RunnerRN

Steps for applying polyurethane on raw pine

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If the polyurathane coat is too thick / plastic-looking for you, you can reduce it and make it less shiny by carefully sanding with 320 or higher grit. Follow that with a good coat of paste wax for a soft, glowing surface.

Always bear in mind that pine is soft - no matter how you surface it, it won't look like hardwood does. Treat it like a spouse, embrace it for what it is, don't expect it to be something its not, and you will be happier for the experience.

And for future projects, don't hesitate to ask questions or kick around ideas BEFORE you start. Applying others' experiences in advance will save you some grief. For example, have you chosen a paint for the base yet? Or decided to not paint it?

 

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I sanded it off.  I did get some recommendations on here to use the wipe on poly.  I definitely appreciate all the help and advice I can get, but I just didn't love the results.    It was easy to apply, but I guess I wasn't expecting the look that it gave.  Sanding off the poly wasn't too difficult at least.  Back to plans C, D, and E.  LOL.  I haven't tried a gel stain yet.......Anyway......really do appreciate all of you putting up with my struggles and indecisiveness!

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If you want some color, one of the tinted Danish Oil products might be closer to what you like.  "Fruitwood" is a good choice for a mild tone of amber-brown.

Danish oil will penetrate more than wipe-on or brush-on poly, and requires a number of coats to begin building any noticeable film. I made a 'valet' box of white pine and walnut some time ago, and used the 'Natural' danish oil to finish it. Wipe on heavily, sand while wet with 600 grit, allow to stand for 15-20 minutes, then remove the excess. Wait 24 hours and repeat. Again. and Again. and Again.  It is a labor-intensive process, but the result was a smooth and buttery surface, with a slight amber tone, which darkened to a caramel color over the course of a month or so.  Your project is 'yellow' pine, judging by the grain and knots, which will behave a bit differently, having more prominent late-growth grain lines. 

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Well, I tried the medium walnut and didn't like the result so much.  It turned out more orangey.  Maybe I'd like the natural better.

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To get a color like that on pine you need to use a stain. 

Tip - use a piece of scrap to test the finish and color until you get what you want. Do you have some short pieces left over? If not, pick up a 2 x 4 that looks like your table. Work on a small section, 4-5 inches for a color test. Please heed this with any stain. Stains and oils penetrate deeply in soft woods and will not sand off without removing some wood.

Look at Minwax stains online or in your home center. Fruitwood, provencial, or special walnut look similar to the picture. These are oil based colors. I'm not familiar with the water based stains. 

After you get the color you will still want to top coat it with polyurethane or something similar.

Tip - Don't sand the stain before applying the first layer of topcoat.

Read the topcoat label to see if it can be used over oil based stain and how long to wait for the stain to cure. You can also pick up a can of spray shellac and seal the stain. Then you can use any top coat if the shellac is not enough.

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6 minutes ago, elrodk said:

To get a color like that on pine you need to use a stain. 

Tip - use a piece of scrap to test the finish and color until you get what you want. Do you have some short pieces left over? If not, pick up a 2 x 4 that looks like your table. Work on a small section, 4-5 inches for a color test. Please heed this with any stain. Stains and oils penetrate deeply in soft woods and will not sand off without removing some wood.

Look at Minwax stains online or in your home center. Fruitwood, provencial, or special walnut look similar to the picture. These are oil based colors. I'm not familiar with the water based stains. 

After you get the color you will still want to top coat it with polyurethane or something similar.

Tip - Don't sand the stain before applying the first layer of topcoat.

Read the topcoat label to see if it can be used over oil based stain and how long to wait for the stain to cure. You can also pick up a can of spray shellac and seal the stain. Then you can use any top coat if the shellac is not enough.

 

17 minutes ago, elrodk said:

To get a color like that on pine you need to use a stain. 

Tip - use a piece of scrap to test the finish and color until you get what you want. Do you have some short pieces left over? If not, pick up a 2 x 4 that looks like your table. Work on a small section, 4-5 inches for a color test. Please heed this with any stain. Stains and oils penetrate deeply in soft woods and will not sand off without removing some wood.

Look at Minwax stains online or in your home center. Fruitwood, provencial, or special walnut look similar to the picture. These are oil based colors. I'm not familiar with the water based stains. 

After you get the color you will still want to top coat it with polyurethane or something similar.

Tip - Don't sand the stain before applying the first layer of topcoat.

Read the topcoat label to see if it can be used over oil based stain and how long to wait for the stain to cure. You can also pick up a can of spray shellac and seal the stain. Then you can use any top coat if the shellac is not enough.

Thanks for the tips, but that is what I've been doing.  I only decided to try just using a polyurethane instead of a stain after my frustration with the minwax stains.  But after doing this I realized I much prefer some color.  It just looks too plain and plastic like with just the poly.  As far as practicing on the wood from the tv stand.....I didn't make it so I don't know exactly what he used or where he got it.  He did give me some scrap wood that he had that he was getting rid of so that I could practice staining in generaI but not sure what type of wood the scraps are.  
I  have had trouble with the minwax stains from the beginning.   I had used it oil the past without problems, so I'm sure it's the type of wood and the undertones that is affecting the end result.  

 Special walnut was what I tried originally, but the color was not like my table.  Minwax also  changed the formula.   It's now says on the can....semitransparent,  so that might be part of the problem but so far I have had no luck with minwax.  I tried early american, special walnut, dark walnut, golden oak, and provincial.  Most of them either had red or orange undertones.  Anyway...trying to regroup and figure out where to go from here!

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Take note of the grain differences between your table, and the one in the picture. See how the pictured one has far less "cathedral" lines, and more straight, tight grainlines? That feature will play a big role in how the stain is absorbed. The boards in your table have more of the soft, light-colored early growth exposed. That part of the wood soaks up color far more than the darker, harder late wood. Also, the late growth tends to be even more dense in pine than in spruce. This is much of the reason you found it difficult to get a even stain with your earlier attempts.

Understanding this is a big step toward overcoming the hurdles that prevent you from reaching your goals.

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Thanks.  I know there has been one hurdle after another.  I guess I've been trying to put a square peg in a circle...or however that saying goes!  LOL.  But I am persistent and determined if nothing else.  I know I will not be able to have the same result, but I'm hoping to find something that I will love just as much.

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I believe I offered this solution before, but just in case...

An alternative to pigment-based stains is coloring by chemical reaction. My experience doing this on pine is that the color is more uniform than I can normally achieve with stain, but isn't 100% predictable from tree to tree. Also, the color tends to lean toward the greener end of the brown spectrum, rather that the red.

Disclaimer complete, here is the process....

Take 1 ball of 0000 steel wool, wash it with dish detergent to remove any oils, rinse thoroughly, and squeeze / shake / blow dry as much of the water out as possible. Then place it in a small (8 to 16 oz) jar of white vinegar and leave at least over night. Then filter the liquid through a coffee filter or old t-shirt to remove particulates.

"Paint" the surface of the wood generously with the vinegar, and allow to dry. At least part of the reaction seems to require oxygen, as it pretty much stops once the wood is sealed. Observe the color often over the next several hours, maybe a couple days, and apply a clear topcoat when it gets dark enough to suit you. My few examples produced a color very much like the table top you are trying to replicate.

The iron acetate you created reacts with natural tannins in the wood to form the color. So, wood with more natural tannins react more enthusiastically. I spilled some on a scrap of red oak plywood and saw the spot turn purple-black within seconds.

YMMV.

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1 hour ago, wtnhighlander said:

I believe I offered this solution before, but just in case...

An alternative to pigment-based stains is coloring by chemical reaction. My experience doing this on pine is that the color is more uniform than I can normally achieve with stain, but isn't 100% predictable from tree to tree. Also, the color tends to lean toward the greener end of the brown spectrum, rather that the red.

Disclaimer complete, here is the process....

Take 1 ball of 0000 steel wool, wash it with dish detergent to remove any oils, rinse thoroughly, and squeeze / shake / blow dry as much of the water out as possible. Then place it in a small (8 to 16 oz) jar of white vinegar and leave at least over night. Then filter the liquid through a coffee filter or old t-shirt to remove particulates.

"Paint" the surface of the wood generously with the vinegar, and allow to dry. At least part of the reaction seems to require oxygen, as it pretty much stops once the wood is sealed. Observe the color often over the next several hours, maybe a couple days, and apply a clear topcoat when it gets dark enough to suit you. My few examples produced a color very much like the table top you are trying to replicate.

The iron acetate you created reacts with natural tannins in the wood to form the color. So, wood with more natural tannins react more enthusiastically. I spilled some on a scrap of red oak plywood and saw the spot turn purple-black within seconds.

YMMV.

Thanks.  I have seen posts about this before.  Maybe I'll give it try on some scrap wood just to see what happens!

 

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I am still debating on what I want to use.  I am having second thoughts about using the clear danish oil because now that I see my table sanded down I definitely like it better without the amber tone.  I also did a practice board again with the minwax special walnut only this time sanded down only to 220.  It's very light but I like it.  If I decide to leave it with the "raw" look, would clear wax be an option that won't yellow?  I know it's not as good of protection, but since this is a tv stand, I'm not going to be constantly putting things on top of it?  What type of finish would I get with the clear wax?  I have a small container of clear wax from a  brand called Fusion Mineral paint.  I have never used it, so I'm not sure what to expect.

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Never heard of that brand, but the waxes I have experience with do impart a bit of yellow / amber tone.

Renniasance Wax is supposed to be very clear and pretty durable for a wax. Museums use it to protect and preserve antiques.

Since you want a bit of even color, let me suggest another option - Milk Paint. True milk paint is diluted with water, and can be applied very thin, so as to merely tint the wood, without too much cover-up. More coats can be applied to achieve the desired opacity. This paint absorbs into the wood, rather than forming a thick film in a single coat, and can be coated over with polyurathane for added durability. A water-borne poly, like Minwax Polycrylic or General Finishes Enduro Var, will add little to no amber to the color.

Beware of other brand's "Milk Paint" products. Many of them are simply diluted latex paint, and will not have the same characteristics as true milk-casein paint.  I suggest that you browse some of the tutorials on the realmilkpaint.com site. 

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Thanks.  I am giving one more go with the Minwax sanded to 220 but not doing the whole piece.   If I don't  like it maybe  I will look at the milk paint.  Will the polycrylic have a plastic look like the polyurethane?

 

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3 hours ago, RunnerRN said:

Thanks.  I am giving one more go with the Minwax sanded to 220 but not doing the whole piece.   If I don't  like it maybe  I will look at the milk paint.  Will the polycrylic have a plastic look like the polyurethane?

 

If applied to enough thickness, yes. There are other options, though. The tutorial section on the realmilkpaint.com site mentions several possibilities.

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6 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

Seen it, haven't used it. 

Well, I did the top only with the stain....no better than before....  Looks ok from a distance but not up close.  Have to work the next few days so it will probably  be good to step away from it for a few days before it makes me go crazy having to look at it!  LOL

 

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