The strength, durability, and usefulness of Longleaf Pine lumber is legendary. Because this species of pine is a resinous one, the pitch or gum tends to collect on saw blades and other cutting edges. Or, switch to a Teflon-coated blade. Carving softwoods generally means fairly steep gouge bevels-20° or more-and deeper cuts. They tend to wander in the wood and cause breakout. Before painting, seal any knots or pockets in the wood with shellac to prevent bleed-through. In 1928 Roland Harper described the Longleaf Pine as a tree with “probably more uses than any other tree in North America if not in the whole world…” He may have been right. Rout with sharp, preferably carbide-tipped, bits and take shallow passes to avoid burning. Longleaf Pine lumber, the “King’s Wood,” is not only a rich part of our American history, but a beautiful, durable, and extremely versatile wood. Too, because longleaf pine has superior strength for a softwood, it was sawn into large beams and girders for use in bridges, trestles, and other heavy construction. These products were used in building and maintaining wooden sailing ships, and included turpentine, rosin, pitch and tar. Clean gum buildup from power-carving cutters. The hard, heavy wood stood up well to abuse and looked great at the same time. It floored Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello plantation, George Washington’s Mount Vernon plantation, and buttressed the keel of the USS Constitution (“Old Ironsides”). The difference in hardness between the latewood and earlywood makes the wood very difficult for detail work. But the poster species for these woodlands is the Red-cockaded … Don't plan on using it for naturally finished projects outdoors, though, unless you buy the treated variety or coat it with primer and paint. Longleaf pine also admirably served as flooring, interior trim, and millwork such as doors and windows in grand homes throughout the Southeast and Deep South. Along with being used for flooring, joists, and paneling for homes, it provided timber for warehouses, railroad cars, bridges and wharves. The U.S. was actually the world leader in naval stores until the middle of the twentieth century. These trees were ideal for the masts and spars of sailing vessels. They utilized the logs for timber and kindling, while utilizing the needles/pine cones for baskets and trays. After they germinate it is a race against time to grow large enough to survive a ground fire. When the supply of high-grade white pine began to dwindle, lumbermen looked to southern pinelands. Feed straight-grained wood into planer knives at a 90° angle. Because of splintering, limit long cuts with the grain. It’s said that Longleaf Heart Pine lumber once framed four of every five houses in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. Longleaf Pine resin was also used in paints, soaps, weatherproofing products, shoe polish and medicines. Longleaf Pine needles can be up to 18 inches long! We truly appreciate our friends and customers, and as always we invite you to let us know how we can help. The pitch or resin was used as a sealer. Although botanically classified as a softwood, you'll find longleaf pine to be quite a hard wood. In keeping with its name, longleaf pine features slender, flexible needles up to 18" long carried on the branches in groups of three. The wood rates as straight-grained, extremely hard, strong, durable, and, at about 42 pounds per cubic foot air-dry, nearly as heavy as sugar maple. © 2020 Meredith Corporation. These may have to be special-ordered. For decades baseball players have used resin on their equipment, and ballerinas have used it on their toe shoes. Thank you for stopping by and we hope to hear from you again soon. All Rights Reserved. The trunks of mature trees have orange-brown bark broken into papery scales. Home centers and lumberyards carry longleaf pine boards (called Southern pine) in common grades (Nos. Its range of applications is nearly endless, with our customers using it for flooring, ceilings, beams, trim, and interior & exterior paneling. 1 Common and Better will yield about 66 2/3 percent clear cuttings. Because longleaf pine has primarily been delivered to the construction industry, even kiln-dried wood can have a moisture content of from 15-19 percent. Use brad-point bits and a backing board under the workpiece to reduce tearout. And John Gould Curtis considered the Longleaf Pine to be the “pride of the south.” Installing metal shelf standards used to be rough on my fingers and my patience. The species thrives in moist, but well-drained, deep, sandy soil where it reaches 100' heights and diameters of 3'. The trees' pitch or gum was collected, then distilled into turpentine and resin, which was used in the manufacture of paint, varnish, shoe polish, printing ink, and other products. The strength, durability, and usefulness of Longleaf Pine lumber is legendary. 1, 2, etc. Yet in the past, longleaf pine played other serious roles, too. In fact, it depended on fire to sweep away competing species and underbrush. Not only have those needles been used since ancient times in coiled basket making, they now support a multi-million dollar wholesale industry providing “Longleaf Pine straw” for garden mulch and other uses. A part of the southern pine family that includes loblolly, slash, and shortleaf pine, longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) grows best in the coastal plain from southern Virginia through the Carolinas into Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and eastern Texas. The term naval stores has changed somewhat over the years, but it originally applied to the products that were made from the resin of the Longleaf Pine. The small nails... read more. In addition to those famous long needles, Longleaf Pine was once an important source of products called “naval stores.”. Naval stores from American colonies was heavily relied upon by the Royal Navy in the late 1700s, and they were an essential part of the colonial economy. The long needles of the Longleaf Pine are prized for their many uses. Much like Douglas fir, longleaf pine has a tendency to chip and splinter on cuts across the grain. Avoid using twist drills. Unfortunately, longleaf pine had evolved to withstand fire. For stability in use, always work wood with a maximum moisture content of 8 percent. The needles and bark were used for medicinal purposes. By 1909, the south was the principal lu… Longleaf pines are large trees, which means that you can buy thick, wide boards and timbers greater than 5X5". ), but not always the clearer finish grades (C, C&Btr.). Rapidly grown plantation trees produce wood with a somewhat coarse texture, resulting from the difference in density between light earlywood and heavier latewood. In fact, it was declared the “King’s Wood” for shipbuilding when America was first colonized. Releasing Longleaf Pine from Competition Because longleaf responds poorly to competition, it is often desirable to "release" it by controlling undesirable vegetation. Finish-grade boards, generally clear except for a few tight knots, are your best bet for natural-finish projects. Along with its cousin pitch pine, longleaf pine was an important contributor to the United States' naval stores' industry. The drier boards carry a stamp that reads either "KD15" or "MC15"-averaging about 12 percent. Smooth crosscutting requires at least a 40-tooth blade. When you're ready to work it, heed the following guidelines. Remember the pitch when routing, too. The longleaf pine is one of the largest and well-known southern yellow pines. The Louisiana tribes utilized the longleaf pine tree in numerous ways. All pines, but especially long-leaf, tend to darken with age, so select your stain color or clear finish with that in mind. Longleaf Pine played a key role in the growth and development of the early U.S. economy. Any exceptions-and special tips pertaining to this issue's featured wood species-appear under other headings on this page. The resinous materials were suited for caulking the planking of hulls and decks. It was so admired that it was used in Victorian hotels and palaces. And John Gould Curtis considered the Longleaf Pine to be the “pride of the south.”. Longleaf pine also admirably served as flooring, interior trim, and millwork such as doors and windows … The longer seedlings stay in the grass stage, the more susceptible they are to brown spot needle blight, a common disease of longleaf … You probably know longleaf pine best as treated boards and posts for decks and fences, or as dimension lumber for building construction. Longleaf Pines release their seeds in the fall, when the danger of fire is the lowest. History records indicate that some of the choicest stands of longleaf were set aside by the English Crown for the exclusive use of the British Navy. That means you can craft it into just about anything. Better grades run about $1 per board foot. Not only is it a mainstay for the treated-wood and construction industry, but it's finding its way into cabinetry, doors, windows, and other architectural elements.

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