Pine can be found everywhere in the world except the arctic circle. It is one of the most abundant and harvested species of wood, and is used for everything from firewood to finely crafted organ pipes.
The two main classes of pine wood are white and yellow pine. White pine can be identified by the needles. All pine trees with five needles in a bunch are considered white pine. White pine is a very durable wood that is known for not warping, splitting or cracking. With pale white to light yellow coloring and smooth grain it takes stain well and is a popular choice for construction, boat decking and piano keys.
Yellow pine has two to three needles in the bunches or clusters you find at the tip of each branch. It is medium-yellow to brown in color, extremely knotty and warps badly. The lumber from yellow pine is stronger than that of white pine, making it desirable for making posts and fencing poles. The knotty wood is used in wood flooring for its beauty. Cutting it into thin strips nearly eliminates the warping. Yellow pine is a pitch-forming tree, meaning it produces a high amount of sap.
Pitch was a mainstay in the homes of the early pioneers and is still the base of many products, such as turpentine. It also is the main ingredient in products like Pine Sol and pine tar medicated shampoo. Pitch burns easily but slowly, making it ideal for starting and maintaining a fire.
Pine takes stain and paint easily. The smooth grain and texture absorbs finishes quickly and holds onto them better than most other wood. Pine is a soft wood, making it easy to cut and shape. Its softness, durability and beauty make it a favorite among furniture craftsmen. Pine can last for many years without the need to be refinished.
Pine commands above-average prices because it takes chemical treatment well. Every part of the pine tree can be utilized. Lumber is sawed from the trunk while the smaller limbs are sliced into decorative cuts and firewood. The needles are used in natural deodorizers and Indian flour can be made from the bark.
- J. Durham