Hailed as the “King of the Pines”, this species grows the tallest and is the biggest of all the pines. Historically growing to 250 feet in height and diameters of nearly 12 feet the Sugar Pine is only surpassed by the Giant Sequoia redwood and the Douglas Fir. Today it is unusual to find a tree over 200 feet high or four feet across.
It’s uses are many and varied and range from moulding and millwork applications to furniture and pattern stock. In the past it has been used for kitchen drainboards, piano key stock and many other uses that require dimensional stability and workability. It is commonly sawn into 4/4, 5/4, 6/4 and 8/4 thickness’ as well as thicker sizes on a special order basis. Sugar Pine’s soft, fine grained texture is unsurpassed and enjoys a strong following among re-manners.
Sugar Pine trees are readily identified in the woods by their large, long cones that hang down at the tips of their branches. Sugar Pines are most prevalent in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in North California but range from Southern and Central Oregon south to Mexico.
Ponderosa Pine is also known as Yellow pine when mature while the young, black barked tree is often referred to as Bull pine. Ponderosa Pine can reach up to 180 feet in height but most trees are in the 100 to 160 foot range and 2 to 4 feet in diameter. It is a smaller but more numerous cousin to the Sugar Pine. While not the “King” it is certainly the pick of the pines and is the most popular domestic species of pine in the West. It is still the preferred species of window manufactures and remains popular among door, moulding and furniture producers. It is sawn into the same thicknesses as Sugar Pine but seldom thicker than 8/4. Dimensionally stable with good workability, it performs well for all millwork and furniture applications.
Mature Ponderosa Pine have an orange-brown colored bark that forms in plates and is quite distinctive and easily identified in the woods. Ponderosa Pine ranges from Canada to the north to Mexico in the south and as far east as the Black Hills in South Dakota.
Douglas-Fir is not a fir at all but a separate and distinct species valued for it superior strength and durability. It is the most plentiful species in North America and grows best in even-aged stands. Douglas-Fir grows to 200 feet in height and the bark on a mature tree forms in ridges and is reddish-brown in color. Superior strength makes it the first choice for framing lumber and timbers. It is also highly valued for millwork applications including mouldings and cut stock. Dimensionally stable with superior hardness when seasoned are other qualities that are highly valued by millwork and structural users alike.
Douglas-fir grows from Canada down to Northern California and east to Arizona and Colorado.