The South's hardest-working softwood You probably know longleaf pine best as treated boards and posts for decks and fences, or as dimension lumber for building construction. Yet in the past, longleaf pine played other serious roles, too. Along with its cousin pitch pine, longleaf pine was an important contributor to the United States' naval stores' industry. The trees' pitch or gum was collected, then distilled into turpentine and resin, which was used in the manufacture of paint, varnish, shoe polish, printing ink, and other products. Longleaf pine also admirably served as flooring, interior trim, and millwork such as doors and windows in grand homes throughout the Southeast and Deep South. The hard, heavy wood stood up well to abuse and looked great at the same time. Too, because longleaf pine has superior strength for a softwood, it was sawn into large beams and girders for use in bridges, trestles, and other heavy construction. Today, this once-prominent species of the original southern pine forest has made a comeback. Not only is it a mainstay for the treated-wood and construction industry, but it's finding its way into cabinetry, doors, windows, and other architectural elements.
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