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Western White Pine

Machining methods

Machining methods

Although pines are considered softwoods, some species are harder than others. And that's the case with western white pine. The wood rates as 30 percent harder than eastern white pine, and although you can successfully work it with hand or power tools, be sure you keep all tool cutting edges sharp.

  • Unlike many other species of pine, western white pine boards have little pitch in them to build up on your saw blade. Still, it does occur, so avoid the burning and blade wander that accompanies gum buildup by using a Teflon-coated blade or occasionally cleaning the blade with steel wool dampened with acetone.
  • This wood doesn't splinter easily, but a backing board helps reduce the chance when routing across the grain.
  • Due to the hardness of western white pine, you'll want to drill pilot holes for screws.
  • The better grades of western white pine will only have small, tight knots known as "pin knots." They won't fall out, but to prevent bleed-through, you should seal them with shellac before applying a clear or painted finish.
  • If you plan to stain the wood, first put on a sealer coat of wood conditioner or diluted shellac (cut 50 percent with denatured alcohol) to prevent unevenness of the stain color.

Continued on page 6:  Carving comments


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