Spectacular Wood #1: Best color in wood I have ever seen

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Blog entry by OldWrangler posted 06-05-2014 02:01 AM 1920 reads 2 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I don’t know if this is the right place to post this message but here it is.

As y’all know Monte Pitman is the King of the Beetle Kill Pine. Y’all seen his beautiful projects posted on here and probably marveled at the beautiful wood he uses. He has his own mill and logs all his own timber. This is how he is able to cherry-pick the great wood he uses.

Well for several weeks or maybe a month I have been pestering him to ship me some BKP. And he did. The poor little UPS delivery gal staggered up my driveway with a dolly of wood that outweighed her. With a minimum of grumbling she unloaded the boards in my garage. Kathy and I cut off the tape and what a sight. This wood is like nothing I have ever seen before. I’ve got to come up with a special project that will show off this wood. It can’t be wasted on nicky-knacky. I can see there is definitely a coffee table in the boards. Some of the knots are as big as grapefruits and they stay golden with the slate/blue wood around them even with a finish.

So I wanted to post some pictures of what he sent and I’ll attach them to this message. And his price floored me. I couldn’t go to the big box store and buy their cheapest wood for this price. If it hadn’t had to come from SD to TX and UPS wasn’t so greedy, the wood would have nearly been free. Monte says he is getting things under control so he has more time to mill and I urge anyone with a project requiring fancy wood, contact him. Even if you have to wait for the wood, it is worth it.’

Thanks Monte

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

12 comments so far

View ralbuck's profile


6047 posts in 2682 days

#1 posted 06-05-2014 02:40 AM

Indeed, very pretty wood!

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30371 posts in 2754 days

#2 posted 06-05-2014 02:43 AM

That was one of the logs that as you cut it, you know that it’s something special. It’s why I love cutting wood.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View DIYaholic's profile


19803 posts in 3091 days

#3 posted 06-05-2014 02:45 AM

Yup, that is some gorgeous wood….
& Monte is one hell of a guy and craftsman!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View firefighterontheside's profile


20358 posts in 2272 days

#4 posted 06-05-2014 02:52 AM

Nice score there wrangler. I do love the look of the BKP. I as you have wondered what would I do with I if I got some.
I’ll keep an eye out for the result. Amazing stuff Monte!

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View stefang's profile


16705 posts in 3750 days

#5 posted 06-05-2014 07:43 AM

Beautiful pieces of wood. How does this pine get it’s color. Has it been killed by beetles or what?

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View jinkyjock's profile


488 posts in 1990 days

#6 posted 06-05-2014 08:58 AM

Spectacular pieces of timber,
they look like they are alive and breathing.
Unfortunately in Scotland we don’t have access to this wonderful product,
even more unfortunate might be shipping costs….....
Enjoy your build.

View OldWrangler's profile


731 posts in 2010 days

#7 posted 06-05-2014 01:09 PM

JJ, remember they were alive at one time but even then the wood didn’t look this good.

stefang, yep, the beetle infects the tree with fungus that kills the tree. I’ll try to post a story about it.

Sorry folks that this is so long but it is the best explanation of the BKP. It is an interesting read if you have a couple of minutes.

The biology behind blue stain in beetle kill pine

The term symbiosis comes from the Ancient Greek “syn” — “with” — and “bíosis” — “living” — and is the close and often long-term interactions between different biological species. Often this interaction is obligate, in that neither can live without the other. One classic example is the lichen, a combination of a fungus and green algae. The fungus provides the housing (protection from the elements), and their food is made by the algae via the sun and its photosynthetic capabilities.

The mountain pine beetle (MPB), and the blue-stain fungus is another excellent example of symbiosis. The blue stain fungus travels from tree to tree on a special structure in the beetle’s mouthparts. This is its means to travel to new trees. The fungus helps the beetle by stopping the tree from producing its natural defense resin, and the beetles are hence able to mine and lay eggs while avoiding the tree’s defenses. The fungus also benefits the beetles by improving the host environment for the beetle progeny, and serves as food for the larvae and adult beetles.

In a published study comparing beetle success in the presence and absence of the fungi, the beetles were unable to reproduce in the absence of the fungi. Although the fungi alone can kill host trees, the combined action of the fungi and the beetles is responsible for the rapid death of the tree. So here we have a deadly combination.

According to the USDA, the mountain pine beetle and fungus has impacted trees over more than 900 miles of trail, 3,200 miles of road, and 21,000 acres of developed recreation sites over 3.6 million acres in Montana, Colorado, and southeastern Wyoming.

blue beetle kill pine

The MPB is a species of bark beetle native to the forests of western North America. It has a hard black exoskeleton, and is about the size of a grain of rice. They inhabit lodgepole, Scotch, ponderosa and limber pine trees. During early stages of an outbreak, attacks are limited largely to trees under stress or old age. As beetle populations increase, the beetles attack the largest trees in the outbreak area such as high-risk lodgepole pine stands that are more than 80 years old with an average diameter of more than 8 inches. The mountain pine beetle begins attacking most pine species on the lower 15 feet of the trunk. They need adequate food, found in large-diameter trees, for their population to build up. After the larger lodgepole pines are killed, beetles infest smaller and smaller trees, where phloem is thin and excessive drying occurs. (This is the innermost layer of bark which is where food goes from the leaves, down through the branches and trunk to the roots.) Beetle populations then decline to endemic or normal levels.

How they kill
Blue pine boards

Pine beetles kill trees by boring through the bark into the phloem layer on which they feed and in which eggs are laid. Female beetles initiate attacks, producing attractants that cause more beetles to come to the site, and then they stage a mass attack. If successful, each beetle pair mates, forms a vertical tunnel (egg gallery) under the bark and produces about 75 small, white, oval eggs. Following egg hatch, larvae tunnel away from the egg gallery. They require several months to develop, usually over-wintering as larvae. MPB larvae spend the winter under the bark and are able to survive the winter by producing an antifreeze. The great majority of beetles exit lodgepole pine during late July. One or more beetles will make an exit hole from which several adults will emerge. Within a day or two of emerging, the beetles will attack other trees.

Within about two weeks of a beetle attack trees starve to death as the phloem layer is damaged by the fungus and beetles so that the flow of water and nutrients is cut off. After particularly hot summers, the mountain pine beetle population can increase dramatically, deforesting large areas.

Infested trees usually shows pitch tubes which look like dark-red masses of resin mixed with boring dust that looks like fine sawdust. Needles on successfully infested trees begin fading and changing color several months to one year after the trees have been attacked.

blue pine paneling

Predators of the pine beetles probably play a role in reducing beetle numbers during endemic periods but do not control the beetles during epidemics. Woodpeckers feed heavily on larvae in some trees, making holes in the bark, causing the bark to dry and thus killing additional beetles. Several other bird species, including nuthatches, feed on adults exposed during flight or as they attack. Nematodes (internal parasitic worms), can hinder or prevent egg production. A fly and two species of checkered beetles are common predators and may reduce beetle numbers in individual trees but seldom affect mountain pine beetle infestations. Parasitic wasps sometimes cause substantial mortality of larvae.

Unseasonably low temperatures may retard outbreaks. Early autumn or mid-spring temperatures of about 0 degrees F and winter temperatures below -34F may affect outbreaks. Beetles in thick-barked trees and in portions of tree trunks that are below the snow line, however, are protected from the cold and more likely to survive.

Blue beetle kill pine walls

Grosmannia clavigera, is a species of sac fungus and the other member of the deadly duo. The blue stain fungus spores germinate and produce a thread-like mass that colonizes the phloem and sapwood. Blue-stain spores are “sticky” and eventually block the water conducting columns of the tree draining the trees of their nutrients eventually cause the tree to starve to death. The symptoms and signs of blue stain fungus are a blue-gray discoloration of sapwood in wedge shapes of recently killed trees. The discoloration arises from the deep pigmentation of the fungus. Scientists sequenced the genome of this fungus in 2009 and hope to understand the mechanisms of interaction of the bark beetle and fungus and the tree host.

So these very small creatures, the beetle and fungal symbiont, may be the cause of the largest blight ever seen in North America. Climate change may have contributed to the size and severity of the outbreak, and may affect the capability of northern forests to remove greenhouse gas from the atmosphere.

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3719 days

#8 posted 06-05-2014 02:16 PM

this sure is some gorgeous wood, in my home in alaska we had moved into a home with dark paneling on the walls, i really disliked it so i started covering it with what they called blue mountain pine, it was t &G AND IT HAD A LOT OF BLUE AND GRAY IN THE WOOD, JUST BEAUTIFUL COLOR , SORTA LIKE THIS, BUT NOT AS NICE AS THIS, I CANT WAIT TO SEE WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT, HAVE FUN GEORGE….SORRY FOR THE CAPS BEING ON, I WAS NOT YELLING…LOL…BUT I COULD SHOUT FOR THIS BEAUTIFUL WOOD….

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3106 days

#9 posted 06-06-2014 12:27 AM

Monte really outdid himself this time! That is as pretty as I have ever seen!

Enjoyed the lesson on the beetles and fungus that produce this look.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View OldWrangler's profile


731 posts in 2010 days

#10 posted 06-06-2014 03:25 AM

The lesson about the BKP came from the website of Sustainable Lumber in MT who log a lot of it and the co. CEO Ryan Palma wrote it. I got some real nice BKP from them but it was nowhere as nice at that from Monte and it was nearly 3X the money. I know they don’t like to ship an order of 20 BF and have to get more to cover their expenses but I’ll be Monte’s customer from now on. Glad the info was of any help. I dreamed about Monte’s wood last nite and actually saw the coffee table I plan to make. It just all laid itself out for me in a dream. Now I gotta figure out dimensions and cutting the boards to maximize their beauty.

Got an A/C installed in the shop today. It went right in the window 3’ away from the bird nest. They left for the day but when things quieted down they were back. There has to be a baby bird soon, it’s been 12-13 days since the first egg was laid…...maybe tomorrow.

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

View OldWrangler's profile


731 posts in 2010 days

#11 posted 06-07-2014 04:44 AM

Just a reg. day. Finishing the 2 tables for the daughter, a cutting board of Staghorn Sumac and started 2 new band saw boxes. That A/C is great. Makes all the difference.

Bird news…..we have 2 hatchlings in the nest and probably there will be more tomorrow. Took several pictures but most were blurry. The one attached was the best.

More later, Good nite, George

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30371 posts in 2754 days

#12 posted 06-07-2014 07:44 AM

I was going to say that it’s a little weird that you were dreaming about the wood. But after I thought about it, I do to. :-)

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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