Scotch Pine

Other name:     fir

Botanic name:  pinus sylvestris

German:           Föhre, Kiefer

Culture history

Being a plant the Scotch pine and the birch-tree formed the first woods after the ice-age but they were displaced by oak-trees and beeches. People coltivated it because of its high contents of resin. Distillation delivers not only tar for sealing barrels and boats and the solvent turpentine, but colophony to tap violins. Trunks with lots of resin were cut into small rods of 20 cm length and used aspine-toarches for illumination until the 19th century. A floor made of scotch pine timber hardly creaks the stages the mean the world are frequently made of Scotch pine.

In general

Scotch pine grow nearly everywhere. After spruce and beech the Scotch pine is at the third place concerning the part of the domestic woods. The stand of black Scotch pine timber is mostly situated at the eastern edge of the Alps. You can find knotfree trunks up to a length of 20 metres. The Scotch pine reaches an age of 600 years, but they are cut down at an age between 100 and 160 years.

Characteristics of the timber

The timber of the Scotch pine is rich in resin and it feels fat. The annual rings are clearly visible because of the different cellular walls of the spring- and the autumn-wood. The honey-coloured sapwood and the reddish-brown heartwood Show the characteristic image which is less pronounced in freshly cut conditions.


The timber of the white Scotch pine is medium-heavy (kiln density 510 kg/m³), a bit more weight has the black Scotch pine (kiln density 560 kg/m³). The soft to medium-hard timber of the white Scotch pine shows a Brinell hardness of 19 N/mm², while the timber of the black Scotch pine is just medium-hard with a Brinell hardness of 25 N/mm². Both timbers adjust quite rapidly to the climate of the surrounding concerning the moisture. Knotfree timber has a higher resistance than spruce but this advantage is hardly noticed because of the irregular course of the fibres. The timber of the Scotch pine is easy to dry and to work except the pasting of the tools when working trunks with lots of resin. After degreasing - which means the removing of the resin rom the surface - it is easy to polish and to stain. Concerning durability it is to point out that the heartwood is found in class 3 to 4 (moderate to less durable). The sapwood is very prone to blue-fungus. This is why it is recommended to work freshly cut Scotch pine timber immediately. The apwood of the Scotch pine is easy to impregnate, the heartwood is not.


The timber of the Scotch pine offers a variety of different forms of use. For example it is used for construction, joiner’s work, furniture for industrial use and semi-finished products. As the difference of the colours between sapwood and heartwood keeps getting more and more obvious and because of the numerous knots it is often used for furniture to give it a rustical touch. Impregnated timber is commonly used for playgrounds and masts. Furthermore its sawdust and shavings are used as sources of energy in forms of pellets and briquettes.