How to Restore Antique Pine

Updated April 17, 2017

Antique pine is a hearty wood, and a naturally beautiful wood, with various patterns in the grain. Some patterns in antique pine don't require the addition of colour paint when restoring, and simply benefit from a glossy varnish to seal in the wood. Some types of pine are plain, and look better with the addition of stain or paint after the restoration process is complete. Most antique pine wood easily becomes dry and cracked because pine is a porous wood. If the antique pine wood furniture was not properly cared for, the pine will appear brittle, with surface damage.

Spread old newspaper on the floor around work area to protect from wood dust. Put on a dust mask and disposable plastic gloves. Open up windows for proper ventilation, and seal off air conditioning vents, so that wood dust does not circulate throughout the dwelling. Work on furniture outside, weather permitting.

Sand large pieces of pine furniture with an electric sander, or use 320-grit sandpaper to sand delicate and small pieces of antique furniture by hand. Sand in the direction of the grain, and remove wood dust with a tack cloth or clean paint brush.

Strip antique pine wood furniture. A chemical stripping agent will take off old layers of chipped paint and stubborn finish that is not easily removed from sanding. Dip a clean paint brush into the stripping agent, and apply to the wood in smooth, even strokes. Wait for the stripping agent to bubble, and scrape away at the surface with a scraping tool, such as a putty knife.

Stain antique pine wood furniture once it is sanded or stripped. Choose a stain close to the natural colour or a tad darker, to bring out the richness of the wood. Use a moisturising gel stain made for pine wood, and apply two coats, using a clean paint brush. Let the first coat dry before applying a second coat.

Paint plain pine wood instead of staining, if colour is desired. Use a semigloss, latex enamel paint in the colour of your choice. Apply a primer before adding paint. Take a clean paint brush and paint a thin coat of primer evenly into the surface. Let dry, and apply the first coat of paint with a clean paint brush. Apply second coat after the first coat is dry in smooth even strokes, or use a paint roller.

Varnish the stained or painted furniture with clear varnish, to seal in the wood and colour. Use a varnish that is both water- and insect-proof. Apply two coats. Let the first coat dry, then sand lightly with 150-grit sandpaper. Do not over-sand or remove varnish, just rough the surface enough so that the second layer of varnish sinks into the wood and the grain. Apply second coat of varnish after removing wood dust with a clean paint brush, and let dry.

Things You'll Need

  • Old newspaper
  • Dust mask
  • Disposable plastic gloves
  • Electric sander
  • 320-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Clean paint brushes
  • Chemical stripping agent
  • Scraping tool
  • Putty knife
  • Gel stain
  • Semi-gloss latex enamel paint
  • Primer
  • Paint roller
  • Varnish
  • 150-grit sandpaper
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About the Author

Linda Stamberger began writing professionally in 1994, as an entertainment reporter for "Good Times Magazine." She has written online copy for The Volusia Community website and is the author of "Antiquing in Florida." Stamberger studied creative writing at Southampton College, where she won a partial writing scholarship.