Norman Douglas once said that the Pine Stays green in winter. This statement, of course, is correct because Pine is a softwood, and one characteristic of softwood is that it does not shed its leaves during Autumn. Pine wood comes from a coniferous tree featuring green needles instead of green leaves all year round. Remember, wood coming from conifers get often classified as softwood. Besides, Pine is softer compared to hardwoods. As such, it gets classified as softwood.
Pine is of the genus of Pinus of the Pinaceae family. There are around 111 Pine species around the world, and some of the common Pine species are Pinus monticola, Pinus strobus, and Pinus resinosa. Not all species of Pine are soft. In fact, some species can even have higher durability than other hardwoods. But the most common Pines in the United States have Janka Hardness ratings below most hardwoods.
What is the Hardness Level of Pine?
Pine has many species, and most of these species have Janka Hardness ratings from 300 to 1,000 lbf. Two species of Pine, however, the Heart Pine and Caribbean Pine, have Janka Hardness ratings of 1,255 and 1,240, respectively. These Janka Hardness ratings fare better than other hardwoods. Teak, for example, has a Janka Hardness rating of 1,155, while Black Walnut has 1,010.
Other species of Pine are not as hard as Heart Pine and Caribbean Pine. Eastern White Pine, for example, has a Janka Hardness rating of 380, while Western White Pine has 420. Pine Sugar has 380. Other Pines, like Ponderosa Pine, has 460, and Jack Pine has 570. Thus, the range of Janka Hardness ratings of various pine species is from 300 to 1,000 lbf.
Pine may not be as strong as other hardwoods, but it remains a decent option for different woodworking and construction projects. Besides, it will be best to note that pines have different types, and some are stronger than others. So, if you want a stronger Pinewood, go for Pinewood with a higher Janka rating.
Advantages of Using Pine Wood
You might be an outsider who wants to dabble in woodworking using Pine wood. If you are, it will be best to know the following advantages of the use of Pine:
Pine is Lighter than Other Wood
The good thing about furniture made of Pine is that they are lighter than those made of oak or Hickory. Besides, Pine is a perfect material for baseboards and interior moldings.
One succinct advantage of softwood is its better workability. So, you will find Pine easy to work with and durable enough if you enhance it with treatment. If untreated, Pine will be susceptible to insect attacks and rot. Nevertheless, you can use pressure-treated Pine for decking boards and other outdoor applications.
The second most available tree in North America is the Loblolly Pine, while Lodgepole Pine also belongs to the top 10 most common woods in the continent. Pine is easy to grow and harvest. If you use Pine wood, you need not worry about depleting the forest, for it can be farmed and is sustainable.
It Is Attractive
Pine has an open grain structure and exhibits colors ranging from burnt sienna to ivory white. Besides, its knots enhance its appeal. You will find pine baseboards and moldings clear when you finish them. Yet, even if they are unfinished, they look fantastic.
Easy to Paint and Stain
Pine accepts stains and paints well. Its straight grain comes with a uniformly fine texture. These features, combined with its light tone, facilitate the staining or painting process. Pine is an excellent option, considering that not all wood accepts paint and stain well.
Disadvantages of Using Pine
After having read the upsides of the use of Pine, you might think that it is the ideal wood for your woodworking projects. Nevertheless, it will also help to balance your view of Pine if you know the following downsides of its use:
Instability of Its Color
As mentioned above, Pine has its natural beauty and color. Besides, it has excellent texture. Yet, these properties can also become a disadvantage considering that Pine’s color may change under natural elements like UV rays and rain. Once affected by these elements, it tends to become paler and lose its original appeal.
Need Regular Maintenance
Pine, compared to hardwoods, is susceptible to dents and scratches. Over time, patinae may form or accumulate on its surface, rendering this wood an aged look. So, to keep its pristine appearance, you must often maintain it. Besides, you can do away with dents and scratches by refinishing the wood more often.
Pine is not that expensive. But if you have Pine furniture, you might be forced to spend more on maintaining it. Besides, maintenance is not easy. Other wood options like Hickory and Oak fare well and do not need regular maintenance.
Susceptible to Shrinkage and Swelling
Pine is a softwood prone to shrinkage and swelling. It is not waterproof or water-resistant. Besides, it will react to moisture, and moisture can make it swell or shrink. Such shrinking and swelling can make this wood weak and vulnerable to other damage. Thus, it will be best to consider this factor when choosing Pine for your woodworking projects.
Is Pine Wood Strong Enough for Woodworking Projects?
Yes, you can rely on Pine for your many woodworking projects. It has good strength and is a stiff wood. Besides, regarding its compressive strength, it fares well. Its bending strength and density are also good compared to other woods. Thus, it is an excellent choice for making panels, furniture, window frames, and roofing. As a softwood, however, it is weaker than most hardwoods.
White Pine, for example, has a compressive strength is 4,800psi, while Yellow Pine has 8,470psi. White Pine’s density is 0.35, and its bending strength of 8,600psi, while Yellow Pine has a 0.59 density and a bending strength of 14,500psi.
The bending strength and compressive strength of Yellow Pine are higher than many hardwoods. As such, Yellow Pine wood is considered strong. Nevertheless, other Pine woods are lighter, considering their lower density levels. Nevertheless, because of their lower densities, they are highly workable.
Applications and Uses of Pine Wood in Woodworking Projects
The applications and uses of Pine are varied and far-reaching. As mentioned above, you can use it for making furniture. Yet, you can only use it for interior furniture because it might shrink or swell and eventually crack when exposed to harsh elements like UV rays and moisture.
Nevertheless, you can use it outdoors for decking if you pressure treats it.
Pinewood does not have the natural properties ideal for outdoor use. It doesn’t exhibit high decay resistance. Besides, it doesn’t have natural oil or resin to ward off insects. But you can enhance its properties by pressure treating it to make it more resistant to moisture, fungus, insect, and even rot. It also becomes fire-resistant and more durable.
Pine is an excellent choice for molding and trimming. You can use it indoors for window trims, baseboards, door frames, picture frames, and chair rails. Besides, it is easy to use and work with. It is lightweight and receives paint and stains well. You can also wax it. Moreover, its use is less costly than hardwoods.
Most Common Questions on Working with Pine Wood
Aside from knowing the applications and uses of Pine, it will also help if you are cognizant of the following FAQs about Pine, for they might also be the questions you have in mind:
Is Pine Furniture Strong Enough?
One concern you may have before using Pine for furniture making is whether it can provide you with solid furniture. Well, Pine furniture is undoubtedly strong despite its low density. Remember that its bending and compressive strengths are relatively higher than other hardwoods. Thus, it can provide a more robust and durable wood for furniture.
Another thing that makes Pinewood a go-to option for furniture makers is its workability and good dimensional stability. These two properties are crucial in selecting wood for furniture. Moreover, it is workable because it is softwood and allows easy cutting, lathering, and routering.
However, Pine wood can tear up quickly. So, before even starting with Pine, ensure that your cutting and carving tools are sharp.
You can avoid tearing up the wood by starting slowly and feeding slowly. It will be best likewise to use fine-grit sandpaper when sanding this wood. Besides, it will help if you drill slowly to avoid tearing. Lastly, you must finish the furniture with the correct staining.
Is Pine Furniture Expensive?
Pine wood is not expensive. Thus, furniture made of Pine is not costly. Pine wood is readily available, and you will find many species of Pine to choose from. The White Pine and the Yellow Pine, however, are the best options.
White Pines are readily available in North America and offer a great source of lumber for woodworkers and construction workers. Pine is highly sustainable; using it will not tip off the ecological balance because Pinewood gets farmed. Since Pine is not rare, it is also not expensive.
Is Pinewood More Solid and Stronger than Plywood?
Solid wood, like Pine, will always be more robust than plywood, especially in matters of stiffness. So, if you build a shelf and use Pine, you can expect it not to sag compared to the plywood shelf. Regarding plywood strengths, you would have many considerations, like what type of veneers make up the plywood.
Before reading this post, you might have been considering whether Pine is the ideal wood for your projects. However, after reading this post, you can now decide whether Pine is the best option for your projects. Remember that the building materials you use for your projects will dramatically change the results of your projects. So, knowing the properties of Pine before using it is essential to the success of your projects.
Pine, of course, is a good building material. It may not be the best, but it can help you build a wide array of items and projects. Pine can also compete with other hardwoods for many woodworking projects. Besides, its properties and characteristics are worth considering when working on a woodworking project.
Liam is a 37-year-old woodworker and interior designer who loves to make every furniture project an art piece. He is very experienced in furniture design and woodworking project planning.