The chest has now been repaired and is ready to go home. What a great transformation!

The chest has now been repaired and is ready to go home. What a great transformation!

This winter, we had our fair share of ice in Middle Tennessee. When the ice dams formed on a number of roofs, the water found a way inside many homes, and besides structural damage, some personal belongings were damaged as well. This antique long leaf heart pine chest was one of those pieces. Originally out of Texas, this chest is made from wood that is about 150 years old. Longleaf pine trees usually grew only an inch in diameter every 30 years and this chest has many pieces of wood that has at least 6 growth rings per inch.

Arriving in a new land, early American settlers discovered a vast forest of over 95 million acres spanning from the Southern Atlantic shoreline to the Mississippi River. Within this forest was the Longleaf Pine Tree, which was a dominant species at the time. They grew four feet in diameter and up to 150 feet tall. The Longleaf Pine was a slow grower and matured in 400 to 500 years. They gained the name “Heart Pine” because of its unique large center of red heartwood with very little surrounding sapwood. Now don’t confuse this pine with the pine you see at the local lumberyards. The heart portion is dense, heavy, insect-and rot-resistant, incredibly hard, and unequaled in beauty, strength and durability. American colonists used heartwood pine lumber for every type of building purpose. The strength of the wood made it suitable for industrial buildings, bridges, wharves, and railroad ties. The keel of the USS Constitution which resides in Charlestown MA is made from a single heartwood pine timber.

During the Industrial Revolution, heart pine was the building material of choice for constructing factories, as it was strong enough to help span large open areas. However, due to the demand for heart pine lumber the Longleaf Pine was almost cut to extinction, and with its very slow growth rate; it made reforestation un-economical. Therefore, the only heart pine we have today comes from reclaimed wood.

This chest had some serious problems. The water had leaked onto the top for some time and had not only ruined the finish, but had cracked and bowed the top. The final finish was General Finishes Pecan followed by Enduro Var topcoat. To see the work I did on this chest, click on the gallery below.  Be sure to subscribe to the website so you can stay up on all of our whimsical projects.  You can also follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/popsrestorations.