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Any idea what this timber is?

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Peri

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I found a couple of table legs under my dads shed. He's been gone 20 odd years now, and he would never of dreamed of buying 'new' timber, so these were either given to him, or it was a skip/tip find.

They've been sat in my shed for about 5 years, I didn't think they were anything special until today when I took a plane to one of them.

They are incredibly dense. One piece measures 54x6x6cm and weighs 1825g, so around 0.9g/cm3 (google tells me teak and rosewood are around that).

Any ideas?



 

Peri

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Thanks :) . I don't think I've seen this before.
Google says its a common American species, here in the UK maybe not so common.
 

MikeG.

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Yep, pitch pine. It was really common here once upon a time. I wish it were still so readily available.
 

That would work

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Our house doors and staircase handrail and spindles (boxed in in tastefully painted hardboard by some clown in the 70's I guess) are made of it, it's lovely stuff and has a wonderful odour. I wonder if it's still obtainable?
 

lurker

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That would work":1mzerl2a said:
Our house doors and staircase handrail and spindles (boxed in in tastefully painted hardboard by some clown in the 70's I guess)
You can blame Barry Bucknell for that! :D :D
 

Trevanion

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You don't really see it anymore anywhere except for buildings that are over 60-70 years old. If kept well it lasts very nicely as there are many exterior doors and windows made from it that are over 100 years old that are still going strong. I don't really know why you can't get it anymore because it was clearly very abundant from the 1800s to the mid-1900s, did we just run out of trees? Of course, you get some idiots that seem to confuse pitch pine for the fast-grown pines you can get today from europe and will make windows out of that thinking and claiming that it will last 1000 years so long as you use all the traditional methods they did in 1066 to put in a window because "Pine is what they used to use and they lasted fine". Tearing them out after 5 years or so :lol:

I tore out and replaced a couple of 1.2m x 5m tall chapel windows recently that was made from pitch pine which had totally rotted out, my guess is they were original to the chapel which was built in 1817 but the chapel was refurbished not too long ago (Probably 40 years or so ago) with some form of cement-based pebbledash on that side of the church which I think in combination with leaky gutters hyper-accelerated the rot. The other side of the church which still had the original rendering on it was completely fine, no rot whatsoever.
 

Peri

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I can believe it lasts a good long time - I was amazed by how dense it is. I have pieces of oak and mahogany here of the same approximate size, and that piece of pine must be getting on for twice as heavy. At first I thought there must've been a steel rod down the middle of it !

And the comment about the odour was spot on. I cut the ends off and it smelt like the wood had only been standing a month.
 

Ttrees

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I thought pitch pine was just the really knotty stuff that is used for timber ceilings.
You guys got another name for it?
I salvaged an old painted handrail from it before as I thought it might have been a hardwood, and was quite surprised to get an extremely strong vicks odour when cutting it.

I thought it may have been douglas fir or southern yellow pine, guessing it's not the same species then?

I have rived bolt salvaged from a large structural beam, if the beatles haven't had at it allready.
most of the rest of it was eaten as was in a very wet environment and was very mushy.

Might make an interesting soundboard, if quite a bit on the heavy side.
If nothing else it was an absolute delight to easily rive into bolts, and will make good practice for resawing.

I hope some more folks have a bit more info on this species.
Thanks guys
 

Jonathan S

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Pitch pine must of been common back in the 1800's so much of it has been pulled out of old buildings and sacrificed, I remember my grandfather had an old super 8 file of himself pulling an old chapel down....all the pews he saved and stored in the carpenters shop and where only used on family jobs....my thought is that the changes to our climate has made Pitch pine unsuitable for growth in UK? or is it just not commercially viable a anymore?

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yetloh

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Pinus rigida, not extinct by any stretch but, I guess not grown commercially. By pine standards it is not huge, classed as a small to medium sized tree, so commercially there are better candidates for replanting. It's native to N. America, so I guess it was felled and where replanting took place it was with something else. In my experience, not knotty at all and with very straight grain. I have seen some with very close growth rings indicating slow growth. Probably one of the most resinous of woods, I have one piece which appears to be almost solid resin and is very heavy indeed.

I made a kitchen trolley from it out of floorboards from 1920's mental hospital. Lovely stuff.

Jim
 

pitch pine

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It is fantastic timber pitch pine. My experience of using a fair bit of it is how variable it can be, and I think that timber originally marketed as pitch pine came from several separate species of pine. I have used pieces that will sink in water and when you cut into the end grain it looks like plastic. You also spend a lot of time cleaning the pitch off your tools. The smell is amazing, if you get the chance to use some do.
 

Trevanion

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Of course we’ve got a forum member called pitch pine, pitching in on the pitch pine discussion. What else is there left to surprise me about this forum? :lol:
 

Osvaldd

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my rake handle/stick is made from this stuff, I always assumed it was plywood because of how uniform and straight the grain is. lovely.
 

Ttrees

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Thanks Sunnybob and the rest of you's
I will dig further into it. :D
I got it wrong, it was lodgepole pine that I was thinking about, what looks to be used for ceilings.
I'm not even sure if that's definitely the species, its so full of knots that I got the name confused.
Sorry folks :oops:
Cheers
Tom
 

Keith 66

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Southern yellow pine, Longleaf Yellow pine, is one of the finest boatbuilding woods going, I read an article in wooden boat magazine about it a few years ago & the pine cones need fire to open them, no fires = no new seedlings.
As many have said it is highly resinous & its worth remembering with the most resinous timber that machining it can cause you severe problems. Its simply that the resin & sawdust will clog saw teeth & feed rollers on planers to the extent they will literally jam up. One piece i attempted to thickness the machine planed for three feet before becoming hopelessly jammed, i ended up planing it by wiping the sole of a hand plane with linseed oil every other stroke.
It was often used for large vat & tank staves & i have some from a tanning works that is well over 150 years old, cut the top 6mm off & its like new.
My favorite cigar box guitar has a pitch pine neck & its strong & stable & im sure its properties give it its good tone.
 

Peri

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I've just been in touch with Sykes Timber in Atherstone - one of the many woods they stock is Honduras Pitch Pine :)
 

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