Today, original-growth heart pine is as rare as sunken treasure, with less than 10,000 protected acres of original-growth Heart Pine forests remaining. Antique heart pine timbers are revered for their rich history as much as their beauty and durability.
Heart Pine is different from other pines because of the tight growth ring pattern and its unique red – amber color. Colonists who set foot on this vast land found nearly 100,000 square miles of forests covering the Southeast. These dense forests contained enormous trees that grew as tall as 175 feet and as wide as 125 inches. Most trees averaged 125 feet tall and 40 inches wide at maturity.
The hardwood trees had been growing for centuries, producing only an inch of growth in diameter every thirty years. It takes up to 500 years for heart pine to mature. The wood from these trees built a great number of structures throughout America and the world, many of which still stand today.
Settlers of Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas built 75 percent of houses and public buildings out of heart pine. The astounding versatility of this wood was apparent, being incorporated into everyday items such as farm implements, furniture and cabinets, to construction, flooring and siding. Heart pine was used for the construction of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and Washington’s Mount Vernon.
Sadly, clear-cutting of the vast southern forests in the late 1800s wiped out virtually the entire range of original-growth heart pine trees. The only place to find the last vestiges of this antique wood is reclamation from old buildings. Heart pine from cotton mills, old barns and buildings from the surrounding area of Greenville south Carolina that have been reclaimed in an environmentally ethical way. All wood is tested for moisture content and stabilized to make sure that your millwork lasts a lifetime.
Characteristics of Heart Pine
- Red tones: light rose to deep burgundy in color
- Beauty: famous for a handsome variety of grain patterns.
- Durability: heartwood lasts for centuries, comparable in hardness to Red Oak.
- Rarity: once the dominant landscape of the coastal Southeast, now covers less than 3% of its original range.