This is the timber which has been used in building construction to a greater extent than any other except perhaps oak. It is peculiarly fitted for the purpose as it has grown in great abundance all over the United States and possesses all of the most desirable characteristics of a good building material, being strong, but at the same time light in weight and easily worked, elastic, and very durable. The tree is almost always a large one with branches starting at a considerable distance from the ground. It has a smooth, straight trunk, evergreen, needle-shaped leaves, of varying length, and cones.

There are two distinct classes of pines used in building work, the soft and the hard pines, both of which are found in large quantities The softer varieties are used for outside finish of all sorts, and the harder varieties for heavy framing and for flooring. The ease with which the soft-pine lumber can be cut and shipped to the market, makes it the most popular wood in use at the present time. It is of uniform texture and nails without splitting, seasons very well, and does not shrink so much as the harder pines, will take paint and is very durable. The wood is white in color, straight grained, and has few knots. The hard pines furnish the strongest timber in use for building, with the exception of oak, which is now almost too expensive to be used for heavy framing. The pieces can be obtained in large sizes and great lengths and the wood is very hard, heavy, and durable, at the same time being tough. In color it is yellow or orange, the sapwood being of lighter color than the heartwood.

There are many different kinds of pines, which are recognized in different parts of the country under various names, but there are five general classes into which the species is commonly divided, though the same timber may be called by different names in two different localities, as will be seen.

(1) The term "hard pine" is used to designate any pine which is not white pine, a classification which is very general, though it is often seen in works on Carpentry and in specifications.

(2) "White pine," "soft pine," and "pumpkin pine," are terms which are used in the eastern states for the timber from the white-pine tree, while on the Pacific Coast the same terms refer to the wood of the sugar pine.

The name "yellow pine," when used in the northeastern part of the country, applies almost always to the pitch pine or to one of the southern pines, but in the West it refers to the bull pine.

"Georgia pine" or "longleaf yellow pine," is a term used to distinguish the southern hard pine which grows in the coast region from North Carolina to Texas, and which furnishes the strongest pine lumber on the market.

"Pitch pine" may refer to any of the southern pines, or to pitch pine proper, which is found along the coast from New York to Georgia and among the mountains of Kentucky.

Of the soft pines there are two kinds, the white pine and the sugar pine, the latter being a western tree found in Oregon and California, while the former is found in all the northern states from Maine to Minnesota. There is also a smaller species of white pine found along the Rocky Mountain slopes from Montana to New Mexico.

There are ten different varieties of hard pine, of which, however, only five are of practical importance in the building industry. These are the "long-leaf southern pine," the "short-leaf southern pine," the "yellow pine," the "loblolly pine," and the "Norway pine."

The long-leaf pine, also known as the "Georgia pine" and the "long straw pine," is a large tree which forms extensive forests in the coast region from North Carolina to Texas. It yields very hard, strong timber, which can be obtained in long, straight pieces of very large size.

The loblolly pine is also a large tree but has more sapwood than the long-leaf pine, and is coarser, lighter, and softer. It is the common lumber pine from Virginia to South Carolina, and is found as well in Texas and Arkansas. It is known also by the names of "slash pine," "old field pine," "rosemary pine," "sap pine," and "short straw pine," and in the West as "Texas pine."

The short-leaf pine is much like the loblolly pine and is the chief lumber tree of Missouri and Arkansas. It is also found in North Carolina and Texas.

The Norway pine is a Northern tree found in Canada and the northern states. It never forms forests, but is scattered among other trees, and forms small groves. The wood is fine grained and of a white color but is largely sapwood and is not durable.