Ponderosa Pine grows in the western regions of the United States. The specific regions primarily include areas west of the Great Planes, and from Washington south to California. There are many species of pine that grow in these regions, and ponderosa pine is sometimes sold with other pine species of similar characteristics. It can grow in a wide variety of soils, including dry sites or areas of low rainfall. Ponderosa pine grows mostly in pure stands, and thrives best at elevations between 2000 to 6000 feet.
Ponderosa pine heartwood ranges from a creamy-orange to a light reddish-brown color. But unlike many other species, there is little difference between the colors of heartwood and sapwood. Also, like other pine species, ponderosa pine has resin channels. It is a slow growing tree with a straight, uniform grain pattern and a medium texture. It ranks low for hardness and shock resistance, but average for stiffness and crushing strength. It weighs and average of 28 lbs/cu. ft. Ponderosa pine ranks below average for durability, and should not be used for outdoor projects without protective finishes.
Ponderosa pine works very well with both power machines and hand tools. It is not easily split, and ranks average for holding fasteners. Ponderosa pine is an excellent turning and carving wood. Sanding does not pose a problem, and it has excellent gluing qualities. Also, ponderosa pine accepts a wide variety of stains and finishes very well. But it is recommended to use a sanding sealer prior to applying finishes, to help prevent resins from bleeding through. Clear finishes tend to bring out the natural beauty of the wood, and stains can be used without blotching. Since it has relatively small pores, filler is not required prior to finishing.
Wood Species Index
Ponderosa pine has many interior exterior uses. Some of these include: furniture, knotty pine cabinets, wall paneling, ceilings, and veneer. Additional uses are flooring, doors, window frames, interior and exterior trim, and construction lumber.