Staining white pine vs. yellow pine

dtc1972August 9, 2010

Hi all,

We just had new windows installed throughout the house.

Outside they look great. The inside trim has been another issue entirely. We wanted stain to match everything else we've stained in the house, and my wife was looking

at the stain outside before it was put up and she didn't like the color. I called the contractor (who has done a great job thus far - also new siding which looks great) and said NOT to put the trim up until we get the color figured out. Well, he went ahead and put it up. I have no

idea why. (My wife was at work and I was out of town.) So now we have a house full of trim - half of it stained,

half not yet stained. Problem is, the stain doesn't match the other wood we have in the house, and we were very clear that was what we wanted. We told him several times. He used the stain that we used on the other wood - Minwax Golden Pecan - like we asked, but it does not look even close to the other wood. The trim is way too red and pale, and not dark enough or yellow/golden enough. And we're pretty sure the reason is that he used white pine as opposed to yellow pine which we've always used. If he'd listened when I left him the message saying NOT to put it up

yet and to hold off, we wouldn't be in this situation.

We'd ask him to take the white pine back and get yellow. But now it's up all over the house. While we never specified yellow pine over white (we didn't know the difference until quite recently!), we did specify what we wanted it to look like, and he could have easily seen that

what he put up doesn't match. I'm talking 18 windows here, as well as some very good carpentry work to build some of the windows out. This would all have to come down.

I read a couple articles online that said if you coat white pine with ammonia it takes on many of the traits of yellow pine. Perhaps this could solve the problem easily. We're going to test this tomorrow.

Any other ideas? We've tried some mixing of stains, but nothing has worked. Any chance the varnish could fix everything? We've tried varnish (both oil and water-based) on some extra boards and it didn't make much difference. But we used a clear varnish like we always do.

Anyway, if you have any thoughts, I'd appreciate it!

Dan

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HandyMac

Staining pine is really tricky. Even different boards from the same tree will look different sometimes. Another problem with pine is it often looks very blotchy when stained. Pretreatment is usually necessary. You can buy pretreatment, or use a one pound cut of shellac as the pretreatment.

If you try and do this job yourself, you need to understand you are in for a bit of an adventure. First, you need several pieces of scrap, preferrably from the job just done.

Use the stain you mentioned. Then add a coat of oil based varnish. Let that dry(24 hours) and add another coat. If that matches---the color will get more amber and darker with each application---you have the solution.

If not, try a coat of orange shellac over the stain. Shellac is produced in several dark colors. You can order any of those colors online. The stuff will come in dried flakes, which you can dissolve in denatured alcohol(specific amounts are necessary for the different intended uses).

You may need to experiment for a while before you get close. Jusat remember, every application of an oil based finish adds color. Every application of shellac(even blond/clear) adds color. The finish needs to dry to get the final color.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 10:18AM
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dtc1972

Thanks for the information. Strangely, we've used pine all over the house and while it's not identical, it's close enough. And we've always used yellow pine and golden pecan and clear varnish. We put two coats of varnish on the white pine and it hasn't made much difference at all. Shellac may be the way to go.

What about a gel stain? How do those work?

Thanks,
Dan

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 1:26PM
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