Pine... the sustainable option for your DIY furniture projects
For the average DIY enthusiast that likes to make his or her own furniture, pine offers an affordable option. Here in South Africa pine is a sustainable timber that is readily available at your local Builders.
There are a variety of pine products that are readily available for the DIY enthusiast that is looking for more inexpensive options for furniture projects that are to be stained, sealed or varnish. While affordable there are some factors to take into consideration when buying pine for your projects:
Select and Store
Your local Builders stocks what is called PAR pine. The PAR stands for 'planed all round', which means that the pine has been sanded to remove the rough finish. However, this finish will still require more sanding for a smooth finish, and this can be done before, during or after your project.
When selecting timber for your projects be sure to check that pieces are straight. Wood products should be stored flat, but due to space limitations in the store, the boards or planks are usually stored upright resulting in warping or bending. After buying your wood store it flat for approximately one week to allow the timber to acclimatize to local conditions.
The thickness of pine is not constant and will vary from 19mm up to 22mm, so it's a good idea to visit your local Builders or timber merchant before starting any project. That way you can make whatever modifications are necessary for the size of pine available.
Wherever possible try to avoid knots in the wood. The knots are weak spots that will eventually fall out and spoil your project. Also try to avoid planks that have been laminated (glued together) to increase the length. While it may not be immediately evident, constant expansion and contraction may cause these joins to pop open at a later stage.
Another reason for avoiding boards or planks with knots - even knots that appear secure - is that these can quite easily blunt cutting blades. Planks that are heavily grained (dark yellow stripes) may offer additional strength, but be aware that these will also blunt your tools quickly. When choosing wood for your project try to limit heavily grained planks to areas that require strength.
After acclimatizing pine at home for about a week, trim the raw edges of the board or plank to remove the yellow preservative applied to protect the wood during storage.
Not everyone likes the 'yellow' appearance of pine and there are plenty of products on the shelf that allow you to stain pine in a variety of wood tints. Here on Home-Dzine we recommend the Woodoc range of interior and exterior sealers, and stains. Woodoc also have an antique wax that can be applied to sanded pine and will not yellow the wood, as would a sealer or varnish.