Tips for Working with Pine

January 5, 2016

Tips to ensure your pine woodwork projects are flawless

Pine really has gotten the raw end of the deal because it’s a tricky wood to work with and because it’s considered the common denominator in the world of building. However, when using it properly and treating it well, pine is particularly popular for those more elegant and classic styles. If you know how to work with it, you can produce some extremely beautiful pieces that can be enjoyed for years to come.

Moist Pine

For the most part pine retains moisture, which is why it is dried before construction, and even then, it still holds onto some condensation. For this reason, it is used the moment it arrives on site, as to prevent warping and bowing. In the case of finer woodworking plans, you will want to look carefully through stock at your local pine timber supplier for pieces that have been sufficiently dried out, before undertaking any detailed work. If the pieces are not entirely dry, leave them to dry out. This may take a few months and you may find them warping, but if you’re using it for smaller projects, that’s nothing a planer can’t sort out.

Ditch the Pitch

Pitch is pine tar, a residue left behind on the blades of woodworking tools. If your wood is too moist you may find yourself having to clean your tools a lot to ensure the cutting remains smooth, without any hitches. Sufficiently dried pine won’t leave as much residue, but you can’t avoid it. So, regardless of the moisture content, keep a good quality all-purpose cleaner nearby, and get into the habit of cleaning your blade every few slices to ensure smooth, precision cutting.

Sharpen Your Tools

Wiping the pitch off blunt tools is a pointless exercise because you’re still going to cause damage to the pine with blunt blades. Due to the softness of pine trees, you won’t be able to cut accurately and may find your blade actually crushing and pushing through the wood, effectively pulling at it, which will ruin it. Regular sharpening, cutting, cleaning off pitch, in regularity will keep the work easy and the wood clean, making it a cinch for you to get the job done, nicely.

Avoiding Scratches & Dents

Avoid denting and scratching the pine by cleaning all work surfaces. If you’re working with a large piece of wood then lie it down on a clean piece of board on the floor, protecting it from any small shavings, etc. which could cause imperfections. If you do happen to cause any dents or scratches, these can be removed with a planer, but you don’t want to keep shaving down the wood as you will start to lose the shape. Work clean.

The Finishing Touch

Once your woodworking project is complete, you will want to ensure you finish it off correctly. If the wood is still slightly wet, you will need to wait for it to dry out completely before applying any conditioning or sealing products. Ensure that all joins and counter-holes are caulked correctly. If the wood is dry, then use a pre-stain conditioner as this will allow a consistent stain across the entire piece of wood.

These few tips will make working with various pine products a lot easier, and the results will be pleasantly surprising. Get the right wood from the specialists, use the right tools and remember to be patient with the drying. Once it’s dry, you’re ready to produce some fine art.