Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta) is widely distributed over nearly all of British Columbia and is one of four western species of pine found in the Kootenay Interior wet belt. In favourable conditions, sizes range from 12 to 24 inches in diameter and 50 to 100 feet in height. The needles occur in bunches of two and are often twisted or spiraled with sharp points. Lodgepole produces thin, finely scaled bark that is orangey-brown and grey in colour. Lodgepoles are also unique in that they produce serotanous cones. The seeds are preserved inside the cones until high temperatures (i.e. forest fires) cause the scales on the cones to open, releasing the seeds.
Lodgepole Pine is light in weight and of moderate to medium strength and hardness. The lumber is of moderate durability with good nailing properties and takes paint and varnishes well. Lodgepole Pine is very similar in appearance to Engelmann Spruce and is often processed together and sold as ESLP.
The wood is light in color, ranging from yellow to cream to pale reddish-brown. The sapwood is slightly lighter, appearing almost white. The grain is soft and straight, with a fine and uniform texture. Lodgepole pine yields a good grade of small, tight-knotted stock that seasons easily and uniformly.
Products manufactured from ESLP include dimensional lumber, timbers, appearance grade boards, paneling and siding. Lodgepole Pine is relatively easy to work with which also makes it an excellent choice in the craftsmanship of fine wood furniture and construction of smaller wood products like moldings, cabinetry, and interior furniture.