How to Identify Pine Boards

Pine boards are used for flooring or home furnishings such as bookshelves, bed frames or cupboards.
Identifying pine is moderately easy owing to its distinct characteristics.Identifying pine is moderately easy owing to its distinct characteristics.
Pine is a common, evergreen soft wood. There are different types of pinewood, the most common being yellow and white pine. Identifying pine in your home or in a shop is moderately easy owing to its distinctive characteristics which are similar among the different types of pine. Knowing what wood you have will enable you to treat, repair or clean the boards using the appropriate tools and products.

Step 1

Remove any paint or varnish that is covering the wood you wish to identify. Follow the product's instructions to make sure you completely remove the paint, leaving the wood undamaged.

Step 2

Look at the color of the wood; if the wood is pine it will be yellow in color. Yellow pine wood is yellow-brown in color, whereas Ponderosa pine is pale yellow with a slight pinkish tinge. White pine is a light, pale yellow color.

Step 3

Check the direction of the grain in the wood. If your board is made of pine, the grain will run length-ways across the board as this is the most attractive and suitable cut.

Step 4

Look at the pattern of grain in the boards. Pine board has clearly visible oval or circular rings of grain in the wood. The lines are slightly darker than the color of the pine itself (usually a yellowy-brown in color). White pine boards will have close, uniform rings of grain.

Step 5

Identify small knots in the grain. Pine (regardless of type) has dark spots on its surface. These are seen within the circular lines of grain and are known as knots. These dark marks are classic characteristics of pine and will be visible if your boards are made from pine.

Step 6

Touch or stroke the wood. Pine boards will be smooth to touch as the timber has already been cut for use by a timber merchant. Pine has a flat grain so when you move your hand across the wood you will not feel bumps or roughness.

Step 7

Lift the pine board. Pine is a lightweight softwood and you should be able to lift a 5 by 1 foot length of pine board without struggle. A pine door can be moved by one person whereas a solid oak door would need two people because it is a denser, harder wood.

Step 8

Compare your wooden board with other types of wood. Use photos of wood online or in a timber catalogue or take one of your boards to a hardware store.

Things You Will Need

  • Varnish/ paint remover
  • Brush

About the Author

Based in Bristol, Philippa Jones has been a music journalist and script writer since 2007, working across a range of radio programs in the U.K. and Australia. Her articles have appeared in "Impact Magazine," "The Mic" and in local newspapers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in politics from the University of Nottingham.