Eastern White Pine
Eastern White Pine is the most common craft wood in my area. It
is relatively cheap and easily available, from very knotty to totally
clear. For these reasons, eastern white is used extensively in all
areas of woodworking, cabinets, scrollsaw & craft work, folk
art and even wood turning for table legs. We make it into lumber,
flooring and wall paneling. The native Indians used it for totem
poles, today much of the lower grade material goes into pulp &
paper and animal bedding, reserving the high grades for lumber.
Eastern White Pine Tree: Pinus strobus
This pine can be referred to as northern white pine, Weymouth pine
or soft pine. It is a very large tree, for northern climates, often
reaching 2'+ in diameter, although today much of the forest is second
growth and thus smaller. It grows predominately on the central,
eastern coast of N.America and across to the great lakes, covering
much of land surrounding the lakes.
The heartwood of the eastern white pine is pale brown, with occasional
reddy brown streaks. The sap wood, which makes up most of the tree
is a pale yellow/white colour. All eastern pine ages to a golden
yellow colour with exposure to sunlight, in a fairly short time.
It can have very large knots, that like to crack, very small tight
knots, or no knots at all. The price will vary accordingly.
It is relatively stable, once dried properly, but because it is
fairly porous, will cup if it is allowed to absorb moisture from
a damp basement. For this reason, thin wood must be keep under weight
until it is ready to use. It has some grain pattern but not as much
as say, red oak. It is a relatively weak wood.
Weight: approximately 26 lbs/cu.ft.
Eastern white pine absorbs a stain very easily, and end grain will
have a tendency to over absorb so sand finely. This presents no
difficulties on small projects, thus its appeal as a craftwood BUT
over large areas like for instance a wood floor it is very difficult
to get uniform absorption of the stain across the entire floor...
it tends to like to leave a lap line where you have stopped and
started. Use a good quality stain, with fine pigment, find a method
of application that allows quick application and consider using
a wood conditioner as a pretreatment... maybe visit your local finishing
expert first for additional advise..
Pine has a lot of resin, in pockets, that have a bad habit of bleeding
out when you least expect it (especially in the lower quality wood),
so... make sure you use a quality, oil based polyurethane for top
coating. I would rarely use pine to paint over for this reason.
The sap leaves a rusty brown stain in the paint, even when you take
the time to seal the knots or pith pockets with shellac. Use basswood
as a great paint grade alternative.
I understand that some special water based products have been designed
specifically to seal pine, but Agway ask! My experience with them
has not been so great.
It is extremely easy to cut with both hand and machine tools. It
is "kind" to all cutting edges and can be nailed without predrilling.
Sanding is easy, but you must work your way down the grit ladder.
It cuts easily with a scrollsaw, but remember that it is not very
strong, so don't leave little strips going across the grain or they'll
When routing an edge, watch for tear out. It can tend to splinter,
so make sure you are going in the right direction.... then you should
have no problem. It glues easily with regular glues. (make sure
you remove squeeze out before it dries)