Tree Species Identification - Northeastern Softwoods

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Blog entry by PeteCollin posted 03-21-2016 06:28 PM 1313 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello. I made a video for my business website. If you are interested in learning some species common in northeastern US, here’s the link:

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#1 posted 03-21-2016 07:24 PM

Very interesting video, nice tutorial on softwood trees. As I viewed the video, I was wondering if there is much of a difference between the species, as there is between say, cherry and oak, or maple and walnut.
I guess what I’m asking is, which of the softwoods are best for woodworking projects, like building country furniture?
Thanks for the tutorial, will there be a quiz?

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View PeteCollin's profile


74 posts in 2069 days

#2 posted 03-21-2016 07:35 PM

You can use white and red pine interchangeably for furniture projects. The difference I have found is that red pine has a greater tendency to warp and twist. This is very strange because the trees themselves are so straight in form, usually.

Hemlock is limited with its uses. I tried to build a birdhouse from the stuff, and each pounded nail made the entire side want to split. It is used for siding (as I have shown). or for big square timbers, where the splitting wouldn’t matter that much.

Spruce trees tend to be made into studwood. There are many spruce species in New England that aren’t in this video because they aren’t common where I live (such as red, black, and white spruce). We don’t have many balsam fir here either (which also goes into studs). Spruce is important to instrument makers, but in the northeast US it is rarely allowed to grow until it is big enough to use for that purpose. The norway spruce that is common where I live grows very fast, with wide growth rings. That makes the wood weaker and less stable for use in instruments as well.

I have clips of a build that I want to make into a video of a chest of drawers made from the clearest white pine you could find. Computer problems are keeping me from getting it finished.

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