Pine Appeal

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Forum topic by Hermando posted 12-10-2012 10:57 PM 1845 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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75 posts in 2796 days

12-10-2012 10:57 PM

Seems the all useful and abundantly low cost of pine can be used for just about anything wood working. The need for an all purpose workbench to jigs and low cost simple shelves and useful projects. It seems many wood workers from beginners to professionals have used pine in projects for various reasons. As for me I like to use pine for all the reasons above, especially since it is cost effective and gives me a chance to build on wood working skills. I can usually get enough lumber for a project through recycle or from the lack of selection at the big box stores. Granted a wood piece made from oak, maple, walnut, etc are awe inspiring, but is there an appeal to work with pine to create fine wood working projects. Not just the general usefulness of having what some might consider a cheap lumber.

Just some thoughts. Thanks, H.

28 replies so far

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3157 days

#1 posted 12-10-2012 11:22 PM

There’s just nothing inspiring about pine to me. Perhaps the look of knotty pine in a country kitchen, but unless you build something rustic or country-fied, then there are just so many prettier and more versatile woods to work, at least to my tastes. Of course some of this is just me being tired of pine, having spent the first 25 years of my woodworking life using nothing BUT pine, but there just isn’t a pine project out there that really appeals to me and seems to speak, “Build me!”

-- jay,

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75 posts in 2796 days

#2 posted 12-10-2012 11:41 PM

I can see your point, Pine is what it is and not that appealing when it comes to making something that stands out. Its usefulness for having it around the shop to build something that is practical to get the chance to design and better quality piece. But I also think not everyone has access to the better quality woods. Cost and selection can be hard to over come. So does that mean someone should not use pine to build something that they can consider a quality piece of work.

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2202 posts in 3157 days

#3 posted 12-10-2012 11:53 PM

Shaker pieces are quality pieces of work. Pine is used frequently in the shaker style…I just don’t want to build shaker furniture…at least not personally. If I were commissioned, then that’s another story. So, it’s often about a given type or style that appeals to us. And this is nothing against pine…I can say the same about poplar and a hundred other woods.

But I suspect your question is one of personal interest. I just find pine a little too plain, easy to dent (I am clumsy), and not really given to some of the styles I find more appealing. For those things, walnut, maple, and oak carry the majority of my interests. At least mahogany and cherry, neither of which I use that often, COULD be used in some projects that would be appealing to me…it’s just that my list of current and future projects are mostly focused on the aforementioned “trinity” of woods. I do need to revisit my future list, however, as you’ve got my mind trying to remember some of those mahogany projects that I had dog-earred in my old magazines.

-- jay,

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Craftsman on the lake

2791 posts in 3437 days

#4 posted 12-10-2012 11:57 PM

Pine… I live in Maine.. Pine country. Tons of it. We’d burn it if it was a hard wood.

I finished off a house awhile back for a young couple , all in pine, molding, cathedral ceiling, etc. They didn’t want oak because it looked old fashioned. Big old mansions have oak. I grew up in an old farmhouse. It was finished of in pine. So, knotty pine looks ‘farm’ to me. I guess it depends on your age and what you were used to. Pine is old to me. Oak to others. And what is it with people who love knots. It’s why pine is the most expensive when it has no knots. Some people have as many as they can.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

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915 posts in 2951 days

#5 posted 12-11-2012 12:07 AM

A Mainuh here also….pine is king in Maine – “The Pine Tree State” Pine has many, many uses and while it may not be as desirable as other species, it indeed has its place for lots of applications. Knotty pine is definitely “farm” to me, as well as “rustic” and “country”. I have a few items in my workshop made of pine: a small workbench, a couple of saw benches, workbench storage. Easy to work, inexpensive, and looks pretty good for the shop with a liberal coat of BLO. Not my choice for fine furniture, but for some things, I would only choose pine.

-- Mike

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445 posts in 2419 days

#6 posted 12-11-2012 12:10 AM

I tend to use pine for a fair amount of projects because its most often really cheap or free. I find pine in pallets, demoed housing projects, etc. I think it adds to the appeal of me using it for things when it’s repurposed pine. We just took up a bunch of reclaimed heart pine flooring from a house that had a little water damaged and I kept all the larger pieces and denailed them. I think I’ll use it to make my son a toy chest. The fact that its reclaimed reclaimed pine is appealing to me. Haha! Do I think pine is an ideal choice for all furn and would I prefer to be using cherry or walnut or ash, yes, but free with a story to it fits wallet well.

-- Greg, Owner, Quality Carpet One,

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2202 posts in 3157 days

#7 posted 12-11-2012 12:48 AM

There’s a reason that people always try to stain pine. People want to make it look like something else or completely paint right over it, which is what I did with 80% of everything I ever built out of pine. And we all know that staining pine is a real pain unless you know what you are doing.

I’m sitting in front of a beautiful pine hutch right now in my dining room. It was something my wife had before we married. It is simple, rustic and even elegant. It will always have a place in our home. There might be other pieces, especially distressed pieces in a shaker/milk paint look that I might add some day. But in the meantime, I’ll continue to build my oak kitchen (sigh), my maple wet bar, and all the other smaller but no less complex projects that I’ve started recently! :)

-- jay,

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Craftsman on the lake

2791 posts in 3437 days

#8 posted 12-11-2012 01:14 AM

Here we pass by pine furniture. I’m actually at the point of when I see some nice work with high end techniques and it’s in pine I feel sad that someone wasted their talent on it.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2970 days

#9 posted 12-11-2012 01:23 AM

This may be slightly off the subject, but it’s still related, I think.
I’ve had some “nice” furniture made in pine. It was during the 70s and all us boomers were in our 20s and 30s and the big thing was earthyness. (that a word?) Every body was growing gardens, reading Mother Earth News, and Fox Fire books and wearing Earth Shoes and heating our houses with Earth Stoves and building solar water heaters and such. I got married in 71 and my wife and I got our first house and we bought a living room set that included a coffee table and an end table and chair and couch arms and legs that were big, thick, dark stained and distressed. Oh, and a big old rocker with a seat that must have been 2 1/2” thick, also dark stained pine. But, none of this stuff was intended to look like pine. It all looked like dark walnut.

None of that furniture had any knots visable. In fact, it had very fine straight grain as near as I can remember. Could it have been quarter sawn? Is there any advantage to quarter sawing pine?

View Holbs's profile


1867 posts in 2028 days

#10 posted 12-11-2012 01:28 AM

If i were to re-do my standard issue tract house kitchen, i would opt for pine. As it has a warm feeling associated with nostalgia, country, 1800’s era of baking apple pies on a sunny day.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter

View bhog's profile


2236 posts in 2689 days

#11 posted 12-11-2012 01:40 AM

I think pine is fine.Clear pine in my area is $3.50 – $3.80 a bf. so its not necessary a “cheap” wood here.

-- I don't drive a Prius.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3108 days

#12 posted 12-11-2012 01:48 AM

I think that Pine gets a bad rap because of confusion with SPF. In most home centers, the pine that is sold comes in two varieties, crap that looks ramrodded with the forklift or expensive stuff that was milled to pristine shape. Unfortunately, oftentimes it isn’t really pine, but spruce and fir, which are very different animals.

I occasionally pick up southern yellow pine from the lumberyard and my appreciation for the stuff has increased. It is versatile, has beautiful grain, and makes for some very lovely projects. So if your opinion is based on what you see at the big box stores, give pine another look. I concur with the poster, it can be beautiful stuff.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3157 days

#13 posted 12-11-2012 01:48 AM

When my parents finished building their house back in 2000, my father had finished out all the interior in pine. It looks okay, but it is something that has that homemade look to it. Much of that comes from my dad’s sense of what’s “good enough” as well as his skillset, but being pine, it’s really easy to see every little flaw or overly rounded/sanded corners. That was always my feeling with working pine myself. I felt that it was too easy make it look sorta meh.

Then you use hardwood, with a crispness that’s so much different that you feel like you really have a chance to master the wood as opposed to it dictating what it wants to do. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it’s the reason why I fell in love with woodworking again…there’s a feel to these other woods that makes me feel better than I probably am.

-- jay,

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2074 days

#14 posted 12-11-2012 02:53 AM

Hmmmm – I’m rather fond of pine as well. It’s inexpensive, readily available, and inexpensive.
Did I mention it was inexpensive?

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View shampeon's profile


1775 posts in 2182 days

#15 posted 12-11-2012 03:27 AM

I have a great fondness for pine and red oak, two woods that everyone seems to hold their nose around. I love fancier woods, too, and my favorite wood in the world is probably claro walnut. But usually when I hear someone say “pine is just boring and uninspriring” I think they mean “pine is so common and inexpensive that nobody puts any thought into designing the piece to highlight pine’s good traits.”

Take a look at how Japanese woodworkers design their softwood pieces, for an example of how pine can shine on its own terms.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

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