Unruly Pine

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Forum topic by uMinded posted 09-15-2014 04:43 AM 1007 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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115 posts in 1881 days

09-15-2014 04:43 AM

Topic tags/keywords: pine moisture hand tools

I took a trip to Windsor Plywood and picked up some clear pine to practice dovetailing on. I ask what species they stock and they said “whatever is available at the commodities price”, One worker said he believed it was western white pine (I’m in Saskatchewan).

I took it home and was just messing around with it to discover that it was horrible to use!

The problems where that the wood would squish, tug, and flake all in the same 1” x 1” space! I used a Veritas PM-V11 chisel and a japanese dozuki and both left horrible results. Just to check my tools I made a small router plane with the exact same tools out of some very dry hard maple and they cut great.

I have just recently stopped using MDF and SPF construction lumber for projects and am learning hand tools but I was not expecting whole woods to be so finicky. Out of the softwoods pine is the cheapest and tons of furniture is made out of it.

Anybody experience this with pine before? Are the possibly quite wet (They are stored with decent air circulation indoors at windsor plywood).

Also, what is a good wood to learn to saw strait and dovetailing on?

3 replies so far

View TheFridge's profile


9608 posts in 1515 days

#1 posted 09-15-2014 04:58 AM

Pine may be cheap, but being soft isn’t always good.

I know my chisels are as sharp as they can possibly be if they will cut endgrain pine.

I’d recommend getting some small pieces of hardwood. It may be harder but it will shear instead of doing all the things you don’t want it too.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View JADobson's profile


1071 posts in 2140 days

#2 posted 09-15-2014 05:35 AM

+1 on getting a piece of hardwood to practice on.

Off topic, where in SK are you from? I’m in Saskatoon.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View uMinded's profile


115 posts in 1881 days

#3 posted 09-15-2014 11:50 AM

I know my chisels are as sharp as they can possibly be if they will cut end grain pine.

Why is end grain pine so difficult to sever? Is it just so soft that it deflects before cutting? My chisels are razor sharp as I ran my finger on the edge after getting frustrated at the pine and 5min later realized I was bleeding profusely…

I saw a clearance rack with rough flats of warped, cracked hardwoods (Cherry, Ash, Maple) for peanuts that I could cut into strips and machine down for practice. I was going to make a tool chest out of 7/8” pine boards from Chris Shwartz’s book but now I’m unsure.

One thing to note is I bought a 10” x 3/4” pine panel from Home Depot last summer that must be southern yellow pine and it has cupped nearly 3/4” of an inch! Our outdoor humidity can vary from 35-85%

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