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Between Every Two Pines is a Doorway to a New World

This blog title is a quote from John Muir who was perhaps this country's most famous and influential naturalist. 

Muir had a way with words, and Arbor Upcycle has a way with wood!

Did you know there are over 100 species of pine? These vary greatly in hardness, density, and usability. Though pine is generally softer than hardwood, many pine species compare to hardwoods in terms of strength.

Pine is one of the most economically important trees found in North America. It is primarily used for furniture, lumber, turpentine, and pulp and was traditionally utilized by Native Americans. The sap was used to waterproof canoes and glued feathers to arrows. The inner bark was an ingredient for bread and its seeds were a food source.

Dating back to the pre-Revolutionary period, Eastern white pines from colonial New England were superior timber for the single-stick masts for shipbuilding. To maintain Britain's naval and trading advantage, laws were passed in North America to protect selected white pines for British shipbuilding.

The Pine Tree Riot was a test of the British royal authority. This is partially evident by the light fines exacted against the rioters. Some believe this to be an inspiring act for the Boston Tea Party.

Pine species commonly used for lumber purposes grow taller than any other cone species in North America. However, there is a significant difference between farmed and naturally growth pine stands. Farmed varieties have fast growth rates and are placed in environments focused on growth rates rather than the production of the strongest lumber. Naturally, the trees grow slowly to achieve great ages and heights. The Great Basin bristlecone pine is acknowledged as the longest living tree species on earth with verified measurements of 5066 years! Sugar pine trees standing more than 270 feet have been found North America.

Reclaimed Uses

Pine is often reclaimed from historic structures in the form of hand hewn timbers and beams, dimensional lumber, barn siding, and flooring:

Hand Hewn Timbers: Identified by deep hewing marks or by a clean hewn look, the process for making would shave the wood clean or leave a noticeable scar from a deep cut, as pine is soft.

Dimensional Lumber: Pine dimensional lumber can be reclaimed from the interior framing of historic structures.

Barn Siding: Barn wood siding made of is extremely popular as it is frequently available in long pieces. If varies in color from unpainted weather grey to traditional red. Pine siding can be dried and milled for both internal and external uses. It installs easily because of its light weight, compared to hardwood siding.

Flooring: Pine siding and timbers often are milled in to flooring, but it is not requested as often because it is less durable compared to hardwood flooring.


Heart Pine

The non-living center of a tree trunk is heartwood, referred to as heart pine. The sapwood is the outer living layer which transports nutrients. Currently, heart pine for building and woodworking is obtained by reclaiming old lumber and recovering logs, that fell or were felled before 1900 from rivers.

Longleaf Pine

Longleaf pine is the source of much of the available heart pine found on the U.S. market. Longleaf pine forests were abundant along the coastal plain from Virginia's southern tip to eastern Texas before the 1700s. Due to the deforestation since the colonial period, only about 3% of the original longleaf pine forests remain. Only a few new trees have been planted although some can be found in Texas.

Once the most useful wood for construction in America, longleaf pine was used in factories and warehouses built during the Industrial Revolution. Taking 200 to 400 years to mature, the trees were slow-growing, tall, and straight. They a natural ability to resist mold and insects and produce a yellow, resinous wood. The stumps and taproots of old trees become saturated with resin and resist rot.

In old growth pine the heartwood of the trunk is often saturated. Boards cut from this wood are heavy and rot resistant, but quite flammable requiring careful use.

Choosing reclaimed wood from Arbor Upcycle is the best source for your special piece or project.

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