Pine’s Decline for Construction and Woodworking

From my perspective, pine seems to be on the decline as a construction material. I know of no one who uses pine studs for framing except for supporting LVLs and other intense point loads. Nearly all studs are either spruce or steel now.

Pine joists and rafters are still widely used in remodeling, but they have been replaced by I-joists and truss systems in new construction.

As I look closely at a piece of OSB (oriented-strand board) subfloor, I see very little pine among the wood fragments.

In planning orders for an office of custom cabinets this week, I needed to match up to a white pine French door, so I was researching my options for cabinet-grade pine-veneered plywood. I assumed that there would be plenty of options. Not so.

The Wurth wood group, the largest wood supplier in my area, stocks only one variety of pine plywood, “knotty pine”, and offer only 10 sizing/facing options. For the sake of reference, they offer about 50 sizing/facing options for maple. Only woods like walnut, sande, and fir have less options. I equate the number of options with the demand in the marketplace. Translation: very few shops are making “knotty pine” cabinets.

So what exactly is “knotty pine”? Initially I assumed that this would be a veneer based on yellow pine, since — in my experience — yellow pine is much more knotty than its refined sister Eastern White Pine. But the info page makes clear that that the knotty pine veneer comes from white pine, not yellow.

So does all of this mean that fewer pine forests will grace our fair land? What are you seeing in your area?