What about milling Pine?

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Forum topic by JohnMcClure posted 11-26-2017 02:50 AM 993 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1017 posts in 1412 days

11-26-2017 02:50 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question pine milling bandsaw

In SE Texas where I live, Loblolly (southern yellow) pines are EVERYWHERE. They’re undesirable even for firewood, so when you cut one down you can’t even give away the logs.
They are commercially logged, of course, but I’m talking homeowner stuff.

I’ve been milling a few firewood logs to lumber on my 17” BS, and I’m wondering… is it worth trying some of these pines? Is there a heartwood in there that is useful for small projects?
My main concern is that the sap (these are sticky sons of guns) will gum up my blade and BS tires, and that I’ll be regretting the attempt when I’m scrubbing it off.

Does anyone have experience with this?

Some of these trees are 200+ years old with 3’ diameter trunks and it just seems like such a shame…

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

7 replies so far

View sawdustdad's profile


379 posts in 1656 days

#1 posted 11-26-2017 03:29 AM

Same here in Virginia. In fact, timber is the No. 1 agricultural product of Virginia. (Yeah, I know you’re thinking Smithfield Ham or Peanuts, but they are #2 and #3.) We call it the three P’s—Pine, Pork and Peanuts.

Anyway, lots of Loblollys here, too. Not worth milling yourself. Find a local sawmill and buy all you want for .50/bf or less. Give your logs away.

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

View Ripper70's profile


1377 posts in 1680 days

#2 posted 11-26-2017 03:30 AM

Seems like there’d be no avoiding the dreaded pitch buildup on your band saw. Wouldn’t want to have to deal with that myself. Sound like a good candidate for a chainsaw mill.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View MrRon's profile


5913 posts in 4015 days

#3 posted 11-26-2017 06:35 PM

I have made outdoor furniture with it and band sawed and routered it. True the BS tires do get gummed up. SYP is a strong wood and used in house construction. It is certainly more useful than just firewood.

View pontic's profile


797 posts in 1380 days

#4 posted 11-26-2017 09:56 PM

I know a fellow woodworker in Elkheart Indiana. He works with a lot of pine. He’s actually a clinker style boat builder. He splits his pine logs. He has some elaborate splitting jigs set up in his yard. Split pine planks are the strongest pine boards you can get.
He leaves the pitch in to resist water rot. He also makes split plank tables and chairs.

Check into making split planks. Good workout as well.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

View firefighterontheside's profile


21045 posts in 2628 days

#5 posted 11-26-2017 10:19 PM

I have loblolly and shortleaf pine that I’ll be milling occasionally on my woodmizer. The water drip lubricant helps to keep the pitch off the blade.

Have you heard of heart pine? Heart pine is the heart wood of mainly longleaf pine, but also loblolly. A 200 year old loblolly should have some wonderful heartwood.

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

View JohnMcClure's profile


1017 posts in 1412 days

#6 posted 11-26-2017 11:40 PM

Bill, that’s exactly what I was thinking about!
As a kid I played out in the woods. I’d run across pine trees that had been down for years, 2ft thick trunk is all spongy punk (could tear out with bare hands) until you get to the heart – about 6” thick – then that would be hard as a rock, seemingly untouched by decay!

What about milling green vs dry – any pros or cons? I’m thinking dry is less pitch, but maybe it’s just gummier…

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

View sawdustdad's profile


379 posts in 1656 days

#7 posted 11-27-2017 12:40 AM

Must mill green if you want to control checking. If you let the logs dry before milling, you’ll have lots of checks in the lumber, many of which will make the wood useless.

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

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