American Yellow Pine (Pinus strobus) is produced from a straight and lofty tree found in North America; used to be sometimes known as "Weymouth Pine," because it was first introduced into this country by Lord Weymouth. In America it is called white pine from the colour of its bark.
Its leaves grow in tufts of 5. The cones are very long, with loosely arranged scales.
The wood when freshly cut is of a white or pale straw colour, but becomes of a brownish yellow when seasoned. The annual rings are not very distinct, the grain is clean and straight; the wood is very light and soft, when planed has a silky surface, and is easily recognised by the short detached dark thin streaks, like short hair lines, which always appears running in the direction of the grain.
The timber is as a rule clean, free from knots, and easily worked, though the top ends of logs are sometimes coarse and knotty; it is also subject to cup and heart shakes, and the older trees to sponginess in the centre. It adheres to glue, but does not hold nails well. This timber often arrives in this country in an incipent state of dry rot, and it is very subject to that disease.
It lasts well in a dry climate, such as that of America, but is not durable in England.
Yellow pine is much used in America for carpenters' work of all Kinds; it is also used for the same purpose in Scotland, and in some large English towns, but in London and the neighbourhood it is considered inferior in strength to Baltic timber.
The great length of the logs and their freedom from defects causes this timber to be extensively used for masts and yards whose dimensions are so great that they cannot be procured from Baltic timber.
For joinery this wood is invaluable, being wrought easily and smoothly into mouldings and ornamental work of every description. It is particularly adapted for panels on account of the great width in which it may be procured, and it is also extensively used for making patterns for castings.
Market forms. - The best is imported as inch masts roughly hewn to an octagonal form.
Next come logs hewn square from 18 feet to 60 feet long, averaging about 16 inches square, and containing about 65 cubic feet in each log. A few pieces are only 14 inches square, and short logs may be had exceeding even 26 inches square. Some is imported as "waney timber " (see p. 365).
A few 3-inch deals are imported, varying in width from 9 to 24 inches, and even as wide as 32 inches.
Classification - American yellow deals are classed as follows : - their order of merit being first quality brights, first quality dry floated, first quality floated, then second quality briglits, and so on.
Brights are sawn from picked logs and have not been discoloured by being floated down the rivers, and are therefore of a much cleaner and brighter yellow.
Floated deals, etc., have been floated or rafted down the rivers from the felling grounds.
Dry floated implies that the deals, etc., have been stacked and dried before shipment.
First quality yellow deals of each kind should be clean, straight grained, and quite free from shakes and knots. Second quality are a little inferior in these respects, and third quality are inferior again.
Floating the deals damages them considerably, besides discolouring them. The soft and absorbent nature of the wood causes them to warp and shake very much in drying, so that floated deals should never be used for fine work.
The best ports are Quebec for yellow deals, and St. John for spruce deals. Goods from the more southern ports, such as Richibucto, Miramichi, Shedac, etc., are of an inferior quality.
Rafted or floated deals are shipped from all the Canadian ports except St. John, hence the superiority of St. John deals, which are always bright or unwatered.