There are a host of species that are categorised as Baltic Pine in Australia with the main one being Norway Spruce (Picea abies). Apparently common in Europe it was transported to Australia in some quantity during the late 1800’s and early to mid 1900’s as a cheap and versatile building material (especially for window frames, cladding and floors).
The pieces we get tend to come from house demolitions and old furniture as it was common to use as shelves and backing in dressers and cabinets. It was also a cheaper timber for use in window frames, doors and so on in older buildings; in fact, it was still commonly used in the 1950’s and 60’s (and maybe later).
The grain is quite straight but has plenty of knots; which is good and bad. The knots add heaps of character but can be a right pain to hand plane; the knots are so hard they blunt blades very quickly.
It is a lovely looking timber, mainly because we generally only see it in its aged state; looks great in anything from trinket boxes to furniture. Identifying it can be tricky as it is similar to many softwoods grown in Australia and overseas. Colour can vary from pale yellow to pink to golden yellow; can be confused with King Billy Pine due to similarities in colouring but there is a distinct difference in the grain. King Billy is very fine grained whereas Baltic Pine has wider growth rings and more knots (it also smells different when cut).
Although not considered a rare or special timber we love the patterns you can get in the grain and is nice to use whether machined or hand worked.