The properties of pinewood material

Written by erik devaney
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Pinewood is a type of lumber that comes from coniferous trees in the genus Pinus, such as white pines, Southern pines and Ponderosa pines. Manufacturers and craftsmen use pinewood in a variety of applications, such as for mouldings (or trim), flooring and cabinetry. The material is also common for use in furniture items: especially tables, chairs, beds and dressers. While several properties of pinewood make it beneficial for such applications, the material also has its drawbacks.

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Colour

The heartwood--or inner, denser portions--of pine, which is the most common type of pinewood used in construction, tends to have a light colour. While white pine heartwood ranges from a light yellow to a light reddish-brown, Southern and Ponderosa pine heartwood is typically yellowish-brown. However, in the case of Ponderosa pine, the outer sapwood is also valued for its light yellow colour. The light colour of pinewood material is neutral and unobtrusive, which allows it to blend nicely with surrounding elements. Indoors, the material works well in rooms with wallpaper and coloured walls.

Strength and Durability

Despite being lightweight, pinewood is a structurally strong material, which is why it is popular among woodworkers and manufacturers. Some types of pinelike the popular white pine--are also resistant to shrinking, swelling, warping and cracking. While the sapwood from Ponderosa pine is particularly weak, it is resistant to humidity-induced swelling and movement. That is why people commonly use the material for projects that require close-fitting joints. However, despite its many benefits, pinewood material is not invincible. The surfaces are soft, so it is susceptible to scratches and dents.

Grain Pattern and Texture

The grain pattern of a wood refers to the configuration of its different growth layers, which appear as alternating lightly and darkly-coloured bands. Most pinewood material has a straight, uniform grain pattern, which means its coloured bands form nearly parallel lines as they run down the length of a post or board. While white pine and Ponderosa pine tend to have tight grain patterns, meaning their parallel bands are close together and more frequent, southern pine has a wide grain pattern, which means its bands are wider and appear less frequently. However, the sapwood of Ponderosa pine will often be knotty and feature several natural grain "blemishes" from where branches once grew. Also, while white pine and Ponderosa pine typically have smooth, clear surfaces; southern pine surfaces are generally rough.

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