Beetle Kill Blue Stain Pine
Beetle kill pine or blue stain boards are available in 1x6 tongue and groove in 8’ through 16’ lengths. What isn’t so common are 1x4 through 1x12 “square” edge boards. More spottily, blue stain lumber comes in 2x4 through 2x8 dimensional sizes. Front Range Lumber stocks all these sizes.
Blue stain pine is a very misunderstood product. There are three major misconceptions about blue stain/beetle kill pine:
- It all comes from very close to Denver (or Colorado)
- Every board is very blue
- Every board will be totally useable in its entirety
The pictures above are meant to be descriptive only and NOT to indicate overall quality, ANY amount of blueness or other natural characteristics which vary. Wood in general and in this case, blue stain pine differs in appearance between boards, batches and seasons.
Useful beetle kill pine lumber information:
Check out the 1st image above: All 3 photos show the huge variation in color (including amount and shades of blueness) found in this product. All three show other characteristics commonly found in this somewhat rustic item - cracking, knots, pitch pockets, etc. In fact the 1x4 sample of beetle kill pine lumber on the far right has beetle-boring holes which is sometimes found in the material - Don't Worry - this wood has been heat treated/kiln dried and that process kills any living insects in the wood. These photos also show the 3 major "patterns" Front Range Lumber stocks: Regular boards like on the left and right, a T&G V groove pattern (2nd sample) and a square edge T&G pattern (#3).
- Blue stain and beetle kill are the same item. A bacteria carried by the pine beetle “infects” and eventually kills the tree, a side effect of this bacteria is the “blue” discoloration in varying amounts in the wood. As pictured on our website, a typical log that produces blue stain boards is only “blue-colored” in the out-most 2” or so of the tree. The beetles/bacteria affect only the sapwood portion of the tree.
- While 1x6 T&G boards used for paneling and siding are the most common item available in blue stain pine, many other sizes are readily available, including boards in 1x4 through 1x12 widths in 8’ through 16’ lengths and 2x4 through 2x12 widths, again in 8’ through 16’ lengths.
- The blue staining of the wood does NOT reduce the strength or integrity of the wood itself.
- All blue stain wood is graded as #3 grade. The grading rules for #2 (or better grade) boards do not allow for any blue stain to be showing, which means that all blue stain is assessed as #3. However, looking at the boards, the overwhelming majority of the goods you’ll receive are far better than the “average” #3 board, which is generally a low grade meant for palleting, crating, very rough construction or bracing. However, there WILL be lower quality boards in the mix, please plan to have some “waste” as you may be unable to use a small portion of the wood you purchase due to large knots, wane, or other undesirable aspects in any given board. Based on its low cost, you can still have a very economical product. Some percentage of the boards will have undesirable defects. On a milled product such as 1x6 T&G paneling, the percentage will fall off further since machining will take off some of the defects.
Be aware of the wide variation in the boards in both “blueness” and overall quality/appearance.
It is important to note the amount of “blueness” varies wildly from board to board. As stated earlier, ANY amount of blue in the board necessitates a #3 grade.
This is a true pine board. Most pine (i.e., non-blue stain) is labelled as pine but is truly a mix of pine and spruce species. Spruce as a whole is a less desirable wood as the knot structure lends itself to a less attractive wood surface.
This material can readily be machined into log siding, 2x decking products, any siding pattern desired and moldings. Many users are interested in doors, trim and flooring – all possible in this type of wood.
Blue stain is often talked about as a “green” product, especially as many believe it is locally sourced, thereby reducing carbon footprints and the like. However, this is an incorrect assumption despite significant stands of beetle kill lumber in Colorado (even in the immediate I-70 mountain corridor). Virtually all blue stain being sold in our area comes from Canada, the Dakotas, Montana and Idaho. One of the largest reasons for this sourcing is that there is no large commercial lumber mill operating within Colorado.
Many customers desire 1x6 tongue and groove boards to be used for flooring; for this application you’ll need to use *square edge* tongue and groove boards. This installation will leave no gaps between boards if installed properly resulting in a solid floor surface. One note of caution: pine is a softwood, unlike oak, maple, cherry, etc; therefore it may not perform as well in a flooring application.
Blue stain veneers are now available for plywoods. We stock 4x8 sheets in a 1⁄4”, 1⁄2” and 3⁄4” thickness. These are “good” both sides and generally come with an MDF core.
We can get blue stain boards machined into whatever pattern you’d like. For example, we ordered some “channel rustic” shiplap pattern for a customer recently – they were beautiful.
Blue Stain Plywood
Blue stain plywood is now available in ¼”, ½” and ¾” thicknesses.