Pine Wood Properties | Types of Pine Trees and Uses

Pine Wood Properties | Types of Pine Trees and Uses
Pine wood properties

Introductions

Pine(Pinus)  belongs to the family of trees known as conifers. Conifers are a group of cone-bearing seed plants. The leaves of pine are thin and have a needle-like appearance. It is usually found in a variety of locations in Northern, Central, and Eastern Europe. 

Pine trees are evergreen. Pine would be considered softwood. That means it is softer than hardwood. But this does not mean that it is weaker than hardwood. Pines are long-lived, They typically reach ages of 100–1,000 years, depending on their location and atmosphere.

There are more than 126 classified species of pine. Almost all species of pine are close to each other. They slightly differ in properties of color, hardness, workability, and rot resistance. They are used based on their properties.

Pine Wood is known for its availability, durability, workability as well as great appearance look. Its sapwood is yellowish-white to reddish-white, the heartwood is reddish-brown in color.

#Pine Wood
Scientific namePinus
ColorYellowish or Whitish to Reddish-Brown
Height3–80 m (10–260 ft) tall
TypeSoftwood
WorkabilityGood workability with both hand and machine tools.
FinishingGood finishing qualities
AvailabilityIt is easily available in many regions
DurabilityGood durability for interior applications and overall good for exterior applications
Uses of PineFurniture, window frames, paneling, floors, and roofing
Pine wood properties

Pine Wood Uses

Pine wood uses
The Pine uses | Image by ErikaWittlieb from Pixabay

1. Furniture

Pine Wood can be a great choice for furniture projects. It is known for stiffness and resistance to shock even after softwood. Many cabinetmakers prefer to use knotty pine wood and plywood. Although It can be a bit expensive compared to Plywood.

Hardness, color, shock-resistant, and grain are essential properties for better furniture. All these properties are found in the wood of pines. However, some pines species are not considered suitable for furniture. But mostly pines are suitable.

2. Moldings and Trim

Being a pine softwood, it is very easy to work with. Therefore it is considered suitable for window and door frames, baseboards, cabinet trim, chair rail, and picture frame.

It is very important to have great workability of wood for moldings and trimming. Because small hand tools and machinery are used for this. Which is usually a little hard to do with other hardwood.

3. Flooring and Decking 

Generally, most people prefer to use hardwood for flooring. But pressure-treated pine wood can also be an affordable option. If it is taken care of regularly, then its lifespan can be around 15 years or more.

The decking is constantly exposed to weather and soil. In this case, it is also very important to have wood rot and decay resistance. Pines do not have very good insect- or decay-resistant qualities after logging. So pressure-treated pine is a better choice for outdoor wooden projects.

Pressure-treated pine has many benefits, such it becomes more moisture resistant, fungal resistance, insect resistance, Fire resistance, and more Durability. However, its price is slightly higher than normal pine. But it is less than other hardwoods.

4. Ornamental and food

Many dwarfs and beautiful pine species are available. Which are used as ornamental trees in parks and larger gardens. Pines are also commercially grown and harvested for Christmas trees in many countries.

Some species of pine trees give a large number of seeds which are called “pine nuts”. It is available in the market for cooking and baking.

Pine Wood Advantages and Disadvantages

Pine Wood Advantages

1. Light Weight

Light-weight wood has good workability properties. It can be easily moved from one place to another and it can be easily worked with it at high altitudes. 

If we talk about Eastern White Pine, it weighs about 25 lbs / ft3 (400 kg / m3) and weighs Southern yellow pine about 41 lbs / ft3 (650 kg / m3). Which is less than many other softwoods and hardwoods.

2. Great Workability

Many woodworkers love pine due to its great workability. Because its projects get finished very quickly. It is easy to work with both hand and machine tools. Glues and finishes well.

If you work with pine, there is no need for pre-drilling to apply nails and screws. Which saves a lot of time in a big project. Many carpenters say that while working on hardwood, many times the blades have to be changed, which causes a lot of time to be lost.

3. Durability

Many people think that softwood is less durable than hardwood. But this is not 100% correct. Being softwood and hardwood of any wood, you can not estimate its durability.

Pine Wood is a good durable one, but it also depends on its usage. Pine Wood is not suitable for outdoor uses. But even then if you want to use pine for outdoor applications, because of its other great quality, always choose pressure-treated pine.

4. Attractive Grain

Pine is light in color with medium texture and closed grain. Due to the light color, it is easier for the stain to get any color you want. It gets darker over time.

5. Price

Pine is inexpensive. It is available at a lower price in the market than many other softwoods and hardwoods. There are many reasons for the low price of wood, such as high availability, fast growth.  Due to this, the cost of transportation is not high. While the price of exporting other rare wood from one country to another country increases.

6. Availability

Mainly it is found in northern, central, and eastern Europe, but many species of trees are grown in many other places. Red pine and the Australian pine is a fast-growing tree, the growth rate is about 1-2 feet per year. So that their needs can be easily met.

Pine Wood Disadvantages

1. Scratches and Dents

After all, pine is softwood, So it also has some drawbacks of softwood, such that it easily scratches and dents. While this problem is less in hardwood.

There are many reasons for having Scratches and Dents. But the main reason is low hardness, the hardness of the wood of the pines is not very much. Such as Eastern white pine has 380 lbf (1,690 N) and Southern yellow pine has 870 lbf (4,120 N) Janka hardness. Which is very not enough to withstand dents and scratches.

2. Defects

Most of the wood in the pines is defective because it is easy to rot. High to medium-grade wood is better for furniture use, High grade is considered better for flooring and exterior applications. For which you have to pay more.

3. Required maintenance and care

Pine Wood requires regular care. It cannot withstand moisture for a long time. It starts warping and cracking when it is constantly sunning. If any part is getting rotten, remove it immediately and require oil and wax regularly, Always use warm water for cleaning.

Types of Pine Trees

Types of pine trees
Types of Pine Trees | Image by jplenio from Pixabay

1.White Pine (Pinus Strobus)

White Pine is native to eastern North America. It grows well in well-drained or sandy soils. White pine is the most common pine species. It has low density, fine texture, and even grain. Eastern White Pine has 380 lbf (1,690 N) and western white pine has 420 lbf (1,870 N) Janka Hardness. Therefore its has not good density.

Their trees are 65–150 ft tall and trunk diameter is 2–5 ft. It is much preferred due to its light brown color and grain pattern. It is mostly used for furniture, lumber, boat building, millwork, furniture, and interior projects.

2. Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra)

Austrian pine occurring across Southern Mediterranean Europe and Asia Minor. Their trees are about 20–55 meters (66–180 ft) tall. The cone fruits come in May and June month and the cone is 5–11 cm long. 

Its wood color is pale yellow to light reddish-brown. Austrian Pine has 660 lbf (2,920 N) Janka Hardness. It is widely used for paper (pulpwood), boxes/crates, and construction lumber.

3. Caribbean Pine (Pinus Caribaea)

Caribbean pine is native to Central America, Cuba, the Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Their trees are about 65–100 ft (20–30 m) tall and 2-3 ft (.6–1 m) trunk diameter. Its Janka hardness is 1,110 lbf (4,920 N). which is twice that of the Austrian Pine. It is used in paper (pulpwood), veneer, plywood, flooring, and construction lumber.

4. Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana)

Jack Pine is native to Canada and the northern United States. It grows about 9–22 m (30–72 ft) in height and 1-2 ft (.3-.6m) trunk diameter. It is yellowish-white and orangish brown. 

Jack Pine has Straight grained with a medium texture and great workability. Generally, it is used for Paper (pulpwood), boxes/crates, pallets, poles, and construction lumber.

5. Jeffrey Pine (Pinus jeffreyi)

Jeffrey Pine, also known as yellow pine and black pine is native to California and northern Mexico. Its tree is 25 to 40 m (82 to 131 ft) tall and trunk diameter 2-4 ft (.6-1.2 m). 

It has Straight grained with a medium texture. Its color ranges from yellowish-white to reddish-brown. It is used for veneer, plywood, sheathing, subflooring, boxes, crates, interior trim, cabinetry, and construction lumber.

6. Khasi Pine (Pinus kesiya)

Khasi pain is found almost all over Asia. Its tree is 100–130 ft (30–40 m) tall, 3–4 ft (1–1.2 m) trunk diameter. Its wood color is reddish-brown to pale yellow. It is used for Paper (pulpwood), boxes/crates, furniture, and construction lumber.

7. Limber Pine (Pinus flexilis)

Limber pine is native to mountains of the Western United States, Mexico, and Canada. Its tree is about 20-25 meters (65-80 ft) tall. Limber wood color ranges from pale yellow to light brown. Its color becomes dark brown with age.

It is used for fuelwood, boxes, and rough construction. It is not considered suitable for furniture. Because it is very soft (430 lbf (1,910 N) Janka Hardness) and light in weight (28 lbs / ft3 (450 kg / m3)).

8. Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda)

Loblolly is native to the Southeastern United States. It has a tree length of about 100–115 ft (30–35 m) and a trunk diameter of 1.5–5 ft (.4–1.5 m). This pine species is found mostly in lowlands and swampy areas. Loblolly tree size is 30–35 m (98–115 ft) tall, 1.5-5 ft (.4-1.5 m) trunk diameter. 

Its heartwood is reddish-brown to yellowish white and grain is straight with a uniform texture. It is a versatile wood that is used for roof trusses, poles, joists, piles, and many more applications.

9. Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta)

Lodgepole pine is found mostly in western North America. The other name of Pinus contorta is Shore Pine. This tree grows to a height of 40 to 50 m (130 to 160 ft) and a trunk diameter of .3 – .6 m (1–2 ft ). 

Its wood is reddish / yellowish-brown and is used for veneer, plywood, sheathing, subflooring, boxes, crates, posts/poles, interior trim, cabinetry, and construction lumber.

10. Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris)

Longleaf pine is native to the Southeastern United States. It reaches a height of 100-115 ft (30-35 m) tall and a diameter of 2-3 ft (.6-1 m). Its wood color varies from reddish-brown to yellowish-white. Its Janka hardness is 870 lbf (4,120 N). 

 Longleaf pine is a better option for interior applications, while pressure-treated wood is suitable for exterior applications.

11. Maritime Pine (Pinus pinaster)

Maritime pine is native to the Mediterranean region. It is a medium-sized tree, reaching 65-115 ft (20-35 m) tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 2-4 ft (.6-1.2 m). 

Wood is light reddish brown to pale yellow to nearly white. Color tends to darken with age.  It is a very soft wood, Janka hardness of 390 lbf (1,740 N), and dried weight 31 lbs / ft3 (500 kg / m3).

Maritime pine has overall good workability and it is used for Paper (pulpwood), flooring, boxes/crates, and construction lumber.

12. Ocote Pine (Pinus oocarpa)

Ocote Pine is native to Mexico and Central America. It is known by many other names like Pino Amarillo, Pino Avellano, Mexican yellow pine. Its Heartwood is light brown, sapwood is a pale yellowish white to white.

Its tree length is about 80–115 ft (24–35 m) and trunk diameter is 2-3 ft (.6–1m). Ocote pine is used in the paper (pulpwood), veneer, plywood, boxes/crates, flooring, and construction lumber.

13. Patula Pine (Pinus patula)

Patula pine tree is native to the highlands of Mexico. Its tree is 100–130 ft (30–40 m) in length and the trunk diameter is about 2–3 ft (.6–1m). It is softwood with Janka Hardness 550 lbf (2,450 N). Patula Pine Wood is used to make paper (pulpwood) and boxes/crates.

14. Pinyon Pine (Pinus edulis)

Pinyon pine is native to southwestern North America. It produces pinyon nuts and contains fat and calories. Its tree length is about 30–50 ft (9–15 m) and trunk diameter is 1-2 ft (.3 – .6 m).

There are many branches in the tree, So there are many knots in it. It has an irregular grain with a medium to fine texture. It is used for firewood, paper (pulpwood), charcoal.

15. Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida)

Pitch pine is native to eastern North America. It is a small tree with a length of about (6–30 m or 20–98 ft). Its Janka hardness is 620 lbf (2,760 N). But it is very strong and can withstand heavy loads. It is used for bridges, beams, poles, railroad ties.

Its heartwood is reddish-brown, sapwood is yellowish-white, and Straight grained.

Janka Hardness of Pine Woods

Pine wood Janka Hardness
Pine wood Janka Hardness

How to Identify Pine Wood?

The wood can be identified by its color appearance and grain. The heartwood color of pine is light brown to reddish-brown and the color of sapwood is pale yellow and sometimes white. Its color gets darker over time. Pine Wood has lots of dark brown circle knots. Which gives them special recognition.

Pine has a straight grain with an even, medium texture. Pine has medium-large open grain. So it is very easy to work with it. But due to the open grain, it absorbs moisture quickly.

Western White Pine and Eastern white pine have a faint, resinous odor while being worked. The heartwood of pine is rated as moderate to low in decay resistance.

Is Pine Wood Waterproof?

is pine waterproof
Image by Jonny Belvedere from Pixabay

No, pine is not a water waterproof wood. It soon begins to deteriorate when exposed to moisture and soil. Although no wood is 100% waterproof, some wood performs well in moisture. White oak and teak are good for wet areas.

Pine absorbs moisture and causes problems like warping, decay, cracking, or twisting. Which no customer wants to see with their floors and furniture.

But Pinewood can also be made somewhat water-resistant. This will require an oil-based primer or stain and water sealant. 

Apply one or two layers of water sealant on a wooden surface. Allow the pieces to dry well.  After this, apply the oil-based primer or stain once or twice with a brush, so that the entire piece of the wood is well covered. By doing this, the open pores of the wood are closed and it does not absorb moisture.

Pine Wood for Smoking Meat

barbecue
barbecue

Pine is not suitable for smoking meat, because it contains a lot of resin. Resin leaves black sooty smoke on burning and spoils the taste and color of meat. You should never use pine in a meat smoker.

Necessary to be a good meat smoker, wood provides good heat. While the density of pine wood is also low Because its BTUs value is low. British thermal unit (Btu) is a measure of the heat content of fuels or energy sources

Conclusion

Pines is a better wood species, it has many good properties. Which are great for furniture, flooring, and construction. But it also has some cons for some uses.

Pine is a better option for interior applications. If you are planning an exterior wooden project, use pressure-treated pine or take the opinion of your wood dealer once. Pine Wood is not suitable for smoking and firewood. So for the smoking, it is better to use some hardwood.

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