How to stain pine furniture

Written by crystal bench
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How to stain pine furniture
Stain pine furniture to create a beautiful piece. (pine night stand image by James Phelps from Fotolia.com)

Unfinished pine furniture is less expensive than the already stained kind. When you purchase unfinished pine furniture, you can have the satisfaction and pride of finishing what could become an heirloom piece of furniture because pine furniture can last more than 200 years. Pine is a somewhat difficult wood to stain due to the softness of the wood, but as long as you work carefully, you will end up with a beautiful piece of furniture.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Sandpaper, 120, 220 and 320 grit
  • Sanding block
  • Rags
  • Shellac
  • Wood stain, oil based
  • Flat paint brush
  • Polyurethane, gloss and satin

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Sand the pine piece, beginning with the 120-grit paper, then the 220 grit and finally with the 320 grit. Always sand with the grain, not across it or in round strokes. Wrap the sand paper around the sanding block for large flat surfaces.

  2. 2

    Wipe off the sanding dust with a dry rag.

  3. 3

    Apply a thin coating of shellac to the pine piece, paying special attention to any knots or whorls in the wood. Allow to dry overnight.

  4. 4

    Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying the stain. In general, you will apply the stain with the paint brush, working from the top of the piece to the bottom and with the wood grain. Let it absorb, and wipe off the excess.

  5. 5

    Stain and wipe one shelf, side or drawer of the piece at a time. This helps the stain to soak in evenly across the piece.

  6. 6

    Let the pine piece dry overnight.

  7. 7

    Sand the piece gently with 320-grit sandpaper.

  8. 8

    Apply a second coat in the same manner. You may repeat two or three times to achieve the desired effect.

  9. 9

    Apply the gloss polyurethane according to the manufacturer’s directions. In general, apply a thin coat of the polyurethane, let it dry overnight and gently sand the finish with 320-grit sandpaper.

  10. 10

    Apply the satin polyurethane according to the manufacturer’s directions. In general, apply a thin coat of the polyurethane, let it dry overnight and gently sand the finish with 320-grit sandpaper.

Tips and warnings

  • When you purchase your pine furniture, also purchase an unfinished pine board. Use this board to practice on and to find out how long to leave the stain on the wood to achieve your desired colour.
  • Leaving the stain on the wood for a longer period of time results in a darker stain, so does applying larger quantities of stain and applying more coats of stain.
  • Choose the size of your paint brush in relation to your project—use a large brush for large projects, and a smaller brush for smaller projects.
  • The ends of pine wood will absorb more stain and will end up darker. Design your furniture, or choose a design, so that the accented end grains will enhance the look of the piece.
  • Wear work clothes because the wood stain will stain your clothing.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area. Make sure the area is large enough to accommodate the pine piece, with all drawers and shelves spread out and not touching.

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