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Best way to finish pine furniture

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SMD

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I have been reading the forum with interest for a while now. Theres a lot of expertise out there. I am hoping that you may have some advice for me in regards to finishing pine furniture.

In a moment of weakness, I agreed to build a wardrobe, chest of drawers and 2 bedside tables for my son who has just moved into his first house.

His choice of wood was pine, which I have never really used. So far I have built the wardrobe carcass and am beginning to think about what finish I ought to apply.

One recommendation made was to use Briwax medium brown P7. I have tried rubbing this on a scrap piece with a cloth and then buffing up, but it doesn't give a very appealing colour.

Am I applying it wrongly or using the wrong stuff?

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Anonymous

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I'm very interested in guru's responses: of all pine stuff I've made so far none of them have the same colour ! They generally look as those in a Tyrolean Hut, when what I was looking for was the flair of the typical old English or Swedish pine furniture of late '800...

Look forward to reading from you.
Cheers
Alberto
 

Steve Maskery

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Hi guys
I don't do much pine stuff, not least becasue of the problem of making it look good.....
But when I have had to make something out of pine, I have used Ronseal Antique Pine Brushing Wax. It looks a bit orangey when it is new (sort of Robert Kilroy Silk Suntan) but it does mature nicely. It's very easy, if not very nice, to apply (rather like painting with double cream) and you don't have to worry about runs, sags and insects.
I'd be inclined to mix the antique pine with a darker one, say Oak, and use that.
Cheers
Steve
 

Gary H

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HI SMD
I use pine a fair bit and I usually go for a combination of a woodstain of some description to give it the base colour I want, and then a finishing wax to complete. Okay, it's not going to withstand the rugrats 'biro-ing' all over it, but it depends on the application.
In your case it should come up quite nicely, dependant on the final colour you require.

For example this table is pine and I used Georgian Medium Oak for the stain and an antique finishing wax...



Ignore the rough front leg where the dogs have had a go :oops:
Needs re-finishing again now but it was 2 years ago when it was last done (tuit?!)

Ta muchly

Gary

Edited as I put Steve instead of SMD first time :oops:
 

Chris Knight

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Gary,

I like your table - it has a sort of Japanese feel to it, especially with the dishes on the top. Did you use halving joints for the "trellises"
 

Alf

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Welcome to the froum, SMD.

What I know about finishing can be written on the head of a pin, and what I know about finishing pine on the point... :roll: However, one thing seems to be the case. One man's "lovely colour" is another's "yeuch, that's 'orrible". It's a dull answer, but I'd gather together a few likely finishes and mix and match on scrap until you get the look you want. I've found a coloured wax straight on to unstained pine tends to be blotchy and, as you say, not very appealing in colour, whereas the same wax over a stain could be a wow. FWIW, Charles Hayward recommends water based stains for pine.

Velly good oliental table, Gary-san. :D

Cheers, Alf

Classified Ad Wanted: Genuinely knowledgable finishing guru for resident post on lively woodworking forum. Lovers of Polyuckethane varnish need not apply. :D
 
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Anonymous

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Thanks Chris.
Yeah there are 'Chinese/Japanese influences' in the living room and TPTB wanted a table to fit in with the style. They are halving joints, yes, with round tenons into the legs. It took a while to cut them all (by saw & chisel) and to get the tenons right but I really enjoyed making this one.

I'd like to do a similar piece as a dining table with the detail on the chairbacks to match, but thats someway off yet!! (Too many tuits ATM :D )

Arigato Sensei Alf <¦-)

Gary (-san)
 

SMD

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Thanks very much for the advice.

Nice table, Gary. You were right in replying to Steve, by the way - I never know what to use for a login! You mention that you used a Georgian Medium Oak stain for starters. Was this water based or spirit based?

I had heard that spirit based stains can give a blotchy result on pine. Alf mentions that water based stains appear to be the recommended ones.

Can anyone point me in the right direction for water based stains - a manufacturers name or mail order outlet. I can only find spirit ones in my few catalogues.
 

Gary H

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Steve.
The brand I normally use is Colron ( Ronseal brand, I think :? ). It's widely available so you should be able to get hold of it easily. The stain is, I think, is spirit based. Doesn't actually state on the tin but iit has the X Harmful warning on it.
I must admit I've never had any blotching when using this brand. I use a lint free cloth to apply however many coats are required for the colour finish. Good thing is they can be mixed if you get various shades, to find the right tone.

Hope this helps, Steve

Gary
 

Keith Smith

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I have two main finishes for pine,

1 Give it a light stain with Tetlys, 4 bags in a mug and let it stew.
Then two coats of Danish oil thinned 50 50 with white spirit.
Then wax (but absolutely no coloured wax)
The Danish oil gives a much more durable finish than just waxing alone and I let the wood attain a natural aging rather than try to force it.

2 Tetleys again then French Polish, gives a beautiful finish for something really fine.

Keith
 
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Anonymous

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Hi

I fear this is going to be a long posting, sorry!

I'd agree wholeheartedly that when it comes to colouring wood you can't please all the people all the time!

In the original posting Briwax P7 was mentioned and the effect given was not to the user's liking. This is not unusual; this colour was originally formulated for use with stripped pine which after dipping can either be very white or a little grey depending on the method used. When used on old pine the effect can be better but on new pine it is really only meant to take away the paleness of the wood.
It's worth mentioning that there are several different shades available (not only in this brand) which will give different effects.

Tinted waxes are popular on pine because they usually give a more even colour although stains are often used to produce a more vivid colour change.

Colron dyes are White Spirit based (hence the X on the back but probably not a 'Flammable' symbol); our dyes are based mainly on Methylated Spirit which makes them quicker drying, non-grain raising and also allows us to use very fade resistant pigments.
The final look of the item will depend greatly on the application; to avoid a patchy effect when working on a large area one needs to keep a wet-edge running to eliminate the need to overlap the stain. One method of doing so when using our Spirit Stains is to apply them quite liberally, almost to the point of getting pools of it on the wood, then once the whole area has been covered wiping off the surplus with a clean cloth.

Some pines themselves do not help this by being more absorbent in some areas than in others; if this is a problem one of the best ways around it is to mix up a solution of Shellac Sanding Sealer which has been thinned 50/50 with meths. Apply this then sand back. The absorbent areas of the wood will accept more of the sealer forming a partial seal, the less absorbent areas will accept much less, having very little effect on them. This should even the wood up enough to get a more consistent colour.

On top of the stain (if you bother using one at all!) then a Finishing Oil or wax (preferably with a sanding sealer but it's optional) over the top would be fine; the items you describe shouldn't require a great deal of protection (as would, say, a coffee table). Much of the solid pine furniture available in shops (not the cheap stuff) is finished in this way.

Details of many of these products can be found on our website at http://www.chestnutproducts.co.uk (hopefully it's okay to put that in!)
 

Alf

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Welcome to the forum, Terry. I think, after that interesting post, we could probably let the website plug go this time. :D

Cheers, Alf
 

SMD

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Hi,

Many thanks for the advice, Terry, although I now have to admit to being a little confused!

I have looked at the Chestnut products web site and there appears to be pine stain 'specially selected to colour pine before finishing. Water based for easy application over large areas'. Yet, your post seems to suggest that the Chestnut spirit stain range (no idea what colours are available) would be more appropriate.

When I started the wardrobe project, I bought some Briwax P7 medium brown wax (recommended by the pine supplier) and tried this on a test piece. Even after a couple of coats on new, freshly sanded pine, I ended up with what I would describe as a drab, light brown colour, not the warm, more golden brown that I was hoping for.

Having read a little more on the subject now, I can see that this wax is intended for stripped pine or old pine rather than new pine - exactly as you point out in your post.

I would like to ask whether you would use spirit (meths based) or water based stain to finish this new wood? Which colour? and which colour wax would you use for the top coats. I know that final finish is very much personal preference and these questions are, therefore, too specific, but I would appreciate your view.

By the way, I have plenty of cellulose sanding sealer. Could this be used instead of shellac sanding sealer?

Many thanks
 
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Hi Steve

Sorry to have been more confusing than helpful!

Our 'Pine Stain' is a waterbased stain which we introduced several years ago when we were quite well established in the pine market, selling our products via many pine shops. Since then the market has shrunk and we have concentrated on other areas.
We have a policy of not discontinuing a line unless we really have to so technically speaking the product is still available but very difficult to get hold of, which is why I didn't mention it before. There's nothing worse than reading about a product, thinking it is exactly the right one for you then finding out you can't get it!
If you want to get hold of this please email me via our website.

Apologies all for yet another long posting!!!

The Spirit Stain (which is much easier to obtain) would be equally suitable for the job. Probably the Antique Pine or Golden Oak would be the ones to go for. They can be mixed or thinned if you want to change them. They are also available in trial packs if you wanted to try them before committing to a larger bottle.

Once the main colour change has been achieved with the stain then pretty much any colour of wax would be okay apart from the darker or mahogany shades. The P7 you have would probably be okay or either the Antique Brown Briwax or Chestnut Products WoodWax 22 Golden Brown which are similar in colour and will give the colour I think you want. (!) If your supplier had suggested these in the first place I think that would have made your life a lot easier. It may not be too late to try them and avoid staining altogether.

Of course, a clear wax would also be okay if the colour you have is right after staining and you don't want to tone it in any way.

Cellulose Sanding Sealer is a bit quick drying and will be more awkward to apply over the larger areas (unless you're spraying) but it should be okay to use this instead. To be on the safe side try a sample first. Of course, thin it with Cellulose Thinners not meths.
 

SMD

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Terry, thank you very much.

Both of your posts have been extremely helpful. I'll be looking out for some of the products that you have suggested at my local shop and will give them a go on some offcuts.

Thanks again.
 

Dog

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I only use Chestnut spirit stains on my projects and as I primarily work with pine I find I get an even, blotch free finish, no 'raising of the grain' required before application and under certain lighting conditions after a coat of chestnut woodwax 22 (clear), polished up, you get some great colours from the spirit stain shinning through, just can't seem to capture it on camera otherwise I'd post a pic.

(*In no way employed by Chestnut nor have shares either*) :wink:
 

Terry Smart

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Hi Richard

Thanks for the support, glad to hear you're pleased with the results you're getting.

Please persevere with the camera though, we now have a gallery on our website and as it's new we don't have many pictures on it yet, sounds like we need one of your creations on it!

Cheers,

Terry
 
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