The Vertical Cut Grain Is Boring To Some But It Is Hard As Can Be And Can Take A Lot Of Walking Upon Before It Wears Like The Common Cut Will.

The Long Leaf Pine story and why I love it so for my Tiny Texas Houses

Long Leaf Pine: a bit of history, facts, and fascination.

The vertical cut grain is boring to some but it is hard as can be and can take a lot of walking upon before it wears like the common cut will.

The vertical cut grain is boring to some but it is hard as can be and can take a lot of walking upon before it wears like the common cut will.

Here is a close up of the Comfort Cabin flooring. It is a vertical or cross cut grain which means it was cut to have all the grain show at its ends rather than across its face. There is an example of a common cut board in the batch and you can see how the cut is along the grain.  The vertical grain normally costs nearly twice as much but also takes much more wear and tear thus it was commonly used for schools, churches, and entry ways or dining rooms where the floors took a beating.

Here is a view of a wide plank of Long Leaf Pine used for countertops.  Again there are no knots in boards that are 18" wide.

Here is a view of a wide plank of Long Leaf Pine used for countertops. Again there are no knots in boards that are 18″ wide.

It is also important to note that the wood has no knots which is a characteristic of Long Leaf Pine in the lower 40-50 feet where it shed its branches as it grew. Long Leaf had to be 185 years old just to be mature enough to cut, in the old ways that is, because it developed a Heart of red super hard wood and is commonly called Heart Pine, not for the species which most who use the term don’t know, but for the cut of the tree. Some of the boards show the yellow of the sap wood and the red of the heart wood in the same board. as the rings mark the years of growth you can easily count as many as 10-15 growth lines per inch which tells you just how slow this tree grew and that the ones these floors were cut from were likely 400 years old or more.

This was 1880's circa 5" beaded board that would sell for $9 per square foot in the retail store and came from two different houses.  Each side is different.

This was 1880’s circa 5″ beaded board that would sell for $9 per square foot in the retail store and came from two different houses. Each side is different.  The gable end uses some wider plank at an angle for effect.

This is sad when you see it burned or thrown into the dump as we will never be able to grow such trees again as there is too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now and the droughts won’t even let them get started. These required 40-50 inches of rain a year to grow and Texas had 5,000 square miles of them in its NE section in 1830. They were pretty much cut down by 1935 when the lumber industry was finally forced to pay its employees with dollars or currency rather than company store credits, housing, and no benefits what so ever. Kids started working in the mill at 12 years old sharpening the saws and families were virtually owned by the big lumber companies as they controlled the schooling, the supplies and prices in the stores, the housing was all theirs, and when someone got hurt and could no longer work, they were kicked out and sent away.

The corner of the houses porch cut to be able to have the two sloped porches be able to meet.  This is not as simple and easy as you might think, especially because the 6' x6' corner comes off for shipping and then bolts back together to form the porch again.  The roof above also comes off for shipping.

The corner of the houses porch cut to be able to have the two sloped porches be able to meet. This is not as simple and easy as you might think, especially because the 6′ x6′ corner comes off for shipping and then bolts back together to form the porch again. The roof above also comes off for shipping.  The Tung Oil will bring all the color back out for it looks somewhat bleached out now.

The other great characteristics of Long Leaf Pine include being the hardest of the 77 species of pine in the US, the most resistant to rot, termites and bugs, stronger than nearly any other wood in America because of its high elasticity (bend before breaking), its high sap content, and incredible lengths that you could get without knots. I have had beams 52 feet long and not a knot in as much as 30′ at 14″ wide.

See the grain and the beauty of the wood, waiting for a 130 years for us to come and finally give it the attention it deserved instead of stuck up in the top of the house, left behind for decades in an empty forgotten room, in a neglected shell of the beauty that once was someone's pride and joy, their hOMe.

See the grain and the beauty of the wood, waiting for a 130 years for us to come and finally give it the attention it deserved instead of stuck up in the top of the house, left behind for decades in an empty forgotten room, in a neglected shell of the beauty that once was someone’s pride and joy, their hOMe.  Notice how the Long Leaf Pine is all clear with no knots anywhere.  That is one of the reasons it made such great beaded wood and flooring.

Sadly it is considered commercially extinct and the few patches or trees left are rare and most are not even mature. If cut too early and not mature, thus without a big heart, it does not have all those great characteristics that it does develop later.

Why would we throw such incredible wood into the dump and use trees that are grown and harvested in less than 50 years, often as young as 30 years old. They are little more than bug bait in comparison… and the proof is in the wood bores, termites, and rot that new wood gives into within 5-7 years of being used out doors compared to Long Leaf lasting for a hundred years or more in the tough Texas heat, rains, and occasional cold.

A nice close up of he incredible burled Long Leaf Pine faces on the kitchen cabinets.  This is rare.

A nice close up of he incredible burled Long Leaf Pine faces on the kitchen cabinets. This is rare.

There is your lesson on why I love Long Leaf Pine and why we should save all we can to use again, and again, and again. If not, our grandchildren will never even know such fine wood once grew from Texas to Georgia so thick that they say a squirrel could once climb a Long Leaf in Texas and not come down from the trees till he got to Georgia.

Darby

Comfort Cabin gets his porch floors sanded, then comes the Tung Oil that will bring out the color and fend off the water.

Comfort Cabin gets his porch floors sanded, then comes the Tung Oil that will bring out the color and fend off the water.