Reclaimed Longleaf Pine, or more specifically, Heart Pine, is an impressive timber that has deep roots in the Southern states of North America. The history of these trees and the large forests date back to when the Spanish settlers landed in North America in the early 1500s. The Longleaf Pine ecosystem covered 60% of the land in the Southeastern part of the continent, prior to the settlers arrival. Today, there is less than 1.4% left along the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains. It is now considered one of the most endangered ecosystems in The United States.
Logging continued, and Longleaf Pine became a popular commodity. This happened both stateside and overseas. Throughout the 1600, 1700 and 1800’s, the ecosystem continued to be exploited. The first concerns about the regeneration were finally acknowledged in the early 1900s. Since then, preservationist continue to advocate and implement regeneration systems. The ecosystem is currently in grave danger.
With only 12,000 acres of old-growth Longleaf left, it’s important to understand the value of this incredible wood. In North America, Longleaf Pine forests were one of the most extensive woodland ecosystems. It covered over 90,000 million acres across the South. The cumulative impact of harvesting this beautiful wood has devastated the once abundant forests that used to cover the Southern coastline. Historically, the trees have been logged for lumber to build structures and ships. It was also cleared for land use, development and agriculture.
In The Industrial Age, Longleaf was the timber of choice for construction. The straight-grained properties of the timber make it extremely hard. It is the hardest of the softwoods. The dense grain made it possible for building large structures in the 1700-1800’s. Large structures such as mills, bridges, trestles and other industrial buildings. A top selling point for the wood was the durability. The timber quickly became commercialized and shipped overseas.
Longleaf Pine is one of the four major species from the Southern pines. It is the strongest of the four species. It is the tallest and most fire resistant of the four species, which is why it was used for heavy construction for hundreds of years.
Reclaimed Heart Pine
Heart Pine is the heartwood of the Longleaf Pine trees. It’s wood produced from large, slow-growing trees from the past, often called old-growth. Presently, Reclaimed Heart Pine is used in the building of homes, furniture, and flooring. Con-servation and restoration of this wood is important. That is why there is very limited harvesting of the Longleaf. Today, the reclaimed timber that is available is primarily from the Industrial Age factories that have stood the test of time. The old buildings aren’t restored due to strict building regulations and the high cost of remodeling. The old-growth timber structures are limited, which is why there is such a demand for it today.
Reclaimed Heart Pine has a hardness that mimics other hardwoods, like red oak and maple. Most reclaimed Longleaf, or Heart Pine, comes from old buildings, mills especially, where the wood was used for beams, siding and other structural elements. Reclaimed Longleaf comes in a variety of colors, from golden honey or light-yellow tone to a rich, dark brown tone.
The impressive hardness score makes it popular for flooring. The structure of the antique wood provides stability and durability, which are two important elements when deciding on flooring in a structure. The tone, color, and richness that you get from the softwoods are captured in this wood, along with the strength of hardwood.
Heart Pine is no longer available commercially, so when used, it is always reclaimed wood. This timber is limited and becoming more and more scarce. Using reclaimed Heart Pine gives us a chance to preserve a bit of history while simultaneously enjoying the longevity and beauty of old-growth timber.