Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
Warren Taranow
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2427
Joined: June 30th, 2009, 8:24 pm
Location: Pacific Northwest

Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#1 Post by Warren Taranow » November 22nd, 2019, 6:19 am

I'm in the process of ordering new racking. Pine is $ thousands less than the other two. I'm not using a finish. Besides cosmetics, are there any disadvantages to choosing pine?

Thanks for any advice.

Warren
"If the only prayer you ever uttered was thank you, it would suffice."
Meister Eckhart c. 1260 – c. 1328

CT - WST

User avatar
Brian Tuite
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 19490
Joined: July 3rd, 2010, 8:53 am
Location: Podunk CA

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#2 Post by Brian Tuite » November 22nd, 2019, 6:21 am

Pine warps easily. Otherwise not really. Redwood is ultra-soft.
Bob Wood - 1949-2013 Berserker for eternity! RIP

"On self-reflection, I think a big part of it was me just being a PITA customer..." ~ Anonymous Berserker

"Something so subtle only I can detect it." ~ Randy Bowman

2019 WOTY...

User avatar
John S
Posts: 795
Joined: May 29th, 2009, 11:45 am
Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#3 Post by John S » November 22nd, 2019, 6:30 am

Pine, as I recall, can warp and worse yet mold and be weak over time. It does not last as along. Most people use redwood since in a cellar environment (humid) the material works great and last a super long time. It needs no finish and none of mine have discolored.

Search engine and google are your friend here to weight the pros and cons of each.
John Sprow

User avatar
Jeremy C
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1054
Joined: November 11th, 2013, 11:16 am
Location: El Paso

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#4 Post by Jeremy C » November 22nd, 2019, 7:02 am

I’ve seen plenty of cellars with pine racking and I haven’t noticed any warping or mold.

My current cellar has alder cubes but I plan on using unfinished pine for the next.
Cuth.bert.son

Steve Brickley
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1193
Joined: April 16th, 2011, 9:31 am
Location: SF Bay Area and Nice France

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#5 Post by Steve Brickley » November 22nd, 2019, 7:42 am

I have had pine for nine years. No warp, mold.... no problems.
Steve

Sarah Kirschbaum
Posts: 2680
Joined: September 20th, 2010, 11:53 am

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#6 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » November 22nd, 2019, 7:44 am

We did mahogany and so far we love it. Our builder had good access to it at a decent price, and from what I've read it's generally considered more sturdy than pine or redwood, but still breathable and sturdy.

User avatar
Chris Blum
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 9304
Joined: October 10th, 2009, 1:40 pm
Location: Home of the Mayo Clinic

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#7 Post by Chris Blum » November 22nd, 2019, 7:48 am

I’ve had pine racks (diamonds, singles, mag singles and flat racks) for over a decade and I’ve never had any problems with warping or mold.

Plus, it’s a native renewable species.
"Well, wine only turns into alcohol if you let it sit" -- Lucille Bluth
"The Packers f'n suck" -- Todd French

User avatar
GregT
Posts: 8255
Joined: April 15th, 2009, 3:12 pm

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#8 Post by GregT » November 22nd, 2019, 10:11 am

And as far as lasting longer, both will last longer than either you or the wine. Most homes in the USA are built with pine.

If you're worried about mold, why not just put a coat of water-based poly on them? That also makes them much easier to clean if you should ever need to. Please don't say that you're worried about off-gassing. And as far as warping - pine may warp if it's left in a raw lumber state. But these are going to be shelves that are nailed to other pieces. The wood is seasoned before use and there's not going to be much room for warping when pieces are fastened together, which is one reason your walls don't become like a fun-house.
G . T a t a r

[i]"the incorrect overuse of apostrophes is staggering these days. I wonder if half the adults these days have any idea what they are for." Chris Seiber, 5/14/19[/i]

User avatar
dsimmons
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 684
Joined: January 7th, 2017, 11:51 am
Location: Anchorage, AK and Rockport, TX

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#9 Post by dsimmons » November 22nd, 2019, 11:22 am

IMHO the only real practical difference is aesthetics.
D o n

User avatar
Josh Grossman
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2067
Joined: August 30th, 2017, 11:26 am

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#10 Post by Josh Grossman » November 22nd, 2019, 11:30 am

Brian Tuite wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 6:21 am
Pine warps easily. Otherwise not really. Redwood is ultra-soft.
As long as it's properly cured and heartwood, really? Redwood and cedar also have natural anti-fungal and anti-insecticidal properties that make them a natural fit for things that have high humidity and fungal pressures.

johngonzales
Posts: 7693
Joined: June 19th, 2009, 6:07 pm
Location: City of Angels

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#11 Post by johngonzales » November 22nd, 2019, 3:43 pm

Josh Grossman wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 11:30 am
Brian Tuite wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 6:21 am
Pine warps easily. Otherwise not really. Redwood is ultra-soft.
As long as it's properly cured and heartwood, really? Redwood and cedar also have natural anti-fungal and anti-insecticidal properties that make them a natural fit for things that have high humidity and fungal pressures.
I think cedar might be too aromatic for a cellar. It is also not particularly dimensionally stable. Mahogany I wood think is the best choice as it is strong, will hold to the humidity, fastens well, and looks good. It’s also WAY more expensive, so maybe overkill.

Redwood is the in-between. It is of medium strength, resists humidity and fungus, and I still not that expensive.

Pine is the economical choice. It costs much less than mahogany. But it IS soft. So it can warp more (especially in humidity), is not as strong/stable, and has little fungal resistance. It probably wouldn’t harbor mold, and in racks the strength is not crucial. However if one were to have vertical member of 1x2 or 1x3 that carry any load, they wouldn’t need a design that has some horizontal breaking every 36” or so, or verticals made of two pieces forming an L, or they definitely can bend under load. I have some pine racks that did exactly that and I had to install some horizontal cross braces at approx 32-36” interval. So pine sim fine but needs to be designed beyond the simplest form.

Mike Maguire
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1248
Joined: April 27th, 2010, 4:35 pm
Location: University Place Wa.

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#12 Post by Mike Maguire » November 22nd, 2019, 3:53 pm

Actually mahogany racks are cheaper than redwood but more expensive than pine.
Side note, I sided the first house we built with mahogany, got a deal, a lot of splitting
When nailing but it still looks great 40+ years later.

Frank Drew
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5603
Joined: February 1st, 2009, 8:08 am
Location: Virginia

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#13 Post by Frank Drew » November 22nd, 2019, 5:44 pm

Genuine Mahogany - IMO the best all/around furniture wood - is pretty expensive now but even a good size cellar won’t be using that much material in terms of board footage; most of the cost of custom racking will be labor. Nowadays, a lot of what’s called mahogany really isn’t. I agree woth Greg that there’s little chance of catastrophic wood failure in any reasonable time frame for any of the woods mentioned. NB, there’s yellow pine which is fairly hard but a bit splinter prone, and there’s white pine which is fairly soft but not like it would break easily.

User avatar
alan weinberg
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 12000
Joined: April 25th, 2009, 1:23 pm

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#14 Post by alan weinberg » November 22nd, 2019, 8:47 pm

last cellar was mahogany. New one will be alder, 25% cheaper and looks great.

User avatar
Jeremy C
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1054
Joined: November 11th, 2013, 11:16 am
Location: El Paso

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#15 Post by Jeremy C » November 22nd, 2019, 9:08 pm

alan weinberg wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 8:47 pm
last cellar was mahogany. New one will be alder, 25% cheaper and looks great.
Alan, was this a custom job? I have alder now and I do like it but it was a custom job and I don't desire to spend that again for my next space.
Cuth.bert.son

maureen nelson
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2366
Joined: June 21st, 2009, 5:12 pm

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#16 Post by maureen nelson » November 22nd, 2019, 9:13 pm

The cedar used in cellars is western red cedar and doesn’t have the scent you are thinking of. My first cellar by apex was cedar.

Phil Graves
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 49
Joined: June 12th, 2013, 8:08 am
Location: Sandy Springs, GA

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#17 Post by Phil Graves » November 23rd, 2019, 3:34 am

We used poplar. double deep 20 slots high with bulk storage on top. totally loaded and no issues 5 years in.

User avatar
alan weinberg
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 12000
Joined: April 25th, 2009, 1:23 pm

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#18 Post by alan weinberg » November 23rd, 2019, 6:48 am

Jeremy C wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 9:08 pm
alan weinberg wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 8:47 pm
last cellar was mahogany. New one will be alder, 25% cheaper and looks great.
Alan, was this a custom job? I have alder now and I do like it but it was a custom job and I don't desire to spend that again for my next space.
yes. Being built now.

Nathan Smyth
Posts: 3595
Joined: February 15th, 2009, 7:11 pm

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#19 Post by Nathan Smyth » November 23rd, 2019, 1:38 pm

If sunlight were involved, then, over time, the pine would cure to look overwhelmingly better than redwood or mahogany.

But I'm not sure how pine would cure in total darkness.

[Old sun-stained yellow pine (Pinus palustris???) is far & away the most beautiful wood I've ever seen, especially if it has lots of knots in it, although be forewarned that many finishes nowadays offer 100% UV protection, so your sunlit pine won't be able to cure properly and turn gorgeous.]

As far as pungency is concerned, the redwood & pine will produce strong [possibly offensive] odors, but [in my very limited experience] mahogany is larger odorless.

PS: It's jaw-droppingly expensive, but Tried & True Original Traditionnel Polymerized Linseed Oil & Beeswax will make mahogany look about as nice as mahogany is capable of looking.

User avatar
Kelly Walker
Posts: 1198
Joined: June 6th, 2009, 7:01 pm

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#20 Post by Kelly Walker » November 23rd, 2019, 5:04 pm

I had my cellar done with unfinished cypress heartwood. One of the most moisture resistant, dimensionally stable woods. Really durable. Looks great.
What Kevin Shin said.

Nathan Smyth
Posts: 3595
Joined: February 15th, 2009, 7:11 pm

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#21 Post by Nathan Smyth » November 23rd, 2019, 6:46 pm

cypress heartwood
Cypress & Redwood are very closely related:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cupressac ... sification

And the juglone from black walnuts kills them both dead as doornails.
.

User avatar
Randy Bowman
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 9893
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 2:23 pm
Location: Napa, CA

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#22 Post by Randy Bowman » November 23rd, 2019, 8:01 pm

I have mahogany racking, redwood racking, homemade pine racking and cubes along with displays made from original wood boxes the wine comes in. They are all between 12 and 16 years old and solid as a rock. Everything was put together pre-drilled with screws. Nothing fell apart during the 2014 earthquake. They all blend in in a single room with European Birch laminate flooring. If I had any complaints it would be the redwood's softness but that too is minor.
IN THE BUSINESS SHILL: An associate of a person selling goods, who pretends no association to the seller and assumes the air of an enthusiastic customer.

User avatar
Jason T
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2086
Joined: June 8th, 2014, 7:45 am
Location: London

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#23 Post by Jason T » November 24th, 2019, 4:06 pm

Frank Drew wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 5:44 pm
Nowadays, a lot of what’s called mahogany really isn’t.
What is it?
J@son Tr@ughber

Nathan Smyth
Posts: 3595
Joined: February 15th, 2009, 7:11 pm

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#24 Post by Nathan Smyth » November 24th, 2019, 5:32 pm

The cedar used in cellars is western red cedar and doesn’t have the scent you are thinking of. My first cellar by apex was cedar.
Eastern Red Cedar is actually a Juniper.

It's so pungent that Down South we use it in lieu of mothballs.

Frank Drew
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5603
Joined: February 1st, 2009, 8:08 am
Location: Virginia

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#25 Post by Frank Drew » November 28th, 2019, 9:06 am

Jason T wrote:
November 24th, 2019, 4:06 pm
Frank Drew wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 5:44 pm
Nowadays, a lot of what’s called mahogany really isn’t.
What is it?
Jason, for me, genuine mahogany is from the Western Hemisphere and is either Swietenia macrophylla (sometimes called Honduran mahogany but it also grows elsewhere in Central and South America) and Swietenia mahogoni (traditionally called Cuban mahogany but it also grows in Florida and a few other Caribbean locations; historically the finest mahogany but it’s now quite rare.)

African mahogany (Khaya ivorensis) is a very distant relative to Swietenia but is, IMO, altogether inferior to its American cousin; it’s less expensive (rightfully so).

Philippine “mahogany”, Santos “mahogany, Royal “mahogany” are marketing labels and those woods bear no relation to genuine mahogany; think Gallo Chablis.

Sapele and a few other tropical timbers are also sometimes marketed as mahogany.

User avatar
Kelly Walker
Posts: 1198
Joined: June 6th, 2009, 7:01 pm

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#26 Post by Kelly Walker » November 28th, 2019, 9:55 am

I have a beautiful pool furniture set made from Ipe. Wears like steel. I wonder if someone has done wine racking using it?
What Kevin Shin said.

User avatar
PaulMills
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2067
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 4:54 pm
Location: Greenville, SC

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#27 Post by PaulMills » November 28th, 2019, 11:08 am

My racking is pine and is no showplace, but totally functional. I have no worries of wood failure or mold.

Gerhard P.
Posts: 4912
Joined: April 28th, 2010, 11:06 pm
Location: Graz/Austria

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#28 Post by Gerhard P. » November 28th, 2019, 11:48 am

If not for optic/cosmetic reasons I´d take what is cheapest. It really doesn´t matter. The wine would care.

My (self-constructed) racks are from cheap spruce - and work for 27 years without any problems.
Gerhard Pr@esent
composer / AT

User avatar
GregT
Posts: 8255
Joined: April 15th, 2009, 3:12 pm

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#29 Post by GregT » November 28th, 2019, 12:21 pm

I agree. You're not going to spend hours in there looking at racks are you? Its purely for function, so just get the least expensive.

As to mahogany, it's true that a lot of what is sold as mahogany is not really mahogany. However, that doesn't mean it's bad for racking. Most of the tropical hardwoods are very disease resistant and quite hard. Most also tend to split and splinter more easily than softwoods like the various pines. If you can, find out where your wood is from. They're doing a lot of illegal logging all over the world and if there's any way to avoid supporting that, I would.
If sunlight were involved, then, over time, the pine would cure to look overwhelmingly better than redwood or mahogany.

But I'm not sure how pine would cure in total darkness.

[Old sun-stained yellow pine (Pinus palustris???) is far & away the most beautiful wood I've ever seen, especially if it has lots of knots in it, although be forewarned that many finishes nowadays offer 100% UV protection, so your sunlit pine won't be able to cure properly and turn gorgeous.]

As far as pungency is concerned, the redwood & pine will produce strong [possibly offensive] odors, but [in my very limited experience] mahogany is larger odorless.
Not sure how true any of that is. The first is solely personal aesthetics. To me, all woods are beautiful, just different. And the knottier the wood, the worse it is to work with, although it can look nice. For racks, you want fewer knots, not more knots.

I'm not aware of any finish that offers 100% UV protection. Many woods, especially tropical woods, change in response to oxygen and light and if they are going to do so, they're doing so regardless of finish. What does happen is that some of the oil-based finishes become yellow themselves, so if you put that on white pine, that wood is going to turn golden-orange. The old varnishes and shellacs can eventually become dark brown. Some of the water-based finishes tend to yellow less, so if you want the "natural" color of the wood, use those, but some of them give a blue kind of shading. There are some super-hard aluminum-based finishes that tend to do that.

Properly cured white pine will not produce any offensive odors, especially if you're not cutting and working with it, which you won't be once the shelves are in place. And even if it did, that is not going to affect the wine. The main reason for sealing the wood is to make it easier to clean in the event of a spill. Any wood mentioned in this thread, plus many more, are going to look good. But think about it. If you make individual slots, the only things you'll see are the standards in front and the ends of the rails. So it becomes more or less irrelevant. You can even paint them if you want a nice color, in which case it doesn't matter what wood you use. You can even use exterior plywood, which is usually cheap pine. It is probably what is on your roof. Unless you're going to spend time showing off your cellar, which is a bit like forcing people to look at pictures of your kids or grandkids, just go with what is most economical.
G . T a t a r

[i]"the incorrect overuse of apostrophes is staggering these days. I wonder if half the adults these days have any idea what they are for." Chris Seiber, 5/14/19[/i]

Frank Drew
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5603
Joined: February 1st, 2009, 8:08 am
Location: Virginia

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#30 Post by Frank Drew » November 28th, 2019, 1:04 pm

I completely agree that choosing a wood for wine racking should be pragmatic in the extreme; I love mahogany but I wouldn’t use it in that application. And if UV protection in a wine cellar is a concern then the effect on your racking is the least of your problems.

User avatar
Jason T
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2086
Joined: June 8th, 2014, 7:45 am
Location: London

Re: Unfinished Pine vs. Redwood vs. Mahogany; another cellar question

#31 Post by Jason T » November 28th, 2019, 3:54 pm

Frank Drew wrote:
November 28th, 2019, 9:06 am
Jason T wrote:
November 24th, 2019, 4:06 pm
Frank Drew wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 5:44 pm
Nowadays, a lot of what’s called mahogany really isn’t.
What is it?
Jason, for me, genuine mahogany is from the Western Hemisphere and is either Swietenia macrophylla (sometimes called Honduran mahogany but it also grows elsewhere in Central and South America) and Swietenia mahogoni (traditionally called Cuban mahogany but it also grows in Florida and a few other Caribbean locations; historically the finest mahogany but it’s now quite rare.)

African mahogany (Khaya ivorensis) is a very distant relative to Swietenia but is, IMO, altogether inferior to its American cousin; it’s less expensive (rightfully so).

Philippine “mahogany”, Santos “mahogany, Royal “mahogany” are marketing labels and those woods bear no relation to genuine mahogany; think Gallo Chablis.

Sapele and a few other tropical timbers are also sometimes marketed as mahogany.
And today I learned something. Thanks for the explanation Frank!
J@son Tr@ughber

Post Reply

Return to “Wine Talk”