Pine is probably one of the most common woods out there but looks can be decieving. The term pine refers to many different trees. There are somewhere around 115 different trees that are pine. Pine is very much a utility wood as it is used very often in construction so trees are grown as fast as possible to produce a profitable ratio between yield and growing time so maximum profit can be made. Therefore much of the pine out there is not of very high quality and has a great deal of knot holes which must be worked around. Also often pine will have a higher moisture content since it is often used for construction it doesnt need to be to furniture standards. To get good furniture grade pine with minimal knots look to spend hours in the wood pile or pay more for the high quality stuff. As far as workability pine is very very easy to work along the grain. It is very soft and hand planes beauitfully with the grain. Also pine is a very splintery wood and across the grain it doesnt really cut very well as the different grain tends to seperate and leave a torn up surface. The end grain on the other hand is an absolute bear to work and should be avoided at all costs. To work pine end grain you must have your tools as sharp as possible which means going all the way up to honing them. As far as finishing goes pine is one of the hardest woods to finish. with the hard and soft grain to add color to pine requires a lot of special finishing techniques. usually i only use pine in applications where it has a natural finish. for beginners i would not recommend pine as a good wood to start off with. There are just to many problems with it. I tend to just leave it to use in utility applications such as drawer sides and drawer guides. for that it works very nicely.