How to Treat Rough Sawn Pine

Updated July 20, 2017

Rough sawn pine is versatile and inexpensive, making it a popular choice for home and garden projects. However, if left untreated the wood can be vulnerable to damage from parasites, weather or wear and tear. Treating rough sawn pine protects against such hazards and lengthens the lumber's useful life. Treatment also can improve the wood's appearance, helping it to blend well with surrounding design themes.

Rub your hand over the surface of the wood to feel for any raised or bumpy areas. If you find any, or if there are raised knots, remove them with the wood plane. Apply a firm even pressure, pushing the plane in the direction of the wood grain to remove the surface layer of the wood.

Wrap a piece of coarse-grit sandpaper around your sanding block and rub the surface of the wood with firm, even strokes, following the grain of the wood. Repeat until the surface is an even texture all over. Repeat using a medium-grit sandpaper until the pine feels smooth. Use an electric sander instead of the sanding block if you want. Wipe away dust with a wet rag. Allow the wood to air dry.

Apply wood stain (if desired) using a soft-bristled paintbrush. Stain should be applied sparingly, following the natural grain of the pine. Allow each coat to dry fully before applying more; this allows accurate colour to develop and ensures against runs and brush marks in the finish. Choose a stain that incorporates a pesticide or, if leaving wood the natural colour, apply a pesticide treatment following the same instructions. Leave to dry.

Finish the surface with your choice of sealant. Chemical sealants and varnish can be applied with a soft-bristled paintbrush. Natural oil and wax sealants should be rubbed into the surface using a clean rag and following the grain of the wood. Apply natural sealants generously; more than one application may be required depending on the porosity of the wood. When wax and oil sealants begin to sit on the surface of the wood without soaking in, use the cloth to remove excess product before buffing the wood to a shine.


Using manual tools allows you to gauge the impact of each action on the wood surface before any damage is done. Choose power tools only if you are proficient with them in order to prevent wood wastage.


Wear safety goggles at all planing and sanding stages. Use chemical sealants and varnishes in well-ventilated areas.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood plane
  • Coarse-grit sandpaper
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Sanding block/electric sander
  • Wood stain (optional)
  • Soft-bristled paintbrush
  • Sealant (natural oil or chemical varnish)
  • Clean rags
  • Safety goggles
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About the Author

Jenni Potter is a qualified senior journalist and newsroom veteran with 10 years experience on weekly and daily titles across the UK. She now works as a freelance copywriter specializing in SEO web content. Potter trained at the Trinity Mirror School of Journalism and holds a Foundation and Diploma in Journalism.