Amazing Longleaf Pine
The strength, durability, and usefulness of Longleaf Pine lumber is legendary. In fact, it was declared the “King’s Wood” for shipbuilding when America was first colonized. And John Gould Curtis considered the Longleaf Pine to be the “pride of the south.”
It’s said that Longleaf Heart Pine lumber once framed four of every five houses in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. It floored Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello plantation, George Washington’s Mount Vernon plantation, and buttressed the keel of the USS Constitution (“Old Ironsides”).
Longleaf Pine played a key role in the growth and development of the early U.S. economy. Not only was it prized here, but it was in great demand from Europeans. Along with being used for flooring, joists, and paneling for homes, it provided timber for warehouses, railroad cars, bridges and wharves. It was so admired that it was used in Victorian hotels and palaces.
Longleaf Pine Versatility
In 1928 Roland Harper described the Longleaf Pine as a tree with “probably more uses than any other tree in North America if not in the whole world…” He may have been right.
The long needles of the Longleaf Pine are prized for their many uses. Although “leaf” is in its name, it actually does have needles like other pines, except that they’re longer than the rest. Longleaf Pine needles can be up to 18 inches long!
Not only have those needles been used since ancient times in coiled basket making, they now support a multi-million dollar wholesale industry providing “Longleaf Pine straw” for garden mulch and other uses.
In addition to those famous long needles, Longleaf Pine was once an important source of products called “naval stores.”
The term naval stores has changed somewhat over the years, but it originally applied to the products that were made from the resin of the Longleaf Pine. These products were used in building and maintaining wooden sailing ships, and included turpentine, rosin, pitch and tar.
Naval stores from American colonies was heavily relied upon by the Royal Navy in the late 1700s, and they were an essential part of the colonial economy.
Longleaf Pine resin was also used in paints, soaps, weatherproofing products, shoe polish and medicines. The U.S. was actually the world leader in naval stores until the middle of the twentieth century. For decades baseball players have used resin on their equipment, and ballerinas have used it on their toe shoes.
Longleaf Pine is often referred to by other names, such as Antique Pine, Heart Pine, Pitch Pine, Georgia Pine, Longstraw Pine, and Longneedle Pine.
Longleaf Pine lumber, the “King’s Wood,” is not only a rich part of our American history, but a beautiful, durable, and extremely versatile wood. Its range of applications is nearly endless, with our customers using it for flooring, ceilings, beams, trim, and interior & exterior paneling.