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How to Stain & Refinish Pine

Pine is a softwood found mainly in the northern hemisphere. It is widely used to make timber and wood pulp because it’s so abundant. The pine tree species has spread so rapidly in fact that it has started to overpopulate some southern hemisphere countries as well. Since pine is a soft wood it’s extremely easy to work with. It’s commonly used in carpentry for flooring, roofing, furniture construction and more. Pine cones and pine needles have a variety of uses ranging from arts and crafts all the way to food. The pine tree itself is commonly sold to make Christmas trees.
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How to Stain Pine Dark
Refinishing Pine Furniture with Alternative Methods
Polish Pine
Staining Pine to Look like Oak

Pine is the most regularly harvested wood on earth. It’s very cheap because it can be found almost anywhere in the world. It’s not much of a quality wood due to its thinness and knotty texture. Staining and refinishing pine can be difficult because the knots usually cause a lot of bleeding. However, pine is quite strong when compared to how light it is. It’s becomes easy to stain with practice and doesn’t contain any harmful preservatives like pressure-treated woods do. Additionally, the wood is fairly neutral in color allowing it to blend easily into many different settings.pine tree

Pine is commonly referred to as the eco-friendly wood because it grows fast and can be replanted rather easily. If one were to buy pine furniture they would be proclaiming an environmentally friendly statement to their guests. Oak trees take a very long time to re-grow, but make for beautiful furniture pieces. It isn’t politically correct to buy oak furniture anymore though. Refinishing pine furniture with an oak stain instead will be cheaper and better for the environment.

How to Stain Pine Dark

Pine wood doesn’t hold dark stains very well, and when it does, it usually finishes unevenly. The resin in the grain makes the surface very rigid and bothersome. Staining pine dark isn’t go to be easy, but if you follow the advice below you should be fine.

It all starts with getting the right chemical stripper. Anything that says “paint and varnish stripper” on the can should be fine. Chemical stripping should always be done outdoors because it can be extremely toxic. Once the stripper has dried you can begin sanding with 70, 100 and lastly 160 grit sandpaper. Make sure not to sand past 160 grits or your stain may not come out very dark. The higher the grit the harder it is for pine to absorb the stain, and the lighter it will turn out. Some have tried running a wet cloth over the furniture first to make the grain stick out more. The open grain will take more stain and thus allow the furniture to be painted darker.refinishing pine furniture
You may consider applying this pine sealer made by Feast Watson® before beginning the stain process. It may be counter-productive if you don’t find a matching stain to go with it though. The sealer will help the stain stick to the wood, but it may cause it to come out blotchy. I told you this wasn’t going to be easy!

Staining pine with polyshade can be very tricky if want you want a dark color. It doesn’t go very deep into the wood due to the grain. You can try dumping coat after coat on it, but it may not turn out very well.

Refinishing Pine Furniture with Alternative Methods

Many have had great success with Bullseye shellac rather than polyshade to refinish their pine furniture. To learn how to apply the shellac please click here. Shellac is both a finish and a sealer in one! It’s easy to work with and it dries extremely fast.

Another odd method I have heard of is to finish pine furniture is by using a diluted drain cleaner. This will oxidize the wood and reduce the amount of streaking on the finished piece. Simply mix Draino® half and half with water and apply it to the furniture with a rag. You may have to use steel wool with the Draino® if the finish is being resilent. Let it dry overnight, or until the wood is a yellowish color, and apply a brown briwax to the pine. Use a cotton cloth to apply the briwax so you can utilize the cottons natural heat generating capabilities. Stay away from synthetic cloths, the cotton really matters here. The light brown briwax is by far the most popular method used when refinishing pine furniture.

Polish Pine

Howards Wax n’ Feed is said to be a magnificent polish for staining wood. It is very popular amongst guitarist who would like to spice up their instruments color. There is also paste wax that you can buy that will moisturize and protect the wood. It will leave a velvet-like finish and protect the pine from heat and water. Always make sure to apply and wax or stain in the direction of the grain.

Staining Pine to Look like Oak

Sometimes people want to stain pain to look like oak in order to save a little money. There are a couple of problems with this though, the first being the grain. Pine doesn’t have the same grain as oak and won’t hold stain quite as evenly. It is prone to blotching and may be more of a headache than it’s worth. Wood can really be stained any color, but the grain is what sets them apart.


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