Pine Hardeners

I'm curious, do any of the pine wood hardeners, or wood hardeners in general, work? Pine is cheap these days relative to other woods and I'm wondering if there's a way to harden the wood such that it doesn't get scratched/nicked/dented as easily. I'm just wanting to make the surface stronger. The finishes I like to use are either stain (typically a Minwax color) or some paint, if required.
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Many finishes will harden soft wood, especially the penetrating oil finishes. But, I have found poplar to be less expensive than pine if you avoid Home Depot.
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pixelated:

I'm curious, too. When you add up the costs:
1) stain (to make pine look like a hardwood, which it won't) and 2) hardener (to make pine act like hardwood, which it doesn't) and 3) supplies (brushes, solvents, shop or paper towels, etc.) plus 4) your time to do all of the above,
you end up spending a hell of a lot more of your precious time and equal or MORE money for softwood than it would have cost to purchase the hardwood you were trying to emulate.
My question is simple: Why do it?
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Good question.
A big problem with topical hardeners is that they can only harden the material that they are used on as deeply as they can penetrate. Pine, by it's nature seems like it would be hard to get some magic coating to penetrate much below the surface.
Best case, what he would end up with (assuming the stuff worked at all) would be something like a pealed hard boiled egg vs an un pealed hardboiled egg. The shell of a hard boiled egg is quite hard, but it is poorly supported so it's easy to damage. Neither version of a hard boiled egg would make a good bearing :)
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From what I'm gathering from people, the answer is "don't bother". I was just just curious because I was at the hardware store the other day and they had a Minwax hardener and something else and I wondered if they really worked.

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the hardener works to a limited depth. it is a good thing to use when restoring damaged wood before filling with putty. bob
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George wrote:

It could have some utility. It won't turn pine into hardwood. It can give you a more scratch resistant surface, but bang the surface or gouge it and it will still dent and gouge like pine.
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That was where I was curious. I just finished building a pine bunkbed for one of my kids and my wife wanted to paint it rather than stain it. It's too late now as the paint is on and I can no longer see the wood :-( I like stain because I can see the wood -and- its penetration tends to hide dents a bit better vs. cracking & showing the wood.

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pixelated:

Minwhacked has an extraordinary marketing genius (plus tons of greenbacks) working for them. Ditto Searz, Thompson's, Dell, etc. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
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