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Wood common name: Antique Heart Pine; also call original-growth and other terms.

Wood species: Longleaf Heart Pine (Pinus palustris)

Age: 200 to 500 years and older

Brief historical information: About 90 million acres of longleaf heart pine once covered the coastal Southeast, but was clear cut by hand in the 18th and 19th centuries to build Industrial America. It is often seen in old factories, wharves, Victorian palaces, bridges like the Brooklyn Bridge, and homes including Mount Vernon and Monticello. The few remaining stands of longleaf are protected today, thus it is only available from old buildings or river reclaimed logs. The wood was highly prized for it strength, durability and beauty.

Heartwood content: 100 percent

Grain pattern: Pin stripe grains with arching grains

Knot content: rare, pin knots up to ½”

Growth rings: At least 8 per inch; up to 30

Color: typically rich red

Nail holes: some in building reclaimed; none in river reclaimed

Widths available: typically up to 10” in flooring and up to 12” in lumber

Other characteristics: Very strong, stable and hard. 1225 on the Janka scale. Comparable to red oak but 29% more stable

Comments: The longleaf grows only one inch in diameter every thirty years, but a tree less than 200 years old is considered “new heart pine.” A 75-year-old tree will average only 30% heart, and even a 130-year-old tree yields wood that is not as hard or rich in color as antique heart pine. “Old-growth” does not mean it is antique. The term is used loosely and often refers to new heart pine.


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