What is whitewood - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 38 Old 09-17-2013, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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What is whitewood

While at Lowes I realized that what I've been making my chest of drawers is called whitewood. (I thought it was the same as pine) Then I found a section of wood labeled pine. The pine was a little darker in color. So what is the difference between pine and white wood? And what is lodgepole pine?
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post #2 of 38 Old 09-17-2013, 07:31 PM
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While at Lowes I realized that what I've been making my chest of drawers is called whitewood. (I thought it was the same as pine) Then I found a section of wood labeled pine. The pine was a little darker in color. So what is the difference between pine and white wood? And what is lodgepole pine?
Whitewood is a generic term covering several deciduous species.

If you know the actual species, as in pine, lodgepole, forum member Phind's excellent site is a great place to see terrific pictures of samples of the species. Many other sites have one picture, Phinds has many for a given species, and especially magnified pictures of the end grain, so useful for a positive identification.

http://hobbithouseinc.com/personal/w...s/#pine,_white
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post #3 of 38 Old 09-17-2013, 08:49 PM
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It's box store terminology for Pine/Spruce.






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post #4 of 38 Old 09-17-2013, 11:31 PM
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I doubt it. "White wood" should refer to the generally colorless sap wood of most arborescent (tree) species.
If you're looking fir figure, color and grain patterns, you're looking for the core wood, the heart wood from most trees.

Trees can't take a dump like people. So, they spread their wastes into old parts of the tree and into the leaves. Leaves fall off. Core/heart wood sustains.

Clearly, the moral of this lecture is just that tree poo is pretty.
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post #5 of 38 Old 09-18-2013, 10:33 PM
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For the most part whitewood is a grade of wood also called SPF, meaning spruce, white pine and douglas fir.
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post #6 of 38 Old 09-18-2013, 11:48 PM
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Not quite. SPF means any kind of spruce, any kind of pine and any kind of fir. Real fir = Abies sp.
Douglasfir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) is not a "fir" from the botanical/taxonomic POV. So I have to write the common name as a single word.

The 'house fly' is a real fly so that's 2 words. Dragonflies and butterflies are not real flies so those are single words. That is the letter of the biological composition. Anything else is wrong.

We still get some spruce but the blue-grey of the bugwood (aka beetle killed pine) is what they all want to sell for studs/construction. What discourages me is that there's no way to hold the color in finishing.
I built two sets of kitchen storage benches, beautifully figured bugwood. Took me a year to pick out what I wanted to use. Oranges and yellows of fresh wood, blue-grey streaks of bugwood fungus. Varathane and the entire project just looked drab and dirty and old and worn out.
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post #7 of 38 Old 09-19-2013, 07:09 AM
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Whitewood is also used as a generic term for hardwoods like poplar or cottonwood. Not at Home Depot though.

Dave in CT, USA
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post #8 of 38 Old 09-19-2013, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by jargo432 View Post
While at Lowes I realized that what I've been making my chest of drawers is called whitewood. (I thought it was the same as pine) Then I found a section of wood labeled pine. The pine was a little darker in color. So what is the difference between pine and white wood? And what is lodgepole pine?
white wood can be a lot's of tree's and be a type of pine ? go here and read about this alos http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitewood
go here and read about the lodgepole pine https://www.google.com/#q=+lodgepole+pine
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post #9 of 38 Old 09-19-2013, 07:42 AM
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Talking

So what I deduct from everything I've read here is that the stuff called whitewood should probably be called "bastard wood" That would be two words because it is wood, but we are all clueless as to who its parents are?.....
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post #10 of 38 Old 09-19-2013, 07:53 AM
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So what I deduct from everything I've read here is that the stuff called whitewood should probably be called "bastard wood" That would be two words because it is wood, but we are all clueless as to who its parents are?.....
Actually we know the parents. It just doesn't like being called botanical names.






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post #11 of 38 Old 09-19-2013, 11:47 AM
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Typically "white wood" is softwood pines, firs. spruces.

However, Big Boxes will throw almost anything into that category. Ask the store but you might not get accurate answers.

Howie..........

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post #12 of 38 Old 09-19-2013, 01:13 PM
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I have been using white pine to build projects since the late 70's. The wood sold at Lowe's and Home Depot still looks exactly like the boards I bought decades ago. But they call it Whitewood. Good luck finding one that is flat! :-)

I made this corner hutch (used white pine) for my mom in 1983.
I made this toy box for my wife recently (used Whitewood from Lowe's).
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post #13 of 38 Old 09-22-2013, 11:06 PM
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A few years ago I was looking for a piece of pine in a HOme Depot. I was standing in an aisle full of construction grade spruce. A young female employee went by, and I stopped her and asked, "Where can I find pine?"

She looked at the shelves around us and said, "Isn't this pine?"

I said, "No it's spruce."

She said, "Oh, I thought they were the same thing."

I haven't heard the term whitewood. Perhaps there is something in Canadian law that says the woods have to be identified by species. They keep pine along with poplar, oak and maple in the local HD. Still, it's not as good as the stuff I can get at a real lumber yard.

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post #14 of 38 Old 09-23-2013, 10:08 PM
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Could be Maple

While I was at Lowes I saw some ply that was maple, it was pretty white. I also saw Hemlock boards there that were not pricey.

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post #15 of 38 Old 09-23-2013, 10:19 PM
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In the North west WW stamped on the wood is white fir/hemlock
Doug fir and larch would be marked F/L
Pine is marked PP/LP and Idaho white pine is more expensive and would be marked white pine. Not the same as eastern white pine

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post #16 of 38 Old 09-23-2013, 10:44 PM
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"White Wood" has top be some sort of generic color term like 'red' and 'green' so that the staff at Lowe's don't get confused. They can't cope with a buyer/customer who knows the difference between spruce and mahogany.
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post #17 of 38 Old 09-24-2013, 10:07 AM
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I've been told by a good friend that white wood is when they're not really sure what it is, so it sells for cheap.

It makes sense because when you buy actual Doug fir up here, you're investing some cash.
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post #18 of 38 Old 09-24-2013, 07:20 PM
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I would say that soft maple could be classified as white wood, it is much whiter then any mentioned in previous posts. However there is very little grain accent, and is much cheaper then hard maple(sugar maple). Closer to the price of pine, and others mentioned.

My father was my inspiration for woodworking, wish he was still around for more advice. Luv ya Dad.
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post #19 of 38 Old 09-24-2013, 08:35 PM
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I would say that soft maple could be classified as white wood, it is much whiter then any mentioned in previous posts. However there is very little grain accent, and is much cheaper then hard maple(sugar maple). Closer to the price of pine, and others mentioned.
Wood sold in big box stores as "whitewood" is never maple.

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post #20 of 38 Old 09-24-2013, 08:59 PM
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I am surprised no one has mentioned paulownia aka "chinese cedar". There is another contestant for the white wood moniker.
I often think that it slips in on the imported wood goods sold here. From what I have read, it is a fast growing tree which tends to make for weak lumber.
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