Pine is beautiful as long as its finished to look like pine

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Project by Michael1 posted 11-20-2014 12:35 AM 5198 views 4 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

People for some reason seem to have an adversity to projects made from pine. I use to believe that it was good for nothing but pallets, creates, and building studs. However; i also remember being a young wood worker (about 14 yrs old)and my Father making the statement that Pine is a beautiful wood as long as it is finished to look like pine. At the time I dismissed his analogy as I was interested in working with dark fine hardwoods like walnut and mahogany. Growing up in the 70s probably didn’t help my dislike for light colored soft woods as the trend of the day was for furniture manufacturers to use 2×4 and 2×6 SPF and put walnut colored stain on it. resulting in a piece of work that looked terrible. Years later I took Dads advise on a project made from pine and finished it in the natural and have loved working with pine ever since. Although it is a soft wood, the pitch in pine requires frequent cleaning of cutters as the resin build up will dull cutting tools prematurely, and if you use a belt sander or drum sander, it requires frequent cleaning of the sanding belt/drum to prevent premature wear, however; some of my best work has been on projects where I used eastern White Pine, But I have always applied a natural finish to them.

Now when asked about different woods and finishes by clients,, I usually tell them that Pine looks great as long as it is finished to look like pine,,,and Poplar looks great as long as it is finished to NOT look like poplar.

-- Michael Mills, North Carolina,

17 comments so far

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 3095 days

#1 posted 09-09-2011 09:38 AM

Agree 100% on the pine AND the poplar.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View Blake Thornton's profile

Blake Thornton

152 posts in 3096 days

#2 posted 09-09-2011 09:58 AM

Pine sure can be pretty, but I disagree about poplar! I made a very nice looking stool out of pine and the only finish I put on it was some wipe on poly. It was a simple project, made of a simple wood, that had a simple beauty to it. The same can be said for Pine, Beech, etc.

The coffin is beautiful, a wonderful twist on a classic

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3406 days

#3 posted 09-09-2011 12:14 PM

I agree with your comments on pine.

Did you build these coffins? Care to comment on them?

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23009 posts in 3561 days

#4 posted 09-09-2011 01:26 PM

Nice coffin. I have been thinking of making one after I saw the cost of one for my mother’s recent funeral. Luckily we locked in a price for the coffin a year ago when we bought the funeral plan. In a year, it went from $1600 to $3100. It makes you want to make one while you still have the strength to do it. I just don’t know where I’d store it. I guess I could sleep in it like Abby on NCIS!!!!!!!!

Where did you get the lining for the one you made?

How heavy is it?


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Michael1's profile


403 posts in 3115 days

#5 posted 09-09-2011 02:46 PM

Actually you are right Blake, I have had some good result finishing Poplar in a natural but I have found that on larger projects you can go through allot of lumber trying to get consistent grain and color. I recently made a cremation urn that was Poplar with Walnut accents and finished with clear lacquer, and had good results but being a small piece I was able to select the poplar with out allot of waste

-- Michael Mills, North Carolina,

View Michael1's profile


403 posts in 3115 days

#6 posted 09-09-2011 03:01 PM

I sew the linings myself. Its not a difficult as it appears. the head panel boarders are cardboard tubes I get from a carpet warehouse after they use all the carpet and wrapped with cotton batting and the lining material. Sometimes I use foam rubber I buy pre molded from a company that supplies foam to the furniture industry. The head and foot panels are 1/4” plywood wrapped in batting and fabric and attached with velcro in case the customer wants a different head panel. The main box is lined with batting and fabric that is actually just stapled in with extra material under the bed to allow the funeral director to tuck it around the body if needed. It takes about 6 man hours to fully line a casket with the sewing and install and takes about 8-10 yards of material depending on the design.

As far as Jims comment on the price of caskets,,, It makes me sick how the funeral homes take advantage of people. The first casket shown we sell to the funeral home for $1400 and they in turn sell it for $4200 So if you live in a state where you can buy direct or build your own you are much better off and can save a bundle of money

-- Michael Mills, North Carolina,

View CptWingnut's profile


34 posts in 3124 days

#7 posted 09-09-2011 04:20 PM

Well I’d say you put the last nail in the coffin on that debate! HA HA! I agree pine is a wood I’ve always found beautiful when it’s in it’s natural form!

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3442 days

#8 posted 09-10-2011 12:02 AM

Nice work. The rounded top is a nice touch. Natural is the only way to go with pine.
Thanks for the post.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3367 posts in 4167 days

#9 posted 09-10-2011 05:03 AM


You kind of blow apart the idea of a “simple” pine coffin! LOL Your coffins are much too beautiful to bury in the ground, never to be seen again. It’s sad that many people will pay $4000 for a beautiful coffin that they can see for a few hours, but are only willing to buy knock-down furniture at a big box store for their home that they live in for many years.

My husband and I were working on the designs for our urns when he had a heart attack! He survived it and now needs to recover so he can get to work on his urn. (No, I’m not trying to bury him early but after my brother just passed away from brain cancer, reality hit and we decided not to be burdened with such exorbitant expense for something we can make.) Our urn-making has been further delayed by a wind storm which has left us in a mess.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View DamnYankee's profile


3312 posts in 3017 days

#10 posted 09-10-2011 06:12 AM

I am gladto see someone else espousing the merits of pine. I also agree with you about poplar. I am increasingly becoming a fan of both for pretty much the reasons given. Pine looks great when finished to look like pine and poplar can look like just about anything else to stain/dye it to look like.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View NormG's profile


6439 posts in 3459 days

#11 posted 09-14-2011 06:39 AM

Great work

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View tom427cid's profile


294 posts in 2926 days

#12 posted 09-14-2011 07:10 AM

Hi all, Finishing poplar to not look like poplar.Great advise. I use poplar a lot and over time I have leaned that not all poplar is not created equal when it comes to finishing and especially coloring. I have found that the boards that show green or purple will be the most receptive to color. Those pieces that have asorta shiney look when milled might paint ok but don’t stain very well.
Hope this helps.

-- "certified sawdust maker"

View panamint's profile


46 posts in 2897 days

#13 posted 09-20-2011 03:54 AM

I have looked into making my own casket and found some ways people use them till they are “ready” for them. One idea was to stand it upright against a wall and add shelf’s to use it as a book shelf, another person used it as a coffee table by adding a glass top. Talk about a conversation piece.


View Dark_Lightning's profile


3490 posts in 3564 days

#14 posted 09-20-2011 04:15 AM

Nice lookin’ “plain pine boxes”! I thought about making my own casket up until I found out that I can donate my old carcass to science. They’ll take what they need for medical research. They’ll pick up my old sorry hide, take the research stuff, cremate the rest and return it to my family…FREE. We paid over $9000 for my mother’s funeral, and I’m sorry if you work the undertaker’s profession and are reading this, but that’s one of the biggest ripoffs of people’s money, taking advantage of grieving people. For the rest of you, as lightweightladylefty says, plan ahead. Maybe you don’t care about what your successors get, that’s fine.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View Michael1's profile


403 posts in 3115 days

#15 posted 09-20-2011 04:46 PM

You dont offend me AtomJack, I’m not an undertaker. In fact thats what got me to building caskets is funeral homes rip people off. The casket pictured I sell sell for $1400. Most funeral homes do a 200 to 300% mark up on it but when I sell to private individuals, they save allot of money.

-- Michael Mills, North Carolina,

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