White Pine Lumber Characteristics

Written by brenda priddy
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White Pine Lumber Characteristics
White pine is typically cream or tan coloured. (pine wood background image by stefanie van der vinden from Fotolia.com)

White pine is a type of pine wood that has a lighter colour than other kinds of pine wood. White pine is somewhat of a misnomer, as the wood is rarely white and is often much darker. White pine has many characteristics that make it an ideal wood for many different uses. Because white pine is grown throughout the United States, it is also an inexpensive wood choice.


White pine is easy to identify because it is one of the lightest colours of pine wood available for use anywhere. The pine starts out as a pale straw colour when freshly cut, but will gradually darken to a honey colour if not sealed right away. The wood may also appear as a tan or cream, and the heartwood may have a reddish tint to it. The wood is largely knot-free and it has a varied grain that can be tight or loose, sometimes on the same piece of wood.


White pine is considered a soft wood, but not soft enough to cause problems for building or woodworking. The wood is also very lightweight, which makes it easier to transport and makes it an ideal floor wood. White pine is produced in many different lengths and thicknesses, which makes it easy to use in nearly any project. However, the wood is too soft for use in projects that will see hard usage, such as in exterior siding or tabletops.


The wood is used for a variety of different applications. One of the most common places to see white pine used is in woodworking. The softness and flexibility of the wood makes it easy to carve into nearly any shape. White pine is also used for flooring, furniture, mouldings, panelling and milling.


There are many benefits to using white pine wood instead of another kind of wood. White pine comes in many different sizes and shapes, which makes it easy to find the right fit for almost any project. White pine is also soft and easy to work with. Even though the wood is soft, it has a lifespan of at least 20 years, which makes it a durable wood as well. The lightweight characteristics of the wood also make it ideal for making furniture that is easy to move from one place to another.


There are some drawbacks to white pine. Since it is soft, white pine chips, scratches and dents easily. The light colour of the wood is also somewhat difficult to stain without blotching or changing the colour of the stain. White pine is also not as long lasting as some hardwoods, such as oak.

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