Pine trees are considered a softwood tree, which means the wood is softer than hardwood varieties. Pine trees grow around the world, not just in the U.S. Pine has a great deal of stiffness and resistance to shock, which makes it a solid choice for many furniture pieces. Pine tends to be easier to work with during the furniture building stage due to its softer nature.
pine furniture has been around for some time. Traditionally, pine was used for Colonial, rustic and craftsman style pieces. That is changing, with pine working for a variety of furniture styles, including contemporary pieces.
Pine is light in color, usually with a creamy white look, although the specific shade can vary somewhat. Some varieties produce a very white color. Others lean toward a yellowish look. The light color makes pine easy to stain to achieve nearly any color you want, or you can simply use a clear coat to protect the wood while letting the natural light color take center stage. Pine also has a prominent grain with knots darker than the wood itself, which gives it a distinct look.
While pine is very different, it is a good choice for furniture, depending on your purpose. pine is a strong, shock-resistant material suitable for furniture, particularly if you like the rustic or country styles. Over time, pine gains a patina that gives it an antique-like quality, which is an appealing look to some people. The dents and dings that are bound to show up in the wood just add to that aged look.
Pine furniture comes with its own set of pros and cons, depending on your needs. Consider the following pros of pine wood furniture:
Price: Pine furniture is often much cheaper than oak versions of the same pieces. The fast growth of pine trees is the main reason for this price difference. Pine trees take less care and have a shorter time to market, which enables growers to sell the wood at a lower price. If you’re focused primarily on price, pine is an attractive option.
Color: Because of its light color, pine furniture fits in well with other furnishings in your home. It has a versatile look that also pairs well with various wall colors, patterns and other details in your décor.
Options to change the color: Pine is an easy wood to stain to achieve your desired color. This gives you a wide variety of finish options, including stain and paint. You can also stick with the natural color by opting for a clear coat. Pine takes various finishes well, so you get quality results no matter what finish option you choose.
Stiffness: Pine is a very stiff wood. This makes it durable and strong when used in furniture. It’s not quite as strong as oak, but it does still offer durability.
Lighter in weight: While furniture made from pine is still moderately heavy and sturdy, it is lighter than oak. That lighter weight is a pro when it comes to moving furniture pieces. Rearranging your furniture is easier with the lower weight, so consider pine if you like to change up the look of your room.
Shock resistance: Pine is resistant to shock, which helps minimize the damage of impact.
Distinctive look: Pine has a very distinct look with its dark knots and light wood color. If this style fits your preferences, that distinct look is a benefit worth considering.
Less environmental impact: Because pine trees grow so quickly, the trees that are cut down are soon replaced with new growth. Pine trees grow well on plantations or farms with little impact on natural habitats, whereas oak used in furniture typically comes from old growth forests.
Resistant to shrinking and swelling: While any wood can shrink and swell due to differences in humidity and temperature, pine is resistant to the damage. By minimizing that shrinking and swelling, pine retains its original shape.
There are also some cons to consider with pine furniture. Some of those potential negatives include:
Less style versatility: While pine can work for most styles, it does tend to lean more toward a country or rustic look. If you prefer a more modern style, you may find pine doesn’t fit your tastes.
Increased signs of wear: Pine does have a stiff quality about it, but the wood doesn’t offer as much strength and resistance to wear as oak wood does. Pine can dent and scratch easily. If you’re planning to keep the piece indefinitely, oak is likely a better choice.
More maintenance: Because of its tendency to scratch, get damaged and gain a patina over time, pine often requires more maintenance than oak. If you don’t mind the aged look, you can get by with less maintenance. However, if you want to retain the pine furniture’s original condition, you may need to refinish the piece and repair the damage that occurs.
Potential for excessive knots: When choosing pine furniture, watch for knots, particularly if they form a hole into the furniture. Excessive knotting can cause weakness in the furniture. Choose a reputable manufacturer to ensure you purchase a piece with quality construction.
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