I've an old cottage with old natural pine doors which have all mellowed
over a lot of years to that soft honey type colour. The back hall (I
resisted saying 'back passage') has been totally stripped, replastered,
etc and now needs skirtings, facings, etc. which I would like to have a
reasonable match with existing doors.
I recently was staying in a hostel up north and the timber colour in
the shower area was exactly what I wanted. The wood was remarkably
free of knots so was not redwood. Was it likely to be good quality
white wood stained ? - with what and what would the matt finish likely
to have been as it was totally free of dust trapment and runs that I
always associate with polurathane varnish.
There are grades of redwood that have very few knots, but it's not something
you will find in your average timber merchant. Hemlock is pine coloured
without knots. Pricey though. They might even have used cedar in a shower
Softwoods generally darken and go orangey with time. A bit warmer than honey
If you apply polyurethane sparingly with a rag (2-3 coats) you get a uniform
satin look rather than the garish finish you get following the instructions.
I have stained clear(sih) pine skirting boards with Rustin's Stain, and the
result was OK. I finished witha coloured wax, though I doubt that's a good
idea in a shower. The stain is taken up differentially by the pine in
certain areas, but using a light ( antique pine ) stain the effect was not
too noticeable ( except on one piece of wood which simply would not accept
stain in about three areas ). The worst problem you will encounter is if you
try and stain a pine sphere, like a Newel post ball on a bannister - that
entails staining every aspect of grain possible, and the end grain will soak
up stain and turn dark. The other slight problem area is around knots or
near misses of knots, where a slight butterfly pattern is visible as the
grain changes direction around the knot. Finally, make sure the surface is
uniformly smooh before staining, otherwise roughened areas will
preferentially take up stain.
Oh gawd, don't remind of my battles to get a reasonable honey pine
colour. Somewhere I still have 20 odd "sample" sticks I did with
numerous combinations of products to get the right effect.
I was restricting my self to the "quick dry" water based stains, as
with several doors to do polys would be way too time consuming.
Anyway, I found most "antique pine" products came out far too orange or
brown if used direct, plus of course variability due to grain patterns
etc. Plus the quick dry can be a draw back, on something large like a
panelled door, even trying to keep a wet edge going easily leads to
problems and patchiness as areas overlap.
So the key I found is to seal the surface first with a clear QD satin or
matt product, then apply a very light coat coloured QD stain / varnish,
seal with another coat or two of clear. The act of sealing the wood
first enables almost a colour wash to be done, and slows the drying
(absorbing) of the coloured stain so a good wet edge can be maintained,
and eliminates grain variability from equation.
My product of choice _was_ a Ronseal (I think) QD Antique Pine, which is
unfortunately, as best I can find, no longer available. The nearest
ant-pine I subsequently found is a bit too brown, so I've lost some of
the honey "glow" I originally had.
I did try the coloron spirit dyes. Worked OK on a nice slab of redwood
for a window sill, but was a disaster on a batch of skirting. I'd
selected about 16m of almost knot free pine, but some patches of very
absorbent grain screwed it all up. So that lot was scrapped.
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