Sippican Cottage

Close this search box.
starch factory maine 1280x720


A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

I Have A Love For Common Pine Boards That Surpasses All Understanding

A tour through the neighborhood Hancock lumber mill. I live in Maine now, where a mighty pine is crabgrass.

Pinus strobus. Eastern White Pine. I’ve written about them before.

10 Responses

  1. If only Weiner had put himself through the debarker our political future would be very different today.

  2. Pretty nice clip, S.C. I've never been inside a working sawmill and enjoyed seeing the automated handlers, since I sometimes work on automated systems myself.

    But what happens to all those pine planks? Furniture? The last time I did anything with pine planks was to make shelves out of them and some cinder blocks (nearly 40 years ago).

    And what becomes of the 'heels' of the logs and plank rejects? Ground up for particle board?

  3. There is little that compares to the perfume of northern white pine in the shop.

    Sure the knots can be hard enough to chip a planer blade and sometimes the pitch laden dust gums up the rollers but it's a sweet featureless canvas for a woodworker – almost weightless.

  4. My love for Gerard surpasses all understanding, and the bounds of good taste as well.

    Hi JC- Thanks for reading and commenting.

    Officially, those are boards, not planks. A plank is two inches plus thick, I think. Thinner than a board is a stick. Thicker than a plank is a timber.

    It's likely those boards are all destined for home centers for residential construction. It is still the defacto standard for exterior painted trim, though plastic stuff is catching up. I listed a lot of stuff I use pine for in the linked essay, as well.

    Everything is used at the mill. The bark is mulched for landscaping. The chips are usually biomassed for energy. There's a paper mill down the street from me, and trucks laden with chips go there all day long. They're usually hardwood chips, though, not softwood like pine. They generate their own electricity with biomass, and produce landscaping mulch as well. I don't know of any plywood or OSB mills around here, but I'm new here so could be mistaken. It's paper and cardboard and dimension lumber, and firewood of course.

    Hi Clarke- Thanks for reading and commenting.

    There are some types of pine they call sugar pine because they smell so sweet. When I run the dust collector and plane or sand eastern pine, it smells like an exotic bread is being baked. I love it, too.

  5. Many, many moons ago, I worked as an admin flunky for a cabinet factory in Connecticut. That odor hit you as soon as you walked in the door.

    I miss that smell.

  6. My dad, who was a logger and a joker, too, would say, "that was funnier than a six-fingered sawyer in a card game."

  7. Growing up in South Carolina, my cousin Lovick had a saw mill. I loved, loved visiting that place. Two basic rules: first, don't touch anything because it will kill you. Second, don't come in here drunk. That wasn't a concern, really, at my tender age, but for him employees it was a real risk.

    And boy was it ever not computerized, much less guided by nifty laser grids!!

  8. Hi TK- Thanks for reading and commenting.

    "…don't touch anything because it will kill you"

    Love that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thanks for commenting! Everyone's first comment is held for moderation.