The term Northern Pine has been introduced by Mr. Hurst for the reasons given in the following remarks, extracted from his Handbook: -
"Much confusion has arisen among architects and builders owing to the absurd practice of naming this timber after the ports of shipment, and also from confounding the pines (Pinus) with the firs (Abies), although they belong to distinct genera. . . . The P. sylvestris is essentially a wood of northern climates, and will thrive at greater elevations and in higher latitudes than even the fir; hence the term 'northern pine' given to it by the author in his edition of Tredgold's carpentry, and also adopted throughout this work."
Tredgold gives the following description of the appearance of this timber: -
"The colour of the wood of different varieties of Scotch fir differs considerably. It is generally of a reddish yellow, or a honey yellow of various degrees of brightness.
"It consists in the section of alternate hard and soft circles; the one part of each annual ring being soft and light coloured, the other harder and dark coloured. It has no larger transverse septa, and has a strong resinous odour and taste. It works easily when it does not abound in resin; and the foreign wood shrinks about 1/30th part of its width in seasoning from the log.
"In the best timber the annual rings are thin, not exceeding 1/10 inch in thickness. The dark parts of the rings are of a bright and reddish colour, the wood hard and dry to the feel, neither leaving a woolly surface after the saw nor filling its teeth with resin. * * *
1 Taken chiefly from the works of Tredgold, Hurst, Newland, Laslett, and Rankine. These works contain a great deal of information regarding various foreign timbers not used in this country, and also as to the less common varieties of home growth, which it is unnecessary here to enter upon.
"The inferior kinds have thick annual rings - in some the dark parts of the rings are of a honey yellow, the wood heavy, and filled with soft resinous matter, feels clammy, and chokes the saw.
"Timber of this kind is not durable nor fit for bearing strains. Mar Forest timber is often of this kind. In other inferior kinds the wood is spongy, contains less resinous matter, and presents a woolly surface after the saw.
"Swedish timber is often of this kind, and is then inferior in strength and stiffness."
Mr. Fincham, quoted by Mr. Hurst, says further -
"If the timber is good, its parts, on being separated, appear stringy and oppose a strong adhesion, and the shavings from the plane will bear to be twisted two or three times round the fingers; whereas if the stick is of bad quality, or in a state of decay and has lost its resinous substances, the chips and shavings come off short and brittle, and with much greater ease."