Are these different species of Southern Yellow Pine

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Forum topic by LucasElef posted 10-09-2017 03:56 PM 1561 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View LucasElef's profile


10 posts in 1132 days

10-09-2017 03:56 PM

I’ve been scouring my local big box stores to find good 2×12 southern yellow pine for a roubo workbench build. All of the boards i’ve seen have the large growth rings as seen on the top board, however i did find this one beautiful board that has super tight grown rings and a very nice grain on the face. Are these different species of pine? Is there anyway to find more of tight grain stuff?


5 replies so far

View TheFridge's profile


10861 posts in 2370 days

#1 posted 10-09-2017 04:55 PM

Older tree. You could look for heartpine from a supplier but it’s definitely gonna cost more.

If specified as SYP it should be. Just gotta keep digging.

Edit: yeah this is wrong.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 1660 days

#2 posted 10-09-2017 05:14 PM

Tightness of rings is function of rate of growth (not age). Radial growth per year. Note the pith locations in each board.

It’s common on Lumberjocks for people to see tight rings and take a leap and call a board “old growth.” The reason for this is that manufactured lumber (modern/plantation grown, etc) is intentionally grown to maximize board-feet per dollar of investment; minimizing time to harvest has a huge impact on the denominator. Accordingly there is a correlation between manufactured lumber and wider rings, but only just that, a correlation. Not a direct relationship.

Tighter-ringed boards could be SYP that grew in a more challenging location (less than ideal water, light, temperature) that did not allow for rapid growth. Or it could be a different species.

If you’ve read this far, here’s the most important point: If the wood is for a workbench, don’t worry about the ring tighness. Find clear wood if you can/want to, but it doesn’t matter much at all.

View jdh122's profile


1179 posts in 3702 days

#3 posted 10-09-2017 05:42 PM

They could be different species, of course, since Southern Yellow Pine is a marketing term for several different species. But they all have pretty similar characteristics (other than Longleaf Pine, which is stronger than the others, but I don’t think there’s much of it around especially in construction lumber). But I agree with the others that the difference in rings is because of growth rate rather than species. For a workbench I’d be more concerned with straight and clear (and maybe orientation of growth rings) than with tightness of the rings. That said, if the wood was OK in other respects I’d probably still look for tighter rings if I had the choice.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View MrRon's profile


5942 posts in 4128 days

#4 posted 10-09-2017 06:03 PM

You just have to search through the lumber stack to find the best one; that is if your dealer will allow it. At a big box store, no problem, but at a lumber yard, they might object to you sorting through the stack and making a mess.

View ArtMann's profile


1483 posts in 1700 days

#5 posted 10-10-2017 12:28 AM


I think “manufactured” is a misleading term when talking about managed forestry. Trees are a crop like any other. I know because until recently, my family owned several tracts of managed timber. You never hear of a farmer “manufacturing” corn or soybeans, even though they are doing the same thing.

You are quite correct that managed timber grows faster, has wider growth rings and is of lower quality than old growth pine. I have some of that salvaged from a 19th century school house that is 100% heart pine.

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