“Pine is soft.” That’s a phrase we hear a lot at William & Henry when we find ourselves talking about our old growth Eastern White Pine. And we usually have the same response: Yes, Eastern White Pine is a softer wood, and that is exactly why we love it!
I think the reason why people may be nervous about the soft nature of the wood is because they think that means it’s not going to be stable. But if you think about it, this wood was used to build the first homes in America. It was used not only for the floors, but for the beams, the structural timbers, and the doors. It’s what was available at the time, easier to saw because it was soft, and was so stable that it withstood the harsh New England coastal climate for years…hundreds of years, in fact.
Many of these homes are still in existence. And most of them still have the original wide plank pine floors. If you read the story we tell about our Original Wide Plank Floor you’ll notice we begin with “It started with a home.” And we go on to tell the story about one of the first homes built in America in 1639, The Henry Whitfield House, now a museum in Guilford, Conn. with its original pine floors. That’s nearly 400 years ago. Now that’s stable.
And when my family had our flooring company, Carlisle Restoration Lumber, we provided the old growth Eastern White Pine floors to the Jethro Coffin House, which was the first home built on Nantucket in 1686, when it was restored in the late 1980s. We were able to perfectly replicate the original pine floors.
I love that special history, going all the way back to our country’s first settlers. I look at all the dents, the gentle scratches, the rich patina, all of the knots and natural character that were left in the boards, and just imagine the stories that were made on those floors. And then I think about my own family, and look at the dents and scratches in the pine floors in my kids’ rooms. I can remember a story about every one of those marks, so to me, each one is a precious memory.
That’s what we want our customers to think about when they consider a wide plank floor made from Eastern White Pine. Yes, the wood is soft. And yes, you’ll get some dents and scratches over the years. We think that’s the beautiful part of this type of floor. And yes, it is absolutely stable. We love to tell the stories about the history of each type of wood floor we make. But the story about our wide pine floors is our favorite. And we’re sincere when we ask you what story you’ll tell about your floors. We bet you’ll say, “It starts with a home.”