as part of good forest stewardship.
We do not harvest old growth trees and we very seldom cut down western red cedars, both of which produce lumber that tends to weather well outdoors. Vashon Island does have a lot of overcrowded Douglas-fir stands. Douglas-fir has a high tensile strength so works well for structural framing - such as the timber-framed picnic shelter in Island Center Forest. We have also used fir outdoors for siding: both board and batten and drop siding - a historical profile used widely on the island in the past for barns and buildings - such as the Minglement and Fuller stores around Center and the Blue Heron building just down the road. We have milled fir decking material, though it needs to be treated to help protect it from the weather. VFS milled the fir decking for the outside dining deck at the Hardware Store Restaurant whcih was installed in 2005 and remains in good condition today, ten years later. VFS has produced fir lumber which has been used for window frames, doors, gates, fencing, walkway covers, trellises, benches, bridges and garden boxes. The woods potential service is largely dictated by the age and quality of the wood and the builders skill and imagination.