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Thread: Finnishing Pine aka softwood furniture

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

    Rcmaveric's Avatar
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    Finnishing Pine aka softwood furniture

    I am self taught worse than amature carpenter.

    I dont understand finnishing wood. When to use a varnish or when to use a wood oil. I built beds for my kids out of common board (aka pine). Now i need to finnish it. Should i stain and varnish it. I am horrible at staining, so I might skip that and varnish.

    In my head i think i need to preserve the wood so it doesnt deteriorate over time. The mechanic in me thinks oils when i ponder preservation. I want these to last. I spent the last 2 months building and designing.

    I am also buulding murphy desks. How i learned I suck at staining. But this polyacrylic finnish is really nice disregarding bad stain job.

    When do i use what? Do i need to preserve or coar the whole peice? Like the back or insides of the bed? Does wood degrade over time indoors like it does outside, like dry rotting?

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  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    Images of what i am doing. For those experienced. I realized the mistakes i made. The complete murphy desk is the one i made for my wife is the guinea pig. I need to replace the top. I tried to recycle scraps but hard lessons were learned on flex and grain direction and how nad i am at staining and how messy i am with glue.

    Plus side if you line them up you can clearly tell i got better at staining. Lessons were learned and mistakes made.



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  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    Thats a picture of one bed set. There are two. One for the boys rooma and one for the girls.

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  4. #4
    Boolit Master


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    Pine never stains evenly. It leaves dark knots and light and dark areas. If you dont like staining then a clear finish may be the way to go. If would take a very long time for the wood to dry rot if kept inside, so no finish is an option. Experiment on unseen parts of the furniture or left over scraps to get the finish you like best.

  5. #5
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    If you are not interested in changing the color, you can keep it as simple as a coat of wax.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Does the oil and/or varnish prevent the dry rot or the wood from decaying over time?

    I was looking at either tung or Danish oil. It look easy and i could wipe down the whole thing quickly inside and out.

    Maybe i am not understanding what causes wood to decintigrate over time.

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  7. #7
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    I have used a prestain on pine in the past to prevent the blotchy uneven effect .

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    I tend to stay away from finishes, varnishes and stains.

    I prefer a more natural feel to my wood.

    Wood Butter

    Ingredients

    4 ounces pure beeswax - measured dry; I bought pellets
    16 ounces of mineral oil - typically packaged with 16 liquid ounces per container.

    Instructions

    Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a gentle boil.
    Place your beeswax inside a 2 quart glass measuring cup or a 1 quart glass jar; set the glass into the gently boiling water.
    Place the container of mineral oil inside another medium saucepan filled with water and heat to low.The mineral oil just needs to be warmed to mix with the beeswax; no need for a rolling boil.
    Once all the wax has melted, turn off the stove and carefully add the warmed mineral oil to the beeswax;stirring with a spoon to combine.
    Using a towel around the handle of the measuring cup, carefully pour the liquid into each jar fit with the canning funnel; filling them almost to the top.
    Finish filling all jars and wait for the was to cool and firm up before using.

    I prefer walnut oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, canola oil or a blend of the above.

    Put on a layer, let it soak in. Wait a few hours. Polish with an old terry cloth towel. Some will get removed. That is ok.

    I like Old English Oil Dark if I want a darker color. You can put it on first or blend it with the wood oil.
    The oil and wax will gradually dry to a hard protective finish. But it is not plastic. It does not insulate me from the wood.

    I have used this for everything from kitchen spoons, to walking sticks to wooden shelves.

    You can also use Hemp oil but it will give it a greenish color.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

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    If you want to keep the wood natural a simple coat of clear polyurethane, let dry, sand lightly and recoat and you are finished. It is the easiest and most durable clear finish available. The oil based polys will provide a slight yellowing effect that many like, the water based will give you a crystal clear finish. Your choice.

    If you don't care to keep a natural finish paint is the traditional finish.
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Smith View Post
    If you want to keep the wood natural a simple coat of clear polyurethane, let dry, sand lightly and recoat and you are finished. It is the easiest and most durable clear finish available. The oil based polys will provide a slight yellowing effect that many like, the water based will give you a crystal clear finish. Your choice.

    If you don't care to keep a natural finish paint is the traditional finish.
    This. Polyurethane is probably your best bet. They make polyurethane stains and finish in one step so pick a color and apply. Good luck.

  11. #11
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    If you want a darker finish that's even, this simple technique is about as non-traditional as it gets, but has worked well on cheap plywood and 2x4's ...and I 'm sure it'll be fine for 1" knotty pine boards.

    Sanding sealer
    then
    tinted polyurethane varnish

    PS, most people paint that pine.
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  12. #12
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    They cost a bit more, but I'm fond of alcohol based stain, it penetrates when nothing else will, and it dries fast. Go to the leather store, and you'll have the rainbow at your disposal.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I use Hood Finishing Systems out of NJ. Check out the website it cannot hurt.
    Stop being blinded by your own ignorance.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    On Woods like pine that stain blotchy, try first a coat of Sealcoat, which is just diluted unwaxed shellac. Another option is the minwax poly’s with stain .

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    I'll second what Shawlerbrook said.

  16. #16
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    I have been finishing all species of wood you can name since I was about 8 years old. "Good old" pine does NOT take stains well at all due to the wild grain and growth patterns of hard and soft woods in the piece of wood. You need to seal the grain with a diluted shellac and alcohol mixture usually 1 part shellac to 6 or 8 parts alcohol. Brush on and let it soak in and dry for a couple days (depending on your climate). Then use a pigmented wiping or brushing stain. (I hate the stuff and never use it, but Minwax is perfect for pine finishing). IT is almost like paint - you have to mix and stir it before and during use and it covers up most of the grain. Avoid alcohol stains, as they dry too fast and leave horrible brush marks and streaks. If you can find them, use Non-Grain Raising (NGR) stains, which are actually aniline dyes that due a beautiful job. I use exclusively the Mohawk brand of finishes. Protect with at least 2 coats of clear polyurethane finish. That is the stuff that protects and preserves wood, not a stain.

    But alas, most people just PAINT pine furniture due to the inferior finishes that usually result.

    There are many excellent books on wood finishing out there. Check a book store.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    To address your question on deterioration (dry rot), in 1979 I built a storage shed on my cabin property, At that time I was on a VERY limited (read pay day to pay day) budget. I worked in a specialty plywood manufacturing plant where we overlaid a base panel with a very thin layer of exotic veneer, i.e. Oak, birch, teak etc. we also did a lot of knotty pine. The pine veneer was shipped in crates made from the leftover cants (when they were too thin to get more veneer slices from them). I collected these crates and sheeted my shed with those boards (board and batten). It has never been painted and it is still as good (albeit whether-stained) as when I built it. In the absence of moisture, wood (especially kept inside) should never deteriorate.
    R.D.M.

  18. #18
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    You might consider painting. I used to be one of those guys who stained and top coated with polyurethane all my projects. Now I work a lot with poplar and finish up with a couple coats of paint.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    there are lots of ways to finish wood. the thing with stain on a big project is you need to have enough. I used to watch my grandfather finish furniture that hew made.
    an old cotton tee shirt and sopped on the stain then a clean cotton rag and wiped it all down good. seems back in those days the smallest can I remember seeing was a quart but gallon cans much more common. then after letting it dry a couple days he would use a fine natural hair brush and apply either shellac or varnish.
    today its not so easy to find real shellac or varnish seems most stuff is poly.
    some stuff with good woods like mahogany he would just rub it down good with paste wax.
    I recently built a giant oversized spice rack out of cedar recently. I just soaked it down with a minx stain wiped it off good and its good to go, for me anyway

  20. #20
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    When working with pine and poplar I usually dilute an oil stain half and half with mineral spirits. This will usually keep the blotchy spots from forming. You can apply additional coats to get a darker look. Then finish with poly.
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