I'm building some internal shelves from raw pine, and would like a nice dark
walnut finish, without that raw feeling of the wood.
Being a rank amateur, I need some advice....
I was planning on staining the wood, sanding, then applying a furniture wax
to give it a better finish. Would this be OK? If not, some other suggestion
would be much appreciated.
The slightly higher cost of the walnut looks mighty nice
compared to the cost of the pineywood PLUS the stain PLUS
the time/headaches it takes to do it several times. Add
that stained pineywood always ends up looking _much_less_
classy_ than that nice, easy walnut does. Always.
But it's his call, and if that's what he wants...
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If you want the look of walnut you should, as Jack said, start with
Walnut. Recognising that not everyone can afford to do that, could
you perhaps laminate walnut strips to the front of your shelves and do
up a walnut face frame for your book case? You'd get, (approximately)
the overall look you're going for, without as much of the expense.
Stained pine _always_ looks like stained pine. Not that that's
necessarily a bad thing, but folks who like the look of real walnut
generally avoid trying to mimic it with pine.
I was also considering a laminate, but in the same way that stained pine
looks like stained pine, doesn't laminate look like laminate? I was hoping
for that raw wood feel to it, rather than perfect 100% flat finish - whcih
swayed me towards the stain finish rather than laminate... Is the stain/wax
finish a bad idea?
Unfortunately I'm fairly limited to using pine at this stage - which is a
I apologise, "laminate" might have been a poor choice of words leading
you to think of Formica counter tops or something. Maybe I should
have said "glue-up" or "edge-band."
Assuming a 1" thick shelf that's say, 10 inches deep, cut the shelf to
9 inches and glue a 1X1 piece of Walnut to the front of it. From most
viewing positions a quick glance in the direction of the bookshelf
gives the impression of walnut. Granted, once you're actually
selecting a book you'd see the pine shelving, but it won't be as
unattractive as an entire shelving unit in stained pine.
You'll still need to spend the money for solid walnut sides, but you
can save a bunch by using a "secondary" wood for the shelves with a
"primary" wood front strip and face frame. The shelves are what, 50
to 80% of the total boardfeet in a bookcase? Made out of secondary
wood, you're savings should be considerable.
Aamof, it isn't even really "cheating." Quality hardwood doesn't grow
on trees ya know. ;> As it gets rarer, more precious, and more
expensive, it makes good sense financially and ecologically to use
secondary woods most places where looks aren't the primary concern. A
quality casework piece of Cherry with pine or poplar drawer interiors
is still a quality casework piece.
Somewhere between "too expensive to build" and "really crappy looking"
is a compromise. Part of the fun of becoming a real craftsman is
finding it. :)
Hope this helps and encourages,
"Michael Baglio @nc.rr.com>" <mbaglio<NOSPAM> wrote in message
Thanks very much Michael, thats great advice. I'll give that a go. It's all
in the "ideas floating around the head" stage at the moment, so you're
advice has put me in a better direction.. Thanks again.
Stained pine.. HA! What was I thinking!? :-)
For what it's worth, you might consider using solid red oak with a dark
stain. Without a grain filler, oak will have that "wood feel" you want.
You might even like it without the stain---my wife sure does! Sand it
to 220, put on a few coats of Watco danish oil following directions on
the can, and a week later put on a few very thin coats of a really good
paste wax. Your books will thank you.
In fact, I bet you could finish the whole project for not much more than
trying to stain the pine. With our local prices, red oak being $2.20/bf
and #2 pine at about half that, I figure an 8-foot 11.5 inch shelf would
cost $17.60 in oak, $8.80 in pine. Add $5 for a can of stain and you're
in the ball park. Then again, you didn't mention how many of these you
want to build---it gets hard to amortize $5 or $10 worth of stain if you
need 20 of these shelves.
Other more knowledgeable folks have spoken, listen to them! And thank
yourself that you aren't just giving up and going to Home Despot to get
some cheapo shelving.
For one thing, it's an affront to the Woodworking Gods, and they'll be very
For another, it's virtually impossible to stain pine a walnut color without
exotic "professional stuff." I don't know what the "professional stuff"
is, but whatever it is, they spray it. I distribute commercially-produced
furniture for a living, and I've seen tens of thousands of pieces of "dark
walnut" stained SYP go through my hands. They get it to look almost
halfway decent, but I've never come even remotely close to that kind of
stain job with any of the BORG products.
The best solution is, of course, to use real walnut. Once you buy your
first piece of walnut, all the dark stains will go in the trash. :) The
only thing is it might be better to play with something cheaper and less
addictive, like maybe cocaine.
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < email@example.com>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
If it is not too late, and you must have a walnut appearance, you may want
to reconsider your wood choice.
Poplar, if it is available in your area, and properly selected to minimize
the use of the highly colored heartwood, can be finished to resemble walnut
to an uncanny degree, and it is much less expensive than walnut.
Assuming for some reason, you decided to not buy dark brown melamine covered
particle board, then I have two tidbits of advice for you!
Advice #1 - Don a flak jacket and buy a brad nailer for defense (defence)...
Advice #2 - Pine is notorious for blotchiness whilst staining. Start here
Then here: http://www.minwax.com/products/woodstain/woodfinish.cfm . You want
Dark Walnut 2716.
Finish up with several slathers of:
http://www.minwax.com/products/protective/wipe-on.cfm . Keep slathering until
all that "feeling of raw wood" is gone!
Me, Minwhacks and Bruce Johnson all say "Yur Welcome!"
I think you'll need some sort of finish besides just wax to get the look
that you're after. Consider one of the many wipe on finishes to give it a
little luster. It won't fool anyone into thinking its walnut but it's as
close as you'll probably get without veneer. Good Luck,
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