Color changes in Eastern white pine - what to expect?

2ajsmamaJuly 16, 2009

I have pine trim throughout my house. Doors and casings are radiata, stools and jambs are white pine. So far a very light coat of Minwax Honey Maple gel stain is getting everything close to same honey brown/orange color, though the radiata tends more to yellow that's OK b/c it's on a different plane than the white pine. But I pulled out the stools from 3 windows in a bumpout bay (the center stool went all the way to corners but it looked strange with side stools just inches away and at slightly different height), my cousin made me a continuous stool of of white pine, 2 different boards.

Now the center board took stain really orange, the sides (same piece of 8ft stock) is yellower with gray streaks (and this was the best one I could find at lumberyard, not big box!), I got one to get close to same as center, other is still lighter. All of it is orange without the brown tint that the original stools (that I stained only a few months ago, but had been exposed to sunlight for 2 years) have. The jambs are brownish-orange too, match the old stools.

Now, should I finish the stool and install it? Will the color get more brown and eventually come close to jamb color? Or should I let it sit in sun for a month or so before I finish it?

Or is sunlight just going to turn the pine more yellow/orange and am I going to have to glaze it with something (penetrating stain on top of the gel?) to nudge it toward brown tone?

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So you have two species of pine, different ages of wood, and tonal and color variation between the same species. It would be a minor miracle if you get it all to match for very long. The newer wood is going to age in unexpected ways, and the color will change. Maybe mask off the older wood while you sun-age the new stuff.
Gel stain is great because after the first coat seals the wood, you can keep on toning with subsequent coats. I would stay with gel.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 9:03PM
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Casey - the jambs and the stools are white pine. The bay stool was made out of one 4ft piece (center section) and one 8ft piece (sides) that I got from the lumberyard at the same time and stored in the same place, but there is a big difference in the way those 2 boards are taking stain, not to mention getting it close to the same brownish orange color as the 2-yr old jambs on those windows. Same stain, I stained the jambs only a few months ago but they seemed to turn brownish as soon as I put the conditioner on (as did most of the stools in the house - there were only a few that turned more yellow than orange and so I put gel on those, most only have a conditioner and clear satin poly on them). These 2 boards didn't turn brown at all, and one board used for 2 pieces didn't even turn very orange with conditioner. At least I got the sides to (if not match) "flow" into the center orangey part by putting 2 coats of Honey Maple on those this afternoon (only 1 on center section).

Do you think a few weeks of sun might get it to turn more brown? Should I leave it out on top of my soaking tub in unfinished bathroom (under a window) and see? Or is it just going to turn more orange, so I have to do a thin coat of brown gel now?

I was just shooting for honey pine, not pumpkin pine.

Sorry I confused the issue - I don't mind the 6-panel doors, casings, and baseboards being radiata.

I'll try to take pics in AM (the piece is in basement so not great light right now).


    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 12:25AM
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Here are pics of it in the basement lighting



old brown piece on top center

old piece on top right (lightest)

Here it is in place - some spots are lighter/more orange than the jambs (the sashes aren't finished yet), but mostly I don't think it's too bad - think I should let it "sunburn", or should I just poly it and install it? I don't think I want to add brown stain now.

left (direct AM sun)


right (lightest but gets SW sun)

Overall (distance)

We're putting roman shades inside the windows, won't be *all* the way down except on really sunny hot days (to save on AC). Also, any opinions on continuous apron vs separate aprons under this? Thanks

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 9:52AM
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