Best stain for PINE?

otis_proamateurSeptember 25, 2008

I'm sure this has been covered before but I did a search and came up empty so... I'm asking.

My husband is a carpenter and he's building a basic frame for a canvas I bought (forget the $200 custom framing!). I'm planning to stain the frame very dark BUT he just informed me the wood molding he bought is pine.

I've never stained anything before but I've heard pine is a really soft, absorbent wood and doesn't hold stain well at all. Will a gel stain work better? Recommend a brand? Do I need a top coat of polyurethane with gel? Or should I just have him use a harder wood to build the frame?

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Below is a link I've kept in my 'remodel folder'.
After reading it you may decide to paint the frame!

Here is a link that might be useful: staining pine

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 6:34PM
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"Or should I just have him use a harder wood to build the frame?"

Yep... that is the option I'd choose!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 6:36PM
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I've stained many types of wood and I would recommend going with a harder wood. Pine doesn't absorb stain evenly and it is usually because the wood is too soft and too new. If you do go with pine, at least first use a wood conditioner on the frame, then stain. That won't guarantee success, but it helps alot.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 7:20PM
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Ugh. That's what I was afraid of. Thanks ladies, I'm sure you've saved me a lot of time and frustration :)

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 9:20AM
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I still think you could be okay. You are staining a frame -which is relatively narrow and I do not think you would see unevenness (if that is a word) as much as you would on a large piece. Since he is a carpenter and you already have the wood, give it a whirl. He can probably make the frame in minutes.
Do use MinWax wood conditioner as Paster said. It is a great product. Pine also tends to darken after a while even after stain and poly.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 9:50AM
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All of our doors and trim are pine. Stained with SW Walnut Wainscot. It is very dark and the wood stained evenly - one coat.

I have some pine pieces in my kitchen that are stained a medium color but I don't know the name of the stain. It is also evenly.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 10:42AM
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Personally, I prefer Zar stain for pine and other soft, absorbent woods, since it's the easiest stain I've ever worked with. I have NOT been impressed at all with Minwax products. Zar's not quite a gel, the consistency is almost more "pudding-like" which is extremely easy to wipe on and off with a rag (wear gloves!), and it absorbs SO evenly with no panic about absorption time like with liquid stains. The company also makes wipe-on topcoat finishes that are so much easier to use than brush-ons, no streaks or bubbles. If you'll excuse the expression, they're almost idiotproof. The linked website has a dealer locator.

BTW, frames are a LOT easier to stain if you do so before assembly - the stain tends to collect in the inside corners and it's a real stinker to get out.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 11:58AM
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Here's another option...

After sanding, seal the unfinished wood with polyurethane.

Then apply Minwax Polyshades to the wood. This is a colored varnish that will not penetrate the wood. You will get the color you want without the stain absorbing into the wood.

Do this before you assemble the frame, and make sure the frame is lying flat when you do it.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 12:54PM
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