Cooking Antique Long Leaf Pine


Some time ago a customer came into my shop and ordered 3-4 stacking pine tables from the last of my antique long leaf pine stash(just about depleted after this order).

Well, as we woodworkers use our secret stashes of lumber, we almost always use the best pieces first. Eventually we use the more shall we say problematic pieces down the road. It is not to say that these venerable pieces of wood are not as valuable as the wood already used, it is just that they require a lot more effort to make them usable.

That being said, the pieces of antique lumber I have left are extremely loaded with sap. After ready through a variety of Fine Woodworking Magazine articles, I came across one that fit my situation. The article suggested that the sap in pine could be set (crystallized) if baked in an oven at 160+degrees for twelve hours. Well my wood need a total of almost 24 hours bake time and then 3 weeks to regain moisture levels (that was lost due to the baking)  to approximately 6-8%.

First time I tried baking pine, I used my oven at home. When baking sap laden pine the air smells of pine or turpentine. This woody fragrance can really set off your spouse if it permeates the entire house. Below are some pictures I took of my new ” Easy Bake” sap setting oven using a ceramic heater set underneath the large metal surround. I made the oven out of scrap 1/2″ plywood, 1″ thick foil face insulation board and a small 1500 watt quartz heater.  It worked like a charm and I managed to stay in the good graces of my wife. The photos give you a brief idea of what happens to the wood from rough stage to useable stage.