Radiata pine for boxes

I've recently started making small boxes for mounting original prints (on the top). Unfortunately my joinery skills are currently inadequate; I see a lot small flaws in every box I make, and I want to achieve a higher standard of workmanship before I start selling the boxes. Each box gets a little better, as I work out techniques and proportions, so there's progress. I've been making boxes out of poplar, but since I'm now resigned to doing a number of practice boxes, I'd like to use something a little less expensive. (Yeah, I know poplar isn't that much.)
Anyhow, to finally get to the point, what do you all think of the working properties of radiata pine? It looks pretty good-- I've used it for shop jigs-- and it has a rather pretty, if simple, grain. In my small experiments, it seems to take stain fairly evenly. Thanks much for any advice and guidance.
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What is radiata pine? :-)

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http://www.google.com/search?q=radiata+pine&sourceid=opera&num=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

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Lowell Holmes asks:

Pinus radiata. Monterey pine. US and Australia, with NZ and South Africa also as introduced ranges. Not much different from other pines.
Charlie Self "Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen." Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
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On Tue, 17 Aug 2004 21:31:36 +0000, Charlie Self wrote:

I googled it before asking the newsgroup, but there seemed to be a lot more stuff on radiata as a quickly renewable wood resource than on its working qualities. It looks different from a lot of other pine, at least to my eye. I can't think of a really good way to describe it, but there's a degree of chatoyance (lapidary term, kind of a sheen) to the wood that ought to be very attractive if properly exploited.
I guess no one's used it.
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Well, I do a lot of things backwards, I Googled after I posted the question. The OP seemed interested because of price. I'm not sure any imported wood will be low priced. Consider the cost of Ponderosa pine at the borg. You can buy hardwoods cheaper. (I know, wood from New Mexico is not imported - except in Texas it is. :-)
In the Houston area, you can buy rough ash about as cheap as any thing, IIRC it's less expensive than red oak.

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On Tue, 17 Aug 2004 18:44:12 -0500, Lowell Holmes wrote:

At HD, radiata pine is substantially cheaper than poplar, which is cheaper than oak.
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On the back of one of the better woodworking magazines was a feature on a turner who used this wood, in particular because of the way the influence of the branches extended all the way into the center of the tree. This made for some spectacular turned bowls, with incredible grain patterns.
That is, if I remember this correctly, and it wasn't one of the old ones a friend gave me.
Pine can be beautiful, done right. And the power company piles up the tree trimmings to be taken away, no questions asked, so the price for green is right....
Patriarch
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At Houston Hardwoods, Ash is 1.95/bd.ft, Red Oak #1 common is 1.75/bd.ft, Poplar $1.80/bd.ft, and #1 common poplar is 1.13/bd.ft. All these prices is for 4/4 stock. For 50 cents/bd.ft. they will mill it S2S1E. IIRC, the borg prices for oak and poplar is about 4.00/bd. ft. I normally buy the wood S2S1E.
I can't imagine buying wood from the borg. :-)
I guess I'll go look for radiata pine. OBTW, Clark Hardwood Company prices are a little more than HH, but still much cheaper than the borg.

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Well, I'm deeply envious. There's nothing but HD and Lowes here (NW Florida) and a couple of small suppliers who serve the local hobby market and charge fairly high prices. Mail order seems pretty expensive when you add in the freight.
I'm bereft.
On Wed, 18 Aug 2004 07:04:13 -0500, Lowell Holmes wrote:

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Radiata pine is widely available as a 'furniture' timber in Australia.
It is pale, soft, knotty, weak, glues ok, sands ok, cross-cuts poorly, nails ok, drills poorly, screws poorly.
When plantation-grown and kiln-dried it twists, warps, bends, bows, and checks, and when it dries further the knots fall out.
Radiata pine is to woodworking as a Big Mac is to fine cuisine. It is an abomination.
It takes a stain ok though.
-- conehead
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wrote:
snip--

Pinus radiata. aka Monterey pine. Grows like a weed here in NZ. It's rather variable like many pines, but if you select good lengths, it's a nice enough timber. Stay away from knotty bits, as they tend to drop out as it dries. It is very cheap.
Easy to work, sands nicely and takes stains well. With care I have seen it made into some very nice furniture.
Barry Lennox
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