Eastern White Pine Tips for New Woodworkers

Pine is pine, right? Not quite. Different species of pine trees can produce very different qualities in lumber, so they’re not all suitable for the same uses. Southern yellow pine, for instance, has a high load-bearing capacity, but it can be difficult to work with, and if you want to stain it, results can be unpredictable. Deal pine, which is often imported from Europe, has very pronounced grain and rings.

Eastern white pine (pinus strobus), on the other hand, has a more delicate grain, excellent strength for its weight and a fine texture ideal for detailed woodworking. It’s used for both structural and secondary purposes, from timber frame houses and barns to fine millwork and cabinetry.

A lightweight softwood, Eastern White Pine dries very quickly with little risk of warp or checking. The sapwood, which makes up most of the tree, is a lovely pale yellow-white that darkens naturally with exposure to sunlight, but also takes stain nicely. Affordable and readily available, it’s used extensively in all facets of woodworking and carpentry. If you’re new to woodworking and want to give it a shot, here are some tips to get the best results possible.

Source your Eastern White Pine straight from lumberyards, if you can, where it has been professionally dried and stored, and look for clean, straight stock. It’s best if you give your lumber some time to acclimate to your shop environment after purchase, which will make it stronger, drier and more stable when you’re ready to use it. Keep your work surface free of debris to avoid unwanted dents, but if you do have a dent or two, just position a damp cloth over the spot and heat it with an iron for a few seconds to allow the fibers to swell back into place.

Eastern White Pine absorbs stain easily, which is a great quality, but you’ll want to finely sand the end grain to keep its color even with the rest of the wood. Use good quality stains and consider using a pre-stain conditioner for the most even results. If you’re worried about resin, you can buy small pieces of pine from craft suppliers that are already cut and milled to size, but the sap wipes up with a dab of “Simple Green” or commercial pitch and resin remover. 

“When people are learning to use hand tools, I often recommend that they start with Eastern white pine, and here is why,” says Vic Tesolin of Fine Woodworking.

“Pine is soft. Because of this this softness, you need an extremely sharp blade to cut it well. A dull chisel will mash its way through pine but only a keen edge will slice through it, leaving a clean, crisp surface. Having sharp chisels for any woodworking task is critical and the best way to ensure that your sharpening game is up to snuff is to trying paring pine. If you can flawlessly pare pine, you can pare anything and should get clean surfaces.”

Check out some amazing examples of intricately carved Eastern White Pine by Mendota Mantels.

More tips for working with Eastern White Pine:


Traditional Woodworking Goes High-Tech with Software & CNC Routers

Woodworker Norman Pease, who began his career in 1985 and founded his Pennsylvania custom millwork company in 2002, is taking his business into the 21st century. While the finely detailed works he produces will still be born of his own imagination and creativity, a new process of actually carving them will take a lot of strain off his hands (literally).

Pease has always carved the impressive works he creates for Three Gryphons Carving Studio the traditional way, with hand tools like chisels. Serving designers, architects and cabinetmakers, the woodworker recently switched to a three-axis ShopSabre CNC router with a 4 x 8 foot cutting table to keep up with all the requests he was getting for custom relief work, turning and engraving.

“At this stage, I actually had too much demand for the amount of time available, so I was turning away work”, he told Woodworking Network. “I was new to CNC machining and I started from nothing. I didn’t know how to draw on a computer, I didn’t know how to use CAD, I never ran a CNC router before and the machine had to hit the ground running in terms of making money straight away.”

“As I had never used any other CAD/CAM software, I spoke to a lot of people about different software programs to drive the router and EnRoute was the name that kept popping up,” he said. “Those recommendations from other EnRoute users, and a price point a couple of thousand dollars less than some solutions from other competitors made it seem like a sensible option.”

The software even lets him ensure that the final works won’t be “too perfect,” lacking the little details that add personality and a human touch. A feature called “distort toolpaths” gives the carving a rugged look. What used to take a week to finish can now be done in as little as five hours, and while the machine is running, Pease can work on other projects.

Looking at the woodworker’s portfolio of past creations on Facebook, it’s clear that he’s always been skilled enough to produce finely wrought detail, so the use of these tools hasn’t markedly changed the character of his work. Some people may mourn what the adoption of CNC routers and CAD could mean for skilled woodworking in the future, and that’s a legitimate concern. But it’s nice to know that they’ll allow woodworkers like Pease to boost production and hopefully make more money, too.

Simple Beauty: Minimalist Wing Shelving System Creates Endless Compositions


Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the best ones. Case in point: the Wing Shelving System by Estúdio Parrado, a modular series that makes use of perforated pine planks and clever metal brackets for easy customization. The CNC-cut holes in the shelves let you attach the brackets in all sorts of configurations so they can be mounted to the wall and connected to each other in any arrangement you like. No drilling, no cutting, no fussing around with overly complicated parts.

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The use of perforated pine in this product is brilliant, and we love that they left it raw so its natural beauty can shine.

The Wing Shelf was designed to be gently integrated to the interiors. Taking advantage of modularity, its pieces form subtle and dynamic connections, generating an infinity of geometric compositions. Its perforated base allows the variation of the brackets position, which makes each choice a unique creation.”

The shelf’s design aims to provide to the users a customization experience by giving them the possibility of creating their own compositions. Adding this to the fact that the piece was built in a very simple and transparent constructive system where the user can assemble the structure himself and chose the brackets positions, we may establish once more a connection between user and product, in a way he becomes an essential part of the process.”

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The winner of an A’ Design Award, the Wing Shelving System can be purchased on the Estúdio Parrado website. It’s also easy to imagine coming up with a similar DIY design that nixes the metal in favor of using all wood, though the shape of the brackets is especially pleasing here, and adds a lot to the final look.

The Holidays are Here! 7 Gift Ideas Made From Sustainable Eastern White Pine

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Feel great about the gifts you’re giving this holiday season when you choose handcrafted items made from sustainably sourced Eastern White Pine. Not only are these gifts gorgeous and environmentally friendly, they’re built to last, and they’ll only grow more beautiful with use and age. This list of seven gift ideas includes an awesome slingshot for kids, furniture items your loved ones will treasure, casual items for friends and acquaintances and the perfect vessel for custom gift baskets.

Handmade Chevron Eastern White Pine Doormat

Handmade Chevron White Pine Doormat

There’s no doubt that this doormat makes a stellar first impression! Handmade in the U.S.A. of 100% sustainable eastern white pine by a Vermont-based family business, this gorgeous piece features slats cut in a V-shaped chevron design to capture dirt and leaves from your shoes and look great doing it. Each mat is held together with 100 galvanized steel nails for strength and durability. It’s available in natural, barn red, mountain green or slate grey.

Triplets: White Pine Puzzles Made in Maine

Triplets Puzzle Sculptures

Get a set of three sweet baby animal sculptures in puzzle form from In the Woods Maine. Made of sustainably harvested white pine in central Maine, the sets feature all sorts of species from the animal kingdom: whales, alligators, beavers, dolphins, kangaroos, cats and more. Pretty cute, huh?

Maine White Pine Kitchen & Beverage Tote

Maine White Pine Tote 1

This handy tote by Quercus Woodworking is handmade in Alfred, Maine by fourth-generation woodworker John Ibsen using sustainably harvested white pine. It holds a six pack of standard-sized bottles “and also doubles as a kitchen companion for holding your favorite cooking oils, utensils, etc.” It includes a rustic-style bottle opener and is finished with tung oil.

Solid Wood & Leather Slingshot

Solid Wood Slingshot

Got an adventurous kiddo on your list? This cute slingshot by Solid Manufacturing Co is handmade of 100% sustainably harvested white pine and vegetable-tanned leather. Designed for kids 10 and over, this slingshot is made well enough to pass down over generations.

Murphy-Style Folding Arts & Crafts Work Station

Eastern White Pine folding craft table

Know somebody who could use some extra crafting space, but has limited room in their home? This fold-down workstation and storage shelf takes inspiration from Murphy beds, and it’s gorgeous in its simplicity, too. Handcrafted in South Carolina by third generation master woodworker Clint Gray using solid eastern white pine, it’s perfect for sewing, painting, drawing, working on a computer or even dining for two.

Handmade Harvest Moon Bench
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The Fable Porch Series by small North Carolina business March Legend is made of 100% renewable or reclaimed wood sources and finished with Vermont Natural Coatings. The Harvest Bench is crafted from – you guessed it – sustainably harvested eastern white pine, and it’s fully customizable.

Colonial Pine Baskets

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Putting together gift baskets to show your appreciation this holiday season? Consider solid wood Eastern White Pine crates, made in the U.S.A. of sustainably sourced lumber. The Colonial Pine Basket from Master Gourmet Packaging in South Shore, Massachusetts is a gift in its own right, easy to paint or stain if you want to give it a custom look, and an ideal way to set off the items you’ve chosen to put inside. It comes in a wide variety of sizes, and you can also have the company dye or stamp it for you or add handles to the sides.

Design with Pine: Kitchen Cabinet Inspiration Gallery

Minacciolo Modern Knotty Pine Kitchen

Need a little visual inspiration to add some spark to your kitchen remodel daydreams? Check out this collection of gorgeous pine kitchen cabinets in a variety of styles, from modern and industrial to rustic lake houses to beach cottages in Miami. Whether it’s just sealed with protective coat, stained dark or painted, pine remains a classic choice for kitchen cabinets, floors, islands and so many other applications.

Modern Knotty Pine Kitchen by Minacciolo

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The ‘Natural Skin’ kitchen by Minacciolo blends warm, textural knotty pine with sleek stainless steel to spectacular effect. The heat-treated wood is protected with an impregnating varnish that allows the raw wood to shine through.

Heart Pine at Briar Creek Farm by Robert McCain

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This country kitchen in Charleston, South Carolina by Robert McCain has a high-end yet folksy and approachable mood thanks to cabinetry and a free-standing hutch made of heart pine.

Privathaus 8 by AREA

Privathaus 8

The simple cabinets in the modern ‘Privathaus 8’ by AREA are pleasantly knotty, blending into a melange of other wood species.

Eastern White Pine Kitchen in Toronto by Kelly Baron

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A rustic lake house in Toronto designed by L.A.-based Kelly Baron feels both cozy and contemporary with pine cabinetry finished off by modern hardware.

Pine ‘Music Barn’ Kitchen by Birdseye Design

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‘Music Barn’ by Vermont’s Birdseye Design is a rustic retreat for musicians set within a beautifully remodeled original barn structure from the 1890s. The designers used salvaged pine from the barn and re-milled it into the cabinetry, trim, doors and architectural woodworking.

Modern Knotty Pine Kitchen by Coblonal Arquitectura

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Coblonal Arquitectura created this beautiful pale pine home in the tiny European nation of Andorra, using the material for cabinetry, ceilings, wall planks, the dining table and more.

Dramatic Knotty Pine Kitchen Cabinets by Bates Masi Architects

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Knotty Pine adds some serious punch to the Noyack Creek House by Bates Masi Architects, a restful retreat on a tidal estuary in New York.

Matching Pine Flooring & Cabinets by Hull Forest Products

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This bright, beachy home in Miami, Florida brings in a touch of nature with rustic modern cabinets that match the wide-plank Eastern White Pine flooring from Hull Forest Products.

Watch an Expert Woodworker Carve Perfect Fibonacci Spirals with a Hand Chisel

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Woodworking is a prime example of how math is used in real-life scenarios, proving that these skills are useful long beyond test-taking in school. Woodworkers often have to learn all sorts of formulas and calculations to get the proportions of their creations just right – but the Fibonacci sequence – a series of numbers in which each one is the sum of the two numbers before it – isn’t seen quite as often as others. When you make a square with these widths (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 and so on…) you get a beautiful spiral.

fibonacci sequence

In this short but immensely satisfying video, expert woodworker Paul Sellers shows us what it takes to create perfect Fibonacci spirals with a razor-sharp hand chisel.

Though Fibonacci developed his numerical sequence to provide a formula that’s used throughout many mathematical considerations, and mathematicians may enjoy its reality in their work, it also occurs naturally in elements of nature too. The nautilus shell is an example and so too the natural numbering system appears in the arrangement of plant leaves, pinecones, pineapple cones, rose petal arrangements and so much more. The scroll in the violin range of instruments relies on the same system. Though technically not a Fibonacci sequence, I thought you would enjoy what we put together here where we combine the art of woodworking with the art of video craft. Enjoy and share!

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