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Blue pine is green.

THE DEVASTATION BY THE MOUNTAIN PINE BEETLE has hit the U.S. and Canada hard, leaving a landscape of dead trees in formerly robust forests. Lodgepole pines have been among the hardest hit species, but the growing market for beetle kill pine products has given cause for hope among many, along with a new green wood with a slightly blue tinge.

Corbin Clay became intrigued with the idea of using wood from the beetle killed trees, also known by the trademark Denim pine. "There is nothing wrong with the beetle kill or blue pine wood. It can be a little trickier to dry, especially material that's been standing dead for five to seven years. I treat it like a tropical hardwood."

Clay, who owns The Azure Furniture Co. and recently won the Ketel One Gentleman's Call competition (read CWB February), uses locally sourced beetle-killed pines in his designs, which include desks, tables, media storage and dining furniture. He said he likes the distinctive look of the material, which is often used in rustic pieces.

"There are limits to what you can do with a wood like blue pine. It wouldn't work in a Chippendale style table, for example. But I design pieces with a very simple look; I believe you gain elegance through simplicity. They have a Scandinavian design feel in that the wood is featured and the design is quiet. Beetle kill pine is 'noisy' enough," said Clay.

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John Misak, owner of Southern Rustic Furniture, uses lodgepole, as well as Ponderosa pine, in his furniture designs, which include tables, benches, cabinetry and furniture. His Adirondack chairs are a perfect fit for the blue pine wood. "I always say the blue in blue pine should be in quotes because it can be blue but more often it's a gray or blue-gray. Ponderosa pine, another hard hit species, will give a totally different color," said Misak.

Misak sources locally and says despite the climate conditions in Colorado, there is a wealth of good wood. "The blue pine story is that this wood has another chapter, another life and it's my experience that a lot of people are happy to see it being put to good use."

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RELATED ARTICLE: WOOD SPECS

FAMILY NAME:

Pinus contorta of the Family Pinaceae

COMMON NAMES:

Lodgepole pine, contorta pine, knotty pine, black pine, spruce pine. Also blue and Denim pine.

HEIGHT/WEIGHT:

The common height for lodgepole pine is 70 feet with diameters of 24 to 30 inches, but trees can grow to 120 feet or more. Weight is 29 pounds per cubic foot. It has a Janka hardness of 402.

PROPERTIES:

Lodgepole pine works well with both hand and machine tools.

The wood glues and finishes well and is straight-grained with medium texture. The wood also is moderately soft and light.

Lodgepole pine has knots, typically small in size, and a distinctive resinous odor. The beetle killed blue pine can vary in color from blue, to blue-gray to gray.

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Title Annotation:LODGEPOLE PINE
Author:Kaiser, Jo-Ann
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Jun 1, 2013
Words:512
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