Wood of the Week – Eastern White Pine

What is Eastern White Pine?

Eastern White Pine is one of the most commonly used woods in construction. It grows along the Eastern coast of North America and across to the great lakes. It is also grown in many plantations across it’s natural range.

The long, straight trunks of eastern white pine were once prized for use as ship masts. The King of England had a habit of reserving the biggest and best trees for use in his navy, which led to the Pine Tree Riot of 1772 and played a role in the events leading up to the Revolutionary War.

Why Choose Eastern White Pine?

One reason to choose Eastern White Pine is the low cost of the wood thanks largely to its fast growth and high availability. The grain tends to be straight and somewhat random with an even texture.

It can be found with a large number of knots or none at all (clear) and tends to communicate a warm and rustic feel. The wood is easy to work with and looks great in pretty much any situation.

Does White Pine have medicinal uses?

White pine has been used for generations as a natural herbal remedy. The Micmac used the inner bark and resins of white pine to heal coughs, bronchitis, laryngitis and chest congestion.

Are white pine seeds edible?

Some species of pine have nuts inside the mature cones that are large enough to eat. Eastern White pine has very small nuts, they can be eaten, but usually are too much effort to collect.

What animals eat the white pine?

Eastern white pine provides food and habitat for numerous wildlife species. Songbirds and small mammals eat eastern white pine seeds. Snowshoe hares, white-tailed deer, and cottontails browse the foliage; the bark is eaten by various mammals.

What animals live in white pine?

White pine seed is a food source for eastern chipmunk, gray squirrel, red squirrel, northern and southern flying squirrels, white-footed mouse, and red-backed vole.

Are white pines good for the environment?

High elevation white pine communities are valuable sources of food and cover for wildlife. Bears, squirrels, rodents, and birds are among a few who consume the extremely nutritional seeds and use the trees for cover.

Eastern White Pine in Woodworking

Because it is classified as a soft wood and, as such, bruises and dents rather easily, it is not an ideal species to be used for cabinets, vanities and furniture. However, Eastern White Pine has a wide variety of uses in woodworking such as structural lumber, wood carving, paneling, and even ship building.

Uses of Eastern White Pine

Among the important uses in structural lumber Eastern White Pine has other various uses in, making doors, door frames, frames of windows or sash, finish trim, knotty paneling, caskets and burial boxes, shade and map rollers, toys, matches and yes, some cabinets. This wood is not used in making electrical poles.

It is very easy to work with when using both hand tools and machinery. Pine also glues and finishes well but can be a tricky species to sand, as stained and painted finishes will accentuate any blemishes and sanding marks.

Contact us today to get started on your very own custom woodworking project with Eastern White Pine.