Where does Antique Reclaimed Heart Pine flooring come From?
Heartwood is Universal, Antique Reclaimed Heart Pine is Unique
All wood species contain “heartwood,” not just pine, and that’s where some misunderstandings start.
Heartwood is the innermost of four layers in the cross section of a tree:
1. The first layer is Bark (inner and outer);
2. The second layer is the Cambium (typically a thin green layer under the bark);
3. The third layer is the Sapwood, or the growing section within the tree which is most susceptible to decay;
4. The fourth most inner layer is the “heartwood,” which is actually no longer a living tree component though it is more resistant to decay, and usually much darker in color.
All “heartwood” is not equal, especially when we’re talking about antique reclaimed heart pine “heartwood.”
With prices ranging from $4-$18 per sq. ft. for antique reclaimed heart pine, depending on style, grade and width, you should confirm exactly what you are getting before you buy.
You’ll not wish to be paying for reclaimed pine, sometimes described to potential customers as reclaimed heart pine,
at prices equivalent to the actual value of Antique Reclaimed Heart Pine.
Antique Reclaimed Heart Pine has many cousins
So beware of imposters!
Work with an Experienced Reclaimed Wood supplier
Just because pine comes from an old building or is dragged from a river doesn’t make it “heart pine.”
“Heart Pine” isn’t always reclaimed or centuries-old to be called that, either. Many pines have local names, and many wood dealers will use the pine name that they feel will sell their products. You may hear it called Southern Yellow Pine, Antique Yellow Pine, or just Heart Pine. In some cases the heartwood of a number of pines are called “new” heart pine, though even that could be highly inaccurate.
The most prized pine wood was once called “The King’s Pine,” when this country was still owned by England, was what Whole Log Lumber calls antique reclaimed heart pine. It’s a Longleaf pine, and yet not a softwood as other pine, notoriously slow-growing in the Southeast, with the hardness of oak. It was the skeleton for sailing ships of the day and ultimately the backbone for the industrial factories that forged America’s reputation as a manufacturing powerhouse.
Most of the 300-500 year-old trees were, for the most part, eliminated by about 1910 due to over-harvesting.
Some second and third generation growth stands are still cut today, and is likely bought and sold as “new Heart Pine.”
In addition to being unsustainable, the heartwood that made the original heart pine famous, is just not much available in the wood as they trees haven’t had been allowed to grow very large. Lot’s of blonde or yellow in the wood is a marker to note here.
The virgin woodland stands of heart pine are now gone forever, although we are fortunate to have some preserves here in the Southeast. Today authentic antique reclaimed heart pine can only be recovered from old buildings, factories and homes built over 100 years ago that are now being deconstructed.