Pine has always been regarded as a secondary timber.

Pine corner cupboard
Pine corner cupboard (1815-20)

During the late 17th century, pine began to be used as a foundation for veneering and marquetry. In the early 18th century, English cabinetmakers began to use pine for drawer lining and the backboards of cabinets and bureaux because pine was cheaper than the oak which had been used for these purposes.

While pine was seen as secondary in furniture for the gentry, in more modest circles, it was the primary timber. The farming communities of the British Isles, the peasants of Germany and Scandinavia and the colonists of North America and Australia all used pine as a major source of timber for their furniture.

During the 18th century, French Canadians made pine furniture in the same style as furniture made of walnut, oak or fruitwood in France. Similarly, British Canadians used pine, stained the colour of mahogany, to make furniture in the English style German, Dutch and Norwegian immigrants to North America all made painted pine furniture in the styles of their homelands.

In Australia, pine was less plentiful than in North America, but what was available was valued because it was much more easily worked than the predominant eucalypt hardwood.

Huge quantities of kauri pine were shipped from New Zealand. In the early days of white settlement, there were 2,000 year old kauri trees which were up to 40 metres to the first branch and 20 metres in girth. Kauri is richly veined and figured, of smooth texture and good colour. It was used for all manner of applications, including furniture, doors, fire surrounds and architraves.

 

Antique pine furniture available now
(Clicking on an item of interest will open a new window)