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Scots pine – Excellence and image

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Research based information on Scots pine properties and uses

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  • Versatile material: well suited for surface treatments, impregnation and thermal modification
  • Harmony with surroundings: natural, renewable material with even controllable properties but individual appearance
  • Stability and durability: good dimension and form stability, minor checking, heartwood susceptible to moisture uptake
  • Tooling and surface treatments are easy: : narrow rings and smooth variation, straight grains, small knots, wood is advantageously soft and tough, surfacing agents attach and stay on easily

Exterior uses

Scots pine wood is well suited for exterior end uses, such as claddings and garden and landscaping construction. It may be used either sawn or planed, or as a round debarked and peeled timber. Scots pine is commonly used for poles and pylons, boats, bridges, decking, fencing, as well as acoustic barriers, a. The performance-to-price ratio and easiness to machine are among the advantages of Scots pine wood. The straightness of timber, good strength, and minor need for maintenance are gained by the careful selection of raw material.

Pleasant appearance and texture, cost-effectiveness, and harmony with surroundings are the positive factors of Scots pine in exterior claddings. Preservatives, surface treatments or heat treatments give pine wood more sustainability. Untreated heartwood is moderately durable against weather provided appropriate dimensions of boards are used and the structural protection against weather is applied. Heartwood is less prone to dimensional instability and checking due to varying temperature and humidity of surrounding air.

In decks, terraces and patios, pine offers a harmonious visual appearance and suitable colour intensity. Technical features, such as narrow growth rings, dimensional stability, small knots, and easy assembly, aim at comfort together with safety. Various surface treatments and colours offer more variation for individual choices.

Scots pine wood can easily be modified physically or chemically to better meet the end use requirements. By heat treatment, for example, a variety of wood properties can easily be enhanced. The main advantages of heat treatment are improved stability, diminished tendency for shaking, and enhanced resistance against humidity and wear. Scots pine sapwood can easily be impregnated, and pressure impregnation improves the durability, decay resistance, and stability. Tall oil impregnation is another, more environmentally friendly method to upgrade stability and durability of pine-made products. Impregnated, straight transmission poles made of pine offer ease of setup and good electric insulation. Wooden poles with appropriate impregnation treatment are favourable and cost-efficient in tooling and fastening of cables.

More information
 >tensile strength perpendicular to grain 
 >decay resistance | moisture uptake | heartwood proportion 
 >basic density | density variation from pith to bark 
 >shrinkage | shrinkage anisotropy 
 >drying deformation 
 >annual ring width 
 >growth regions of Northern Scots pine 
 >thermally modified wood (link to International Thermowood Association web page) 
 >impregnated wood (link to Finnish Wood Preserving Association web page) 

Nevalainen, S. 2004. Decay resistance of Scots pine from Northern Finland. IUFRO WP S5.01.04 Conference: Connection between forest resources and wood quality - modelling approaches and simulation software.
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Stöd, R. 2009. Anisotropic shrinkage and swelling of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) wood from commercial thinnings in Finland. In: Ispas, M. & Gurau, L. (eds.). Proceedings of the International Conferece ICWSE "Wood Science and Engineering in the Third Millennium" 2009: 15–20.


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Updated: 06.04.2010 /MGre  |  Photo: Erkki Oksanen, Metla, unless otherwise stated  |  Copyright Metla  |  Feedback