Pine wood has become one of the woods sought-after by woodworkers. The confusion about what type of wood best fits furniture and outdoor application has led to choice issues among people who use wood. Pine comes as a stable and strong alternative among many other types out there. So, What is pinewood? What are its benefits over Oak, Mahogany, bamboo, and others?
I’ve researched and here’s what I’ve found:
What Is Pine wood?
Pine wood is a type of softwood that grows mainly in the Northern Hemisphere but has spread to different parts of Europe, Canada, and America. It grows faster than Mahogany, poplar, and Oak. The straight-grained wood is very strong, stiff, and durable, making it suitable for furniture making and building construction. It comes in yellow pine, white pine, and eastern pine.
In this article, you’ll learn the following:
- What is Pine wood?
- Properties, pros, and cons of pine wood
- Applications of Pine wood
- Comparing pine wood with other types of wood
So, let’s get going!
|Scientific name(s)||genus Pinus|
|Origin/Distribution||Northern Hemispheres. Southern Hemisphere|
|Type||Red pine, White pine and Yellow pine|
|Color||Creamy white to yellow hue|
|Odor||Peppery, minty scent|
|Log Durability||Highly durable|
|Specific gravity: Yellow, White, Eastern, and Sugar.||0.59, 0.35, 0.40, and 036|
|Janka hardness||420 lbf|
|Rupture Modulus||0.0590 GPa|
|Elastic Modulus||2.07 MPa|
|Coeff. of volumetric shrinkage||12.1%|
|Total tangential shrinkage (TS)||7.7%|
|Total radial shrinkage (RS)||4%|
Origin & History
Pine trees originate from Northern Hemisphere. Most countries in this region have one or two species of the tree. The tree is predominant in eastern, central, and northern Europe, mid and southern Canada, Mexico, and America.
Pine wood is natural because it comes from coniferous trees. These trees can grow temperate, as seen in the Northern hemisphere. These trees stay evergreen throughout the year. The trees can reproduce new seeds that can germinate new trees that produce the pine wood.
Pine wood is mostly used for making furniture. This is because of its strength, durability, and stiffness. Furniture is stable and strong when you use wood types that are easy to work with and durable.
Appearance and Identification
- Pine Tree
Pine trees have visible features that make them easily identifiable among other types of trees. Generally, the tree has egg-shaped cones that reproduce seeds and suspend down from the tree branches. The cones can appear large and woody with straight and long scales. The bark is gray or reddish-brown.
- Pine Leaves
While the pine tree features egg-shaded and scaled cones, the tree’s leaves are needle-shaped. The pointed-edged leaves are common to all types and species of pine tree. The arrangement and look of the bundles of leaves are incredible and characteristic of all trees and leaves of the genus Pinus family.
The color of pine wood is typically white or pale yellow. The whitish or yellowish-pale color is the wood’s natural hue and is lightweight and inexpensive. Occasionally, the color can come reddish or brownish.
Pine wood comes with straight grain, regardless of whether it is Eastern pine, Yellow pine, or White pine. The pine woods are also ring-porous, meaning that they show their dark band rings as they grow. Although they are easy to work with, pine woods spot knots that can it difficult to cut.
Pine wood has a refreshing, sweet, and sharp smell like that of pepper and mint. The smell is due to the presence of terpenes chemicals in the pine trees. The chemicals contain hydrogen and carbon molecules.
Durability, Treatability, Workability
Pine wood as a softwood is usually lightweight. The reason is that the pine trees grow rapidly and so becomes a lot less dense than the Oak which takes a longer time to grow to maturity. The density of pine is low.
Pine wood is relatively long-lasting. But when compared to Oak or polar, it may be considered short-lasting. The longevity and durability of pine wood are due to its stiffness. The wood is highly stiff and strong, making it last longer.
Pine wood is very strong wood. The compressive and bending strengths of the wood are high. This is because the wood has a reputation for being one of the stiffest woods around. When used for furniture, it won’t crack easily.
When used for furniture, pine wood will deliver fantastic durability and won’t bend easily. As a matter of fact, pine wood is designed for furniture. It works well and delivers an excellent finish on furniture.
Pine wood is suitable for making a bed frame. Pine wood comes as a great option if you’re on a budget because it is affordable and cheap to use. Besides, the wood is strong enough for a bed and easy to work with.
Pine wood makes a perfect choice for making stair tread and touch-traffic areas at home. Pine wood is popular for its smooth finish, incredible looks, availability, and low cost. Regardless of the frequency of touches, your pine-made stairs shine brightly.
Pine comes as very strong and durable for making shelves. The wood material is very easy to work with, although it may sag under a poor weight. It is better to use pine wood for short-length bookshelves.
The yellow pine wood is the strongest of all pine woods on the market. When it comes to comparing pine wood with other softwoods, yellow pine is considered one of the strongest. It boasts a compressive strength of 8470psi, bending strength of 14500psi, 870lb hardness and 1.98Mpsi stiffness.
Yellow pine is stronger than most softwoods. With a compressive strength of 8,470psi, yellow pine is stronger than poplar (5,540 psi), plywood (4000-6000 psi), red Oak (6,760psi), soft maple (6,540psi), and white Oak (7,440psi). However, poplar, plywood, Cedar are generally stronger than other types pine woods.
Any type of pine wood is stronger than medium density fiberboard. The highest compressive strength of MDF is 3500 psi while the lowest compressive strength of any pine type is about 4500psi.
Allergies & Toxicity
Pine furniture can cause allergies. Especially when it is not pressure treated, pine furniture can cause allergic contact dermatitis, such as turpentine-induced allergies or rosin. They are both type IV hypersensitivity allergies.
If you inhale wood dust, you can become susceptible to breathing problems. Excess inhaling of pine wood dust can affect the lungs and therefore lead to lung cancer. As a rule of thumb, you should try as much as possible to avoid inhaling or allowing pine furniture dust to get into your lungs.
Pine wood is toxic to humans. They can affect the lung and so cause lung cancer in the process. The wood dust from pine should be avoided to avoid the cancer. Besides, inhaling pine wood dust can also result in asthma.
How long does it take Pine wood to dry?
On average, it takes about 6 to 12 months for pine wood to dry. This is the average drying period for most softwoods while hardwoods can take up to 2 years. Pine has low water content and can resist moisture very easily.
Pine wood is good for the environment. It can also impact the ecosystem negatively due to the tree’s high level of acidity. Stream beds and river beds cause a lot of erosion, but pine trees along the waterways will stop much of this erosion.
Pine wood is sustainable. It has a lot of carbon capturing in its rapid growth process. While growing, pine stores a lot of carbon minerals, which helps preserve the tree for longevity. Today, more than 60 species of this wood are across the US. The tree can regenerate and produce a lot of wood and continue to grow for a long time.
One of the benefits of pine wood to the environment is that pine trees prevent erosion due to river banks and streams as they grow along waterways. However, they can cause other plants and trees not to grow due to the acidic nature of the tree. The acidity can affect the soil.
Bamboo has been considered the most eco-friendly woods in the US. Bamboo woods are versatile, durable, and strong. They are eco-sustainable and can leave for years after regenerating and storing carbon capturing. It gives off more than 35% of oxygen to the atmosphere.
Pros and Cons
Pros of pine wood
- It’s a renewable wood material
- Highly durable for high-traffic areas
- Rot and decay-resistant
- Highly workable due to softness
- Stiff, strong, and shock-resistant
- Lightweight and good elasticity
- Resist shrinking, warping, and swelling when pressure treated
- Beautiful, aesthetic with a minty scent
- Used for making furniture and for multiple applications
- Susceptible to dents and scratches Can split and damage easily
It takes a pine tree between 25 to 30 years to grow to maturity. At 30, a pine tree is considered mature for harvesting into woods. But, the tree can live and grow up to 50 years to make it stronger. After all, older pine trees produce more valuable wood.
The growth factor of the white pine tree is 5. This means that if you multiply the growth actor of the tree by its chest-high circumference or diameter, you’ll get the age of the tree. The International Society of Arboriculture creates this formula.
The growth height of a pine tree varies from species to species. Typically, a pine tree can grow 10-260 ft (3-80m) tall. The majority of the species can grow up to 50-150ft (15-45m). Pine trees belong to the coniferous family, with plenty of resin.
As resinous trees, pine trees grow by seeds. They produce and reproduce new seeds. Pine is a coniferous tree with seeds located on the dual-gender pine cone, a scale of the structure. This makes coniferous different from deciduous trees with their seed surrounded with fruit.
Like most trees, pine trees need a lot of water at the early stage of their growth. The more water you put on the seed in the first month, the more moisture the soil. After a month, a once-a-week watering will be fine. Once the seed has grown into a tree and established itself, it’ll only need water in case of a prolonged drought.
Why is my pine tree not growing?
There are common reasons your pine tree won’t grow. They include
- Pest disease
- Poor seed selection
- Improper plating system
- Poor soil health
- Excess or lack of water and moisture
- Insufficient sunlight
- Pollution or pruning problem
Pine wood is one of the most affordable softwoods around. It is inexpensive and lightweight. The wood can be yellowish or whitish with brown knots. It’s suitable for making rustic pieces such as furniture, park benches, and farmhouse-style table.
There are a lot of reasons pine is cheap and cost-effective. Unlike many other trees, it has a fast growth rate, including Oak. The amount of care a pine tree will need can be less than half of what an oak or polar tree will need. The time needed to market pine wood is also short. As a result, traders can easily find a market to sell the wood.
On average, 8 x 6 feet long of pine wood can sell for a range of $2-$20 per piece. The price of pine wood depends on various factors. However, the tree size and type, purchasing market or region, and the sellers count.
Pine wood can go anywhere between $4.50 and $10 per square foot. At this price, one can say that pine wood is one of the cheapest and most inexpensive woods used for wood flooring.
The thickness of pine wood determines how much a sheet of wood will sell for. The thicker the sheet is, the costlier it becomes. For a 3/8-thick sheet of pine wood, you’ll have to spare $11 to $20. ½ and 5/8 thick pine sheets go for $15 to $25.
Pine wood is generally considered coniferous softwood. It grows in most locations in the Northern Hemisphere. It is soft, lightweight, straight-grained wood and comes in white or pale yellow color.
There are more than 100 types of pine across the world as almost all countries have pine trees. The most common types are:
- Eastern white pine
- Sugar Pine
- Limber pine
- Western white pine
- Hard pine
- Yellow pine
- Longleaf and shortleaf pine trees
- Slash pine
The Western white pine wood is the most desirable of all pine woods. It has relatively more rapid growth and is very productive when compared to other pine types and species. It features a clean main stem.
What is Pine wood used for?
Primarily and mostly, pine woods are grown for furniture making. They are pretty durable. Besides durability, you can get a lot creative with pine wood. When you finish making your furniture with pine wood, you can finish and stain it easily. As a versatile wood type, pine is great on a wide range of finishes, including polyurethane and lacquer finishes. Your purpose and preference matter in the end.
Read More>> Staining Pine Wood Ultimate Guide Of 2022 & Best Pine Wood Stain Colors
Pine wood is a choice for making short-length bookshelves. The wood serves as a great material to work with. Shelves generally need durable wood that won’t sag under unfavorable weight of conditions. But pine woods are only great for short-length bookshelves. Besides, pine-wooded shelves will need some varnishing after completion because pine woods are prone to scratches and dents.
Pine woods are generally not recommended for chip carving because they are soft. Besides, they have a medium grainy texture. In addition, the wood’s cream coloring doesn’t support carving. However, pine woods contain some level of hardness that qualifies it for general carving. For instance, white pine wood is easy to fashion and shape. Consequently, it will be an ideal wood to do a good job of carving.
4. Walls & Fence
You can’t list five softwoods for residential outdoor structures without mentioning pine wood. Pine is one of the recommended woods to make fences and walls. They also work decks and porches. However, only pressure-treated pine woods are suitable for this purpose. Untreated pine won’t work for making fences and walls because the wood is naturally susceptible to warping and shrinking. Besides, it is prone to scratches and can crack easily.
By design, ceilings, more than anything else, need beauty and incredible aesthetics. One feature pine wood will offer your ceiling is the top-quality finish. Pine wood ceiling comes in amazing construction appearance and smooth finish. It won’t require any extra layer of finish to make it look attractive. Apart from beautiful looks, pine also provides exceptional durability. It can resist the shenanigans of the elements all-season.
6. Outdoor Use
Pine wood is one of the best woods suitable for outdoor use. The reasons are simple. Pine is known for its amazing durability. Outdoor structures are prone to all kinds of abuse from snow, ice, rain, and UV. But pressure-treated pine woods have the natural property to hold out against these elements. They won’t give in easily especially when they are pressure treated. With proper treatment, pine won’t crack, warp or crack when used for outdoor purposes.
Softwoods like pine are good for the fireplace. Unlike hardwoods, pine woods will ignite easily and give off a hot flame when used to make fire. That means that they will burn rapidly and quickly get your things done in good time. We can turn it to a cliché that ‘if you want rapid burning, lots of flames, and a hot fire, go only for pine wood.’ Never mix pine with any other wood to make fire.
What is the difference between Pine wood and other woods?
Pine and Cedar have a lot in common. They also differ in some instances. They are both beautiful and produce a smooth finish. However, unless pressure treated, pine wood will shrink, crack, and warp; cedar wood is not prone to any of these. It’s stable and will work well for outdoor applications, under any circumstance.
Pine belongs to the class of softwood, even though it shares some hardwood features. This means that Oak is heavier than pine. Besides, when it comes to resistance, Oak doesn’t wear easily unlike pine wood will do. The stiffness of pine wood spots makes it more resistant to shock than Oak.
Palochina like pine, fir, and poplar, comes from coniferous trees. Both palochina and pine are softwood. But while Palochina is a recycled wood, pine is a softwood. Palochina is sourced from wood crates and works well for a wide range of applications. They’re both good for making DIY furniture.
Mahogany belongs to the class of hardwood, unlike soft pine wood. With compressive and bending strengths of 6,460 psi and 10,700 psi respectively, Mahogany is stronger than pine wood that has 4,800 psi and 8,600 psi compressive and bending strengths. Meanwhile, yellow pine competes well against Mahogany.
5. birch wood
While pine produces a peppery and minty odor, birch wood doesn’t give off any specific smell. Pine works on small, medium, and big-sized projects, birch woods are better used for smaller-sized construction projects. Birch is stronger and more stable than pine. Pine is cheaper and more affordable than birch wood in terms of cost.
6. solid wood
Although it is softwood, pine features some level of strength, shock resistance, and stiffness that can make it compete with other sold and hardwoods. However, while solid wood will respond quickly to the mischiefs of humidity and the elements, pine will warp and shrink under humidity and pressure.
7. mango wood
Apart from being solid wood that pine is not, mango wood curves easily and will be suitable for any kind of furniture and climate. Since it is hardwood, mango wood has more strength and weight than pine that’s softwood. It is more durable, of better quality, and works throughout the season than pine wood.
8. teak wood
First off, teak is one of the most expensive woods on the market, many times costlier than pine wood. In terms of quality, teak is of better quality than pine. Due to its heavyweight, teak works best on making any kind of furniture. Pine wood is lightweight and will be best suitable for making bedroom furniture.
9. neem wood
While pine is mostly used for making furniture, especially bedroom furniture, neem wood is perfect for roofing. Neem wood can be used for making shingles; it also serves as a medicinal plant and can be used as an organic pesticide. It provides great resistance under humidity and the elements. It behaves like Mahogany because they belong to the same family.
Pine wood is one of the most used woods in the woodworking industry. As a sustainable wood, pine wood contains amazing carbon capturing. The large storage of carbon capture reinforces the tree’s growth and makes pine wood perfect for furniture making.
It may not have high resistance to the elements and may crack and warp when excessively moist. The durability and strength of pine wood make it the right pick ahead of many softwoods. Finally, pine wood should readily come to mind when considering what wood to use to make your park benches and other high-touch furniture.
My name is Mark, and I am a software engineer and the founder of OnWoodWorkingArt.
I grew up with a passion for woodworking and now have my woodworking studio with a group of like-minded friends who love to create woodworking. My dream is to have a more extensive workshop and be able to make woodworking my main business.