I'm finishing up a country dining room table made from yellow pine. Never
having worked with yellow pine, is there anything to watch out for? I'm
using a Minwax oil base stain, probably topped with clear wipe-on
polyurethane and wax, or just wax.
I expect the wood to get dented and such from wear, it's quite soft compared
to maple or white oak, but I am more concerned with possible staining from
wine and such, and basic maintenance years from now. Part of me says a poly
finish will be more impervious to liquids, part of me says wax will be
easier to maintain long term. Any advice?
For some reason, I would tend to look for a penetrating finish -
Silkens maybe? Pine will turn gray over a period of time especially if
outdoors. Actually, I rather enjoy the color of gray wood outside -
looks more realistic I guess. Pine is So soft that I would like a
finish "in" the wood rather than on it. Others can give you a better
I would use a wood conditioner prior to applying any stain. It will reduce the
chance of stain "blotches" that are typical in pine. Follow directions on the
For a kitchen table, I would use three or four coats of thinned wipe-on poly
(2/3 poly, 1/3 turp), then follow up a nice coat of wax. Lightly sand in-between
coats. It should be smooth without the plastic look and feel.
Note: If you stain the wood. A homemade wipe-on poly as described above will
pull off some stain due to the turpentine. To avoid this, you can use straight
poly out of the can for first coat.
I'm an eternal lover of varnish. Try Waterlox, then wax if
you like. The amber (not yellow, not oragne) tone it imparts
to that pineywood stuff is very nice, it's waterproof, and
is a fairly tough but easy to repair finish.
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Make sure to prep the wood before staining with a lite sanding sealer
or pre-stain conditioner. Min Wax makes a Pre-stain conditioner which
works fine. You can put stain on 15 minutes after application (I
think). Pine will blotch with even the lightest stain and you will be
very unhappy if you don't do this first.
Also, some woods can work well with no stain when you want a natural
look and will age well but Pine should always be stained as it will
tend to fade with time. Somehow even the lightest stain seems to
reverse this and let it darken nicely with age.
I was at the Woodcraft Store in St. Louis about a month ago picking up some
Bartley wipe on stain and the guy that teaches the finishing class was
there. I asked him about finishing pine and he told me to wipe on one coat
of Shallac and after it dries sand to no finer then 180 grit. Then apply the
stain. I tried it on a scrape piece when I got back and it worked great.
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