Is it necessary to finish raw pine?

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Hi,
We have just bought some furniture for our kids' bedrooms and it is Scandinavian pine, fairly light coloured & quite nice. However the surface is slightly rough and it has a kind of unfinished look. Apparently the pine will deepen in colour with age and look warmer but we are worried that it is unprotected at the moment. Is it OK to leave it as is or should we wax it or something before assembling it?
There are two wardrobes and three chests of drawers so an answer along the lines of "it will be fine just to leave it" would be most welciome :) If we do need to finish it I would rather not use a paint-on varnish or hard coating - I would incline towards wax, or maybe a very light stain. Recommendations welcome.
Thank you for tolerating my extremely ignorant questions - I am very new to home decorating and we don't get along too well so far...!
Kate
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Kate J. asks:

Yeah, it needs finishing if you're to have any chance of keeping it clean over the years, and in the hope it will retain some of its attractiveness.
From what it sounds like, you need to--lightly--sand with a 150 or 180 grit paper then coat with finish. As a quick note, stains are stains, thus are coloring agents, not complete finishes; wax is used to produce a sheen on a surface and is not any kind of finish.
If you really, really want to reduce work, there are several types of stain and poly in a can. IMO they look awful, and are far more difficult to apply so that they cover properly than is a two step system, but you may want to go to your nearest home center (dunno what they call 'em in the UK) and check out the various types.
You will also run up on spray cans of different finishes. These are fine for small objects, but cost the eart for larger items. If you do decide to take this route, do it OUTDOORS. The mess of overspray plus the aroma of such finishes lingers long after the job is done.
Charlie Self "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure." Mark Twain http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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It sounds to me like she is try to avoid the fun putting on a finish, with all the brushes,drop cloths, steelwool, etc.. How do you think a wipe on poly finish would work for her? just sand, and wipe on with a rag, almost like waxing. agreed not as good as the brush or spray on, but it is a fairly good finish and should be avaible at the local hardware or paint store.

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if we are talking about a major armature with very little time and knowledge/skill and trying to protect a kids bed. Yup Wipe on is great. If you are Charlie Self forget it.
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Young Carpenter writes:

WTF did I say about wipe on finishes?
I knocked stain and varnish combos. Nothing to do with wipe-ons.
Armature?
Charlie Self "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure." Mark Twain http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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motor-mouth got all wound up, and mis-spelled "amateur".
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cause your anti Ploy
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Young Carpenter responds:

What does that mean? I don't like combo poly/stain. Check your archives to find out just how much I've said against "ploy." Uh, that's if you mean "poly." If you mean "ploy," we're past talking about woodworking and back at politics.
You do have a real problem with reading things into posts that aren't there. Or is it trying to justify screw-ups you make with anything that comes to mind?
Charlie Self "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way." Mark Twain http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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Ok Better yet that was an off hand comment. I should have left you out of it. sorry. Amateur was the intended word but my spell check didn't catch it.:)
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Young Carpenter writes:

It wouldn't. It was spelled correctly, if you're talking of electric motors and similar devices.
Charlie Self "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way." Mark Twain http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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Stain won't protect the wood, just darken it. Wax on bare wood is usually not a good idea. Here in the US we have something called Tung oil, which is like varnish, but you can apply it with a cheesecloth.
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There is a pure tung oil that dries very slowly and offers almost no protection and tung oil finishes, mixtures of oil and a varnish that can be wiped on and do pffer some protection.
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Ok It would be fine just to leave it :>) That being said, I would finish it to control moisture exchange. Perhaps a water base poly to retain the light look. Tony D.

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Kate J wrote:

Much of the question depends on th eage of the children. If they are young enough that crayons are an issue, you'll need a fairly serious finish. If they are older so that you merely want to keep the occasional spill from soaking in that is entirely different. Hideous though it is, polu will protect from little kids crayons. A paste wax, renewed regularly, will protect against the occasional spill. Only you know your kids. Hope that helps, not a firm Y/N. Dave in Fairfax
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Kate: Call the place where you bought it and find out if it is in fact unfinished. Some finishes are so flat that they are very hard to detect; e.g., an armoire of ours reflects almost no light and my wife keeps asking me to varnish it. If it turns out to be unfinished, follow Charlie Self's excellent advice.
Bob Schmall
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I would wipe on a few coats of tung oil. It will protect the wood and allow the wood to natually color.
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Tung oil (at least the real stuff) wouldn't be practical for a bed that might get much use/abuse
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Young Carpenter writes:

Most tung oils on the market today are reinforced. UGL makes a good ne, ZAR Wipe On, available in several sheens. About as easy to put on as anything you'll ever find.
Charlie Self "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure." Mark Twain http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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is it all that durable though?
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Neither stain nor wax is a protective finish. Wax, if done on a regular basis may help protect the wood from having some of the stickier stuff kids can find from, if not left on for too long, staying stuck to the wood. Other then that and any change in color wax or stain may impart to the wood you may as well not bother as far as protection goes.
With the furniture you describe and your stated preferences I would use three or four coats of a Danish Oil. Danish oil is a wipe on wipe off mix of curing oil with some varnish type resins. Watco, one brand of Danish oil, comes in natural and a range of colors. The natural will warm the look of the pine. I'd follow up the Danish oil with a coat of wax, again that will help keep some of the stickier things kids can find from sticking to the wood.
While not high on the protection scale it should do the job nicely on things like a wardrobes and chests. If there are any level surfaces at playing height, you know, low enough to land toy planes on or race match box cars on I'd consider having some tempered glass cut to fit those surfaces. That and add some little no slip buttons on the corners of the glass.
Further notes. If you do use a Danish oil I would not put it on the inside of any of the drawers. Leave the drawers, except for the fronts, unfinished. Danish oil does take awhile to cure fully and will have a distinctive odor that will take awhile to dissipate fully. Apply the oil as directed on the can and do not neglect to wipe it off the excess after the stated period of time. Another plus with Danish oil is that it can be easily renewed by application of another coat or two. The wax over the Danish oil should also be renewed occasionally for best appearance.
Good luck
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