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Beginner's Guide To Pine Wood: Properties, Types, Best Uses And Tips for Care
Pine wood has become an attractive furniture option for homeowners following the Scandinavian and Nordic home interior trend. It’s highly customisable and able to accommodate a vast variety of colour palettes.
Because of its versatile nature, pine wood is also popular amongst DIY enthusiasts who enjoy its easy workability.
Read on to learn more about the properties of this furniture wood, its popular uses and how to care for it!
- Types of Pine Wood
- Properties of Pine Wood
- Popular Uses of Pine Wood
- Uses Pine Wood is Not as Suitable For
- How to Care and Maintain Pine Wood
- FAQs about Pine Wood
Types of Pine Wood
Pine is not a singular tree species, rather a broad category describing a group of conifers. There are many types to pick from with different properties. Here’s an introduction to some common types of pine used for furniture.
These types of pine are the densest amongst the various species. Their growth progresses from earlywood to latewood abruptly resulting in uneven grains in the lumber.
The following are common species of hard pines used for furniture and are all very similar in properties:
- Shortleaf Pine
- Slash Pine
- Longleaf Pine
- Loblolly Pine
These types of pine are characterised by wood with a low density, even grain, and a progressive earlywood to latewood development. There are three primary species of soft pine and there are distinctions in texture between them.
- Sugar Pine
- Western White Pine
- Eastern White Pine
The textures of these pine species differ based on the size of their resin canals. Sugar Pine is the coarsest followed by Western White Pine and Eastern White Pine, having the finest texture.
Properties of Pine Wood
Despite the myriad of different pine species, the wood that they yield is classified as softwood. Softwoods are more flexible than hardwoods because they are less dense. This allows for them to be used in a myriad of fixtures that hardwood would not be as suitable for.
Pine is comparatively stronger than many other softwoods with relatively high compressive strength, density, as well as bending strength than most other softwoods.
While it’s not a substitute for hardwoods where strength is a priority, it’s strong and durable to use for making furniture, panelling, window frames, roofing, and many other woodworks.
All pines fall under the softwood category. This means that it’s still prone to having scratches and dents because of low hardness. This is the main drawback of pine in comparison to hardwoods such as mahogany and teak.
However, with care and maintenance, a pine wood piece can last a long time at a fraction of the cost.
Pine occurs naturally in a light colour which makes it highly versatile as it can be easily customised to darker tones through staining. Even in its natural tone, it’s sought highly for Scandinavian interior themes.
Often, cheaper woods are stained to imitate more expensive counterparts like teak or mahogany. Pine stains well but has to be put through a meticulous process for best results. Its uneven and dense grain pattern makes it difficult for staining inks to penetrate it easily.
Furthermore, there are absorbent pockets scattered throughout the wood. This increases the risk of the staining inks to be absorbed unevenly, making the surface blotchy.
Nonetheless, specially formulated stains have been developed and are widely available so that you can have your pine furniture coloured to your liking.
Popular Uses of Pine Wood
Pine wood has become highly popular for its affordability and iconic role in Nordic and Scandinavian home decor themes. In addition, its softness makes it a great choice for beginner to advanced DIY projects.
While most people prefer to use hardwood for flooring, pressure-treated pine wood has emerged as an affordable alternative. If it’s well taken care of, its lifespan can be around 15 years or more.
The distinct wood grains in pine help break up the monotony of blocks of solid colour in a space. Paired with grey and pastel tones, a pine table top centrepiece has the perfect shade for adding that cosy minimalist feeling to your home.
Pine is one of the easiest woods to work with using both hand and machine tools. It glues and finishes well, making projects effortless to complete.
Its great workability eliminates the need to pre-drill to apply nails and screws. Nowadays pine wood planks are readily available for your project needs.
Uses Pine Wood is Not as Suitable For
While pine wood is widely beloved, there are downsides to the properties that give it versatility. The limitations to pine are not vast but they’re useful to know.
Pine wood is highly susceptible to mould and bacteria growth. This is due to its propensity to absorb and retain moisture in the environment. Its porous nature makes it unsuitable for outdoor furniture especially in humid and rainy climates.
The material easily warps, shrinking and swelling with the amount of moisture it contains. This weakens the joints of pine furniture and cracks the paint coating in a short time.
Hence, it’s recommended for pine to be used for indoor furniture to save the hassle of maintenance and also prolong the furniture piece’s beauty.
Pine wood contains a high amount of wood knots. These are the curves and bends in wood grain that give it visual appeal.
These knots can compromise the strength of the wood and can be worrisome when used for baby furniture like cots. However, this can be easily rectified by reinforcing it with stronger material giving you peace of mind along with the desired aesthetics.
Households with Pets
If you love having pets, pine might not be the best material for flooring and low furniture items. This increases the likelihood of your furniture being accidentally scratched and damaged.
Alternatives are to get slabs of pine as high tabletops, that way, you can have both your desired home decor theme and your furry friends.
How to Care and Maintain Pine Wood
It’s important that the wood doesn’t come into prolonged contact with moisture and liquids. So even when cleaning or polishing the pieces, make sure not to use a wet cloth.
Varnished Pine Wood
Wipe up any spills that happen as quickly as possible. Simply use a damp soft cloth and warm water with a bit of dishwashing liquid and wipe it down gently.
The varnish gives the wood added resistance to water and liquids, however, it’s still not recommended to expose it to circumstances such as condensation from cold glasses.
Unvarnished Pine Wood
Wipe your table surface with a damp cloth to remove surface dust and grime.
For tough stains:
If there are any tough stains, gently wipe the areas with the abrasive side of a household cleaning sponge. Be careful to scrub in the direction of the wood grain and not use anything too abrasive like steel wool.
For more stubborn stains:
If there are any remaining stubborn stains, use a mixture of a tablespoon of white distilled vinegar with about 150 ml of warm water in a spray bottle and spray it onto the affected areas. Wipe it down with a damp cloth or sponge and use a dry cloth to ensure no excess solution is left on the piece. For heavier cleaning, use a 50/50 vinegar and water solution.
Have sticky stains? Check out this guide on how to clean a sticky wooden table safe for varnished and unvarnished pine wood.
FAQs about Pine Wood
Does pine wood make good furniture?
Pine wood has become increasingly popular as a material choice for furniture for its affordability. It’s beautiful in its natural colour and is easy to customise by staining. It’s also relatively sturdy.
While pine may be prone to nicks and dents, it can last a long time with proper care.
Is pine wood hard or soft?
Pine is a very stiff softwood with relatively high compressive strength, density, and bending strength compared to most other softwoods. This makes it strong and durable to use for making furniture, panelling, window frames, roofing, and many other woodworks.
Even though pine wood is stronger than many other softwoods, it’s generally weaker than hardwoods.
Is pine wood good for pet households?
Pine wood scratches and dents easily, hence it’s not recommended for households with pets that have scratching tendencies. If you do wish to use pine in your home, consider it for areas your pet cannot reach.