I've got the blues

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Blog entry by Rogue posted 02-01-2009 08:45 AM 1133 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

An upcoming piece on my project page will be the new bunk beds I’m marketing. The one I’m working on now is biult out of blue pine. These two words have become a dirty word in the fine woodworking world. I love hardwood as much as the next wood freak but I think this wood has gotten a bad wrap. With the finishes and building technology we have today pine can be durable and strong if used right. I have had a great time this week seeing this great wood come to life in my shop. One of my favorite things about it though is that you can workout the construction of a peice that you make for the first time. If you mess up you aren’t burning a $13 bf piece of exsotic hardwood. Yet when you get done you still have a decent looking product. If you are harboring a pejudice agains this nice, fun to work wood maybe you should go out and pick up a stick of blue pine and see what you can come up with.

-- Rogue

6 comments so far

View Alan's profile


443 posts in 3429 days

#1 posted 02-01-2009 09:20 AM

I’m fairly new but the things I’ve made of pine have worked out nice. Excuse the ignorance but what is “blue” pine?

-- Alan, Prince George

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4112 days

#2 posted 02-01-2009 02:11 PM

I wondered the same thing so I googled it. Says its a hard pine native to the Himilaya, Karakoran and Hindu Kush mountains. Moslty gives off a pungent odor and is used for making turpentine. Great for firewood.

Rogue lives up to his name.


-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View CedarFreakCarl's profile


594 posts in 4078 days

#3 posted 02-01-2009 03:18 PM

What he may be talking about is when pines are cut and allowed to lay on the ground too long before sawing, the wood gets a blue tint to it. At that stage they’re not very desireable from an appearance standpoint although just as strong as non-blued pine.

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4352 days

#4 posted 02-01-2009 03:50 PM

pine is fine… It’s not like we’d nail together a couple of 2×4s and call in fine woodworking. From where I’m sitting all I see is pine trim mostly old growth that I’d stripped and stained (was under several coats of paint over the past 130 years)... and it is all knotty beautifully grained and gorgeous.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Tom Landon's profile

Tom Landon

69 posts in 3777 days

#5 posted 02-03-2009 05:30 PM

At an Ethan Allen facility in NC I was intrigued with what I thought was a good sized swimming pool very close to the sawmill. The”pool” was filled with a blue colored chemical they used to prevent blue stain in their fresh cut pine. As the pine boards came from the mill they were banded together and a big fork lift would lower the entire load into the pool where they soaked for a period of time before the air and kiln drying. I was told that just a short exposure to the air could start the blue staining process and thus make the wood unusable to them.

Myself, I dislike working with pine because it is so susceptible to scratches and marring. Just a piece of sawdust or small wood chip on the bench that might get under the boards or between them in a stack can do terrific damage. Of course you can sand that out but that takes time. Time when you could otherwise be doing things you might really enjoy. Inevitability you’ll miss some of those scratches or you might get burnished spots or streaks that won’t show up till the stain goes on.

I really think in the long run, if you agree that time is money, building with pine can be more expensive than working with hardwood. I’m speaking here of the softer pines that most most home centers and lumber yards carry. Poplar can be a good alternative. Many times it’s less expensive than #1 pine, cuts and stains nicer as well.

Of course if it’s the “look” of pine you want, then you just have to man-up and pay the price, IMHO.

-- Tom Landon, Lakeland, Fl. When you're through learning, you're through.

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4339 days

#6 posted 02-03-2009 07:15 PM

Blue pine is great stuff. I just start from the point of view that wood should be textured. If I wanted a smooth surface I’d use plastic.

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