Pinewood is a light, soft wood that is one of the most prevalent types of wood in the United States. Because of this, the pine industry is large, and has been for hundreds of years. The process of changing a stately pine tree into useable wood that is seen at lumberyards is a long process with many different steps along the way.
Pine wood was used for the vast majority of early building in the United States due to it’s vast presence in the northern United States. Over 70 million acres were home to pine trees. Earliest pine logging started near the 1700s. The pine trees were cut down and transported by horse. Later rivers were used to transport pine logs from one place to another. By the late 1800s, pine logging was a huge empire that used horses, railways and rivers to transport from one place to another. The logs were taken to saw mills to be cut into boards and blocks for home and furniture making.
Modern logging is done in a similar manner to the first logging styles. However, the modern conveniences of vehicles and industrialized saw mills makes the job much easier. Because it takes between 20 and 100 years to grow a pine tree large enough for use in woodworking, the pine forests are much more managed now than they were in the past, to prevent pine trees from becoming completely wiped out. Large trucks are the most used method of transporting logs to the saw mills.
Saw mills are designed to transform each pine tree into a usable form of wood, whether for flooring, planks, furniture or any other use. Saw mills strip the bark from the logs, and cut the trees into planks or blocks of wood. The process that a saw mill uses to create the pine wood that is seen at lumberyards and construction stores is a multi-step process that takes wood from tree trunk to usable lumber.
Planks are made with several different machines. First, a band saw cuts the log into a square shape to prepare the wood for cutting into thin shapes. A gang saw cuts the squared logs into different sized boards, depending on the type of board being made. The boards are then carried off to be sorted by size and shape.
Pine wood is sorted by size and shape. Boards of a similar shape are tied together. Scrap wood is packaged for use with particleboard and other scrap projects. Some pine wood is left in chunks for use in furniture making, or even cut into small blocks for pinewood cars.
- pine-tree image by Maxim Prikhodko from Fotolia.com