Know your wood - Yellow Pine

Yellow pine - Yellow Pine is a very commonly available wood in the whole sale market at byculla bazzar. The pine is imported from various western countries; North America, Germany, Australia and Newzealand. The pine family itself is huge and prices vary from 600/cft to 850/cft. Pine is also commonly used for crates and pallets and the if you ask for pallet wood, this is what you will get. Infact a lot of the so called pine might actually be spruce or fir.

Appearance: Overall pine is a beautiful clear grained wood with very distinct dark and light striations. I've even seen old pine which is grey and some pine boards I have are orange. On the whole however the early growth of pine is a pale yellow while the late growth is a light to medium dark brown.

Workability: Pine is a soft wood and like all soft woods requires a blade of the utmost sharpness.

  • Saw: Pine cuts easily and sometimes too easily. A dull saw leaves a very rough edge and a lot of splintering.
  • Plane: Pine can be planed to a very high smoothness with just the handplane. At times it will even take on a radiance. A dull plane can leave a few fibres sticking about
  • Chisel: Chiselling pine should only be attempted with a shape chisel. While a sharp chisel cuts the pine fibers cleanly, a dull chisel is a calamity for pine. Instead of cutting the grain, the chisel squeezes multiple fibers and eventually the fibers break in large chinks leaving behind big gaping holes in the end grain.

Pine is also categorised by large numbers of knots.These knots can be very tough to work around and the grain flows around the knots like water around a rock. While planing and indeed doing any work with pine, one needs to take utmost care of this constant change of grain direction. Being soft, pine rips ups very easily and if one is not careful these tear outs can be irrepairable.

Finishing: Pine is one of the most inconsistent woods to finish. It can be sanded to a real smooth texture and you are safe if you are applying a clear finish like a PU varnish, lac or oils and wax. But if you are going to be staining pine then you really MUST work with a sanding sealant or else the finish ends up looking all sorts of splotchy

Opinion: I am afraid of pine, I work mainly with hand tools and have had the most irritating experiences with pine since the tools arent always sharp and I'm a bit lazy about sharpening my iron. :) Having said that, pine is cheap so most of the time I will us


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