Planks, deals, and battens from the Baltic, when cut from the northern pine (Pinus sylvestris) are known as yellow deal or red deal. When cut from the spruce (Abies) (see pp. 363 and 371), they are called white deals.
It would be very difficult to give a list of all the different varieties of planks, deals, and battens of northern pine to be found in the market, with a detailed description of each.
Mr. Laslett says that taking deals, battens, etc., "in a general way, the order of quality would stand first or best with Prussia; then with Russia, Sweden, and Finland; and lastly with Norway."
Memel, Dantzic, and Stettin. - The deals imported are very durable and adapted for external work, but they are chiefly used for shipbuilding.
The export of deal from the Prussian ports of Dantzic, Memel, Stettin, etc., is almost entirely confined to yellow planks and deck deals, called also red deals, 2 to 4 inches thick, used for shipbuilding."
"The reason for this is that the timber from the southern ports being coarse and wide in the grain, could not compete in the converted form, as deals, etc., with the closer-grained and cleaner exports from the more northern ports." 1
Petersburg, Onega, Archangel, Narva. - These are the best deals imported for building purposes. They are very free from sap, knots, shakes, or other imperfections; of a clean grain, and hard well-wearing surface, which makes them well adapted for flooring, joinery, etc.
The lower qualities are, however, of course subject to defects.
Petersburg deals are apt to be shaky, having a great many centres in the planks and deals, but the best qualities are very clean and free from knots." *
These deals are very subject to dry rot.
All the Russian deals are said 1 to be unfit for work exposed to damp. In those from Archangel and Onega " the knots are often surrounded by dead bark, and drop out when the timber is worked." 2
Wyborg deals are sometimes of very good quality, but often full of sap.
Finland and Nyland are stated by Newland to be 14 feet long, very-durable, but fit only for the carpenter.
Ohristiania, Dram. - Yellow deals (as well as wbite, see p. 367) and battens are imported from Christiania, together with battens from Dram. They used to bear a high character, being clean and carefully converted, but are now very scarce.
A good deal of the Norwegian timber is imported in the shape of prepared flooring and matched boarding.
Dram battens are often found to be suffering from dry rot, especially when they are badly stacked.
Gefle, Stockholm, Holmsund, Soderham, Gottenhurg, Hernosand, Sundswall. - "The greater portion of the Swedish timber is coarse and bad, but some of the very best Baltic deal, both yellow and white, comes from Gefle and Soderham."
"The best Swedish deals run more sound and even in quality than the Russian shipments, from the different way in which the timber is converted.
"A balk of Russian timber is all cut into deals of one quality, hence the numerous hearts or centres seen amongst them, which are so liable to shake and split; whereas in Swedish timber the inner and the outer wood are converted into different qualities of deals. Hence the value of first-class Swedish goods.
"4-inch deals should never be used for cutting into boards as they are cut from the centres of the logs. 3-inch deals, the general thickness of Russian goods, are also open to the same objection. Swedish 21/2 and 2-inch deals of good quality are to be preferred to 3-inch, since they are all cut from the sound outer wood; although, being a novelty in the market, and their value not understood, they are cheaper." 1
It will be seen from the above quotation that the first qualities of Swedish deals have a high character for freedom from sap, etc. The lower qualities have the usual defects, being sappy, and containing large coarse knots.
Mr. Newland considers Swedish deals fit for ordinary carcase work, and Mr. Hurst says that from their liability to warp they cannot be depended upon for joiners' work.
Swedish deals are commonly used for all purposes connected with building, especially for floors.