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Longleaf Pine
Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) has a long, storied connection to the Southern United States. It is often called "Red" or "Heart" Pine. It tends to grow tall and straight to avoid common brushfire after years as a bushy shrub. It's affinity for fire makes it impractical to reseed on a plantation scale, and it is much more rare than in years past. This leads many people to believe that it is endangered or extinct. It is simply not planted as frequently as other, common industrial pines, such as slash and loblolly. Longleaf Pine produces an oily resin that is the source for turpentine. This makes the wood very fragrant when milled, but also makes the dried  wood very flammable. Some pieces that are salvaged from buildings after more than 100 years are still saturated with the turpentine oil.

The old stands of trees in the South produced wood that grew very slowly and had very tight growth rings. When the Southern forests were logged and replanted, the younger trees were able to grow back very quickly. This gives us the terms "Old" Growth" and "New" or "Second" Growth. "Old" Growth Pine was hard and suitable for flooring and interior millwork as well as the structure of old buildings. The wood was not as hard as oak, but was serviceable. Some people would spend extra money on "quarter sawn" or "vertical grain" to make the wood more stable, less likely to warp, and more uniform in appearance. Sometimes quarter sawn wood was used in only the "show" rooms of a house and the more economical "flat grain" was used in the rest. Longleaf Pine was not as rot resistant as other woods so sometimes the posts of old buildings that were sunk into the ground were of aromatic cedar, the structure and interior was of Longleaf, and certain exterior parts were of cypress. Figured lumber was rare and reserved for furniture or interior panels. One way to help guess the age of a building is to check the tightness of the rings in the lumber used.

Most Longleaf Pine currently available is salvaged from buildings or river logs. Large timbers can be resawn into smaller pieces, but knots, nail holes and cracks make for a more rustic appearance.
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Salvaged Longleaf Pine, showing heart and sapwood and nail holes

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Turpentine Production, 1918

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"Old" and "New" Growth Pines, siding and framing lumber

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Salvaged Longleaf Pine Flooring, flat cut (left) and vertical grain (quarter sawn) (right)

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Longleaf Pine Millwork, Salvaged (center) and reproduced from salvaged lumber

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"Curly" Longleaf Pine

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Salvaged Longleaf Pine Timber 10 x 15

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Longleaf Pine, Pre-Salvage

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Reclaimed Floor Joist Stock

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Longleaf Pine Flooring Ready for Re-Installation/Repair Jobs

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Longleaf Pine Core Wrapped with Quarter Sawn White Oak from Sunset Depot in Downtown San Antonio

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#1 Fredericksburg Road at “Five Points” | P.O. Box 5398 | San Antonio, TX 78201 | T 210-736-3137 | F 210-736-3136