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How to Stain Pine

How to Stain Pine

Staining a softwood like pine is not very easy as blotches and streaks tend to appear on its surface. Read this HomeQuicks article for some useful tips and tricks.
HomeQuicks Staff
An excellent way to get rid of the worn out look of furniture, bookshelf or cabinets made of pine wood is to stain them. The best part is that it will keep the natural character and grain of the wood intact. However, it has its own share of challenges because of the high absorbent power of the wood. Due to this, some parts of the wood may absorb excess stain than others. This would cause blotch marks all over the wood which are not very pleasing to the eyes.


First of all, you have to procure the tools and materials that are needed to carry out the job. It includes drop cloth to cover up the work area, tack cloth, cotton rags, sandpaper, paint brushes, stirring sticks, wood conditioner, and stain.

Step #1
Before you begin, the wood surface should be lightly sanded to get rid of its uneven texture. The roughness caused by sanding will ensure uniform staining of the wood. Take a medium grit sandpaper, and rub it over the wood surface in the direction of the wood grain. It should be followed by sanding with a fine grit sandpaper. Once the sanding is done, clear up the sanded dust, by wiping it off with tack cloth.

Step #2
The next step involves treating the pine with wood conditioner. This will prepare the wood surface for proper absorption. A wood conditioner is available in any paint stores. The selected conditioner should be same as the base of the stain. It means, if you are using an oil-based stain, then the conditioner should also be oil-based; this will help easy blending of the two components. Apply the conditioner on the wood in a thin layer, with the help of a brush. Move the brush in the direction of the grain. Allow the conditioner to dry for approximately 3 hours.

Step #3
Now, it is recommended to select a water-based stain. Stir it thoroughly, so that its ingredients are mixed well. When you are not sure about the color, do a patch test. For this, apply it in one hidden corner of the wood. If you are happy with the result, proceed to the next step. Otherwise, add water or stain to lighten or darken it respectively.

Step #4
You have to keep the strokes even to avoid a discolored look of the wood at the end. You can use a sponge brush or a rag for this purpose. As done in the previous steps, the brush should also move in the direction of the grain of the wood. Once you have covered up the entire wood surface, allow it to sit on the wood for a minute or two. Then wipe off the excess portion by rubbing a piece of cotton rag. If the wood is not as dark as you expected, then repeat the process immediately. This should be done before the staining has dried, or else the next coat will not adhere to the wood properly.

Step #5
Allow the wood to dry completely for the next 24 hours. Then apply a thin coat of water based finish to protect the wood. Apply the first coat of finish and wait for a minute. Gently sand the surface with a fine sandpaper, and reapply the second coat polyurethane and allow it to dry overnight.

It is advised to protect yourself with suitable protective gear like gloves and safety glasses before beginning the project.