Pine is a strong and durable wood for many different woodworking projects like desks, cupboards, tables, cabinetry, and many more. It is a light weight softwood with good workability. Therefore, Pine is popular among woodworkers. But when it comes to the finishing part, most woodworkers are curious, Does Pine stain well?
Here’s what I know from working with Pine wood:
Yes, Pine stains well, but it’s not easy. Because Pinewood is softwood with an unevenly dense grain pattern and stain cannot penetrate through the dense wood. Pine wood surface is filled with super absorbent pockets and randomly occurring figures that absorb stain unevenly and make the surface blotchy. To stain Pine well, it needs products specially manufactured for wood.
But there’s more to know about staining Pine wood than just that.
So, in this article, we’ll deeply discuss does Pine stain well, the best stain for Pine, and a simple method you can prevent getting blotchy surfaces and stain Pine well.
Furthermore, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about staining Pine wood compared to other woods.
Let’s jump in!
Finished building and sanding. Pine doesn’t stain well so I’ll paint it. pic.twitter.com/N5YPH8TCPo— David Vileta (@CandyHam) January 5, 2016
Is Pine Good for Staining?
Pine is difficult to stain. Mostly staining Pine wood ends up with a blotch surface, occurring grain reversal and getting murky colors. These issues make stain unnatural and don’t give the beautiful color and surface you want.
But there’s a correct procedure for staining Pine well without getting any of these issues. That is by sealing the wood using a wood conditioner before staining. That way, you can prevent the wood from absorbing more pigments randomly in different areas and be able to apply the stain evenly throughout the surface.
Using stain on unevenly dense wood-like Pine can only color the latewood. It will never act as a protective layer because stain won’t penetrate evenly to the latewood. This will cause grain reversal which is also known as the peculiar effect.
Pine is one of the most popular woods in woodworking, and staining is a must thing in woodworking. But because of having different densities of wood fibers across the grain pattern of Pine, screen blotchiness may occur. When the wood gets denser and denser, the stain color ends up uneven.
But by using stain products specially manufactured for uneven dense woods like Pine, you’ll be able to stain Pine well with fewer issues.
Staining pine furniture < pic.twitter.com/aRn2IoIOxg— Brooketini (@_2cute2puke) January 13, 2015
Best Stain for Pine Wood
Because of being a difficult wood to stain, you need to have a clear idea about what stain products you should select to stain Pine wood.
Here’re some popular stain products for Pine wood,
- General finishes Oil Base gel stain
- Ready Seal exterior stain and sealer
- Minwax penetrating wood stain
- Rust-Oleum Varathane Premium wood stain
- DEFY Extreme wood stain
- SamaN Water-Based wood stain
Among the above different types of stain products, Gel stain is the best stain for Pine wood.
In summary here’re the different applications of the above wood stains.
|Wood Stain Products||Applications|
|General finishes Oil Base gel stain||Best Overall stain for Pine|
|Ready Seal exterior stain and sealer||Pine outdoors and larger projects|
|Minwax penetrating wood stain||Best Pine penetrating stain|
|Rust-Oleum Varathane Premium wood stain||Best stain for Pine floors|
|DEFY Extreme wood stain||Best stain for Pine fences|
|SamaN Water-Based wood stain||Best stain for Pine furniture|
Woodworking project #7: Christmas tree shelf requested by a friend. Easy project for practicing angle cuts, gluing, and staining. Pine 1×4. pic.twitter.com/iYNxvjtKLl— Jonathan Pobst (@jpobst) November 27, 2018
So, let’s discuss each of the above stains one by one and see how they look on Pine wood separately.
General Finishes Oil-Based Gel Stain On Pine
General Finishes oil-based gel stain is the best staining product for Pine wood. It is easy to apply. Because of being an oil-based stain, General Finished gel stain can easily wipe on.
Here’re the main qualities of General Finishes oil-based gel stain,
- It gives a lustrous finish to your Pine wood furniture
- It is Heavy bodied and does not penetrate too deep into the wood
- Able to get an even appearance
- Easy to apply even for a beginner in woodworking using a foam brush.
General Finishes oil-based gel stain can give your Pine furniture and woodworks a glossy smooth finish. It can apply to both indoor and outdoor Pine woodworks. It gives a beautiful, enriched look to your Pine wood furniture and does not darken the color. It only enhances the natural color of Pine wood.
If you want to get a darker or lighter color better to go with a darker color stain of General Finishes oil-based gel stain. To enhance the natural Pine wood color, better stick with General Finishes New Pine oil-based gel stain.
While changing or enhancing the color of the wood, General Finishes oil-based gel stain is able to act as a protective layer for the Pine wood surface.
I have listed the specifications of General Finishes oil-based gel stain.
|Color||New Pine and many other|
|Drying Time||24 hours between coats|
|Applications||Cabinets, Floors, Furniture|
Stained the inside faces today. Easier to do that before glue up. Using General Finishes’ “New Pine” gel stain. pic.twitter.com/URCnmRzno9— Michael Fogleman (@FogleBird) April 7, 2018
Ready Seal Exterior Stain and Sealer On Pine
Ready Seal Exterior stain and sealer is the best stain for Pine outdoor furniture and woodworks. It can also use for larger construction projects. Because having especially formulated chemical ingredients, gives protection from environmental elements and improves the durability of your Pine wood furniture.
Here’re the main qualities of Ready Seal Exterior stain and sealer,
- No primer is needed
- Offer protection from UV and water resistance
- Easy to apply
- Can apply under any temperature range
- No back brushing is required
- Take up to 14 days to reach its actual color
Ensure not to apply over painted Pine wood surface because the paint layer seals the surface and blocks Ready Seal Exterior stain and sealer from penetrating the wood fibers.
Golden Pine is the best color Ready Seal Exterior stain and sealer for Pine wood.
I have listed the specifications of the Ready Seal Exterior stain and sealer.
|Color||Golden Pine and darker colors|
|Drying Time||24 Hours|
|Type||Oil-Based stain and sealer|
∙ New Cedar: 2-4 weeks to adequately absorb Ready Seal®, depending on temperature, porosity of surface, humidity and geographic location.— Ready Seal (@ReadySealinc) December 23, 2021
∙ New Pine, Spruce or Fir: 1-3 weeks, depending on ” “
∙ New Pressure Treated lumber: 1 month dry time (minimum), 2-3 month aging time. pic.twitter.com/1mDXs80iNr
Minwax Penetrating Wood Stain On Pine
Minwax penetrating wood stain is a deep penetrating wood stain for Pine wood. It provides beautiful color to the Pine wood fur nature and woodworks or enhances the natural color of Pine wood. Minwax penetrating wood stain deeply penetrates through the wood fibers providing excellent protection and improving the durability of Pine wood that will last over decades.
Here’re the main qualities of Minwax penetrating wood stain.
- Available in 28 different colors
- Penetrate too deep and highlight the grain
- Easy to apply
- Provide good protection and increase durability
Minwax is a famous brand among woodworkers. So you can trust the product for any woodworking project. Minwax penetrating wood stain is easy to apply but always make sure to apply along the direction of the wood grain to avoid getting a blotchy surface.
With this, I have listed the specifications of Minwax penetrating wood stain.
|Drying Time||2 Hours|
|Type||Oil-Based stain and sealer|
|Applications||Cabinets, Furniture, Molding, Doors, Trims|
Stain: Minwax Ipswich Pine…💪 pic.twitter.com/MeHrn62TgA— Duarte’s Hardwood Floors and Tile, Inc. (@duarte_inc) May 26, 2020
Rust-Oleum Varathane Premium Wood Stain On Pine
Rust-Oleum Varathane Premium wood stain is the best stain for Pine floors. It enriches the wood grain because it has quality pigments that penetrate deep inside the wood fibers.
Rust-Oleum Varathane Premium wood stain is able to give protection while enhancing the color of the wood and is applicable for any kind of Pine wood surface.
Here’re the main qualities of Rust-Oleum Varathane Premium wood stain.
- Easy to apply
- Dry fast
- Give rich natural color to the wood
- By wiping, you’ll be able to get evenly stained wood without blotches.
The color-rich translucent pigments enhance the color of the wood, and they are best for interior Pinewood applications.
I have listed the specifications of Rust-Oleum Varathane Premium wood stain.
|Color||Semi-transparent or Ipswich Pine|
|Drying Time||2 hours between coats|
|Applications||Pine Floors and Indoor furniture|
This week I have been painting a pine wardrobe with Rust- Oleum chalky paint. Not finished yet😅 pic.twitter.com/v1KqiZaw1D— Yvette Treasaden (@yvettetreasaden) February 18, 2015
DEFY Extreme Wood Stain On Pine
DEFY Extreme Wood Stain is the best water-based stain for Pine wood. It is an eco-friendly product that helps enhance the wood’s natural grain while giving excellent resistance to environmental elements.
Here’re the main qualities of DEFY Extreme Wood Stain.
- Able to provide a matte finish
- Provide UV resistance because of having zinc nanoparticles
- Eco friendly
- Easy to apply
Because of having zinc nanoparticles as ingredients, DEFY Extreme Wood Stain protects your Pine furniture or woodwork from harmful UV rays. Therefore, DEFY Extreme Wood Stain is perfect for outdoor projects. It is highly durable and quality and lasts long with little maintenance.
With this, I have listed the specifications of DEFY Extreme Wood Stain.
|Color||Redwood matte finish|
|Drying Time||24 Hours|
SamaN Water Based Wood Stain On Pine
SamaN Water-Based wood stain is a perfect stain for Pine wood paneling and cabinets. It is odorless and safe for kitchen utensils and children’s toys. SamaN Water-Based wood stain is a water-based eco-friendly product.
Here’re some main qualities of SamaN Water-Based wood stain.
- Water-based stain
- Easy to apply
- Useful for DIY products
- Easy to clean
- Available in 40 different colors
SamaN Water-Based wood stain basically can apply on any wood surface without any pro tools. It doesn’t leave overlapping marks, and one coat is enough to cover up the whole surface evenly.
With this, I have listed the specifications of SamaN Water-Based wood stain.
|Color||Antique Walnut and more|
|Drying Time||2 Hours|
|Applications||Panels, Cabinets, Kitchen utensils, Furniture|
Now you have a clear idea about the best stain products for Pine wood you should go with to get the desired finish as you wish.
So, let’s consider the need for wood conditioner for Pine woodworks and furniture.
Does Pine Need Wood Conditioner Before Staining?
Yes, It is necessary to apply wood conditioner before staining Pine. Pine is difficult to stain because of uneven grain pattern and stains that suck up unevenly and result in a blotch surface. To avoid that, you should apply wood conditioner to the Pine wood surface first and then go for the staining process.
Wood conditioner soaks into the wood and controls Pine wood fibers’ absorption ability by sealing the wood. Applying a pre-stain wood conditioner before staining will support Pine wood to take the stains evenly without getting blotches and streaks while applying.
After applying the wood conditioner, it will penetrate the wood within 15 minutes. Wipe the excess conditioners to apply the stain even better.
Highly recommend using pre-stain wood conditioner and stain product from the same manufacturer to avoid any incompatible issues. In my experience, Minwax pre-stain wood conditioner is best to apply on Pine wood before the staining process.
Under, does Pine stain well, let’s look at how to stain Pine perfectly.
How To Stain Pine?
Staining Pine is difficult because of getting a blotchy surface, occurring grain reversal, and getting murky colors. But by the following procedure, you’ll be able to stain Pine well without any issues.
Requirements to Stain Pine
- 220 grit sandpaper
- Pre stain wood conditioner
- Wood stain product
Here’re the steps you need to follow when staining Pine wood.
- Clean the wood
- Sand the wood and remove dust
- Apply wood conditioner
- Let the wood dry
- Apply the stain
- Let the wood dry completely
So, let’s discuss each of the above steps to get an idea about how to stain Pine. Does Pine stain well? Yes, this is how!
Tip: before directly heading into the main project, practice first. Get a smaller piece of Pine wood and test below staining procedure until you get the exact color you want. Then do the same with your main woodworking project. Practice makes you perfect!
1. Clean the Wood
Cleaning the wood is the most essential step in many woodworking projects. By cleaning, you’ll be able to remove dust and debris. Because if you start the staining process when the dust is there, you’ll probably end up with a blotchy surface because dust blocks the way of stains from getting inside the wood. So, cleaning is a must when staining.
After cleaning the wood, let it dry completely to minimize the surface moisture level.
2. Sand and Dry the Wood
After cleaning the wood, sand the whole Pine wood surface with220 grit sandpaper without missing any spots.
Make sure to sand the entire area with an even pressure to apply the stain evenly. Plus, sand along the direction of the wood grain without scratching the surface because a scratched surface cause for resulting blotchy surface.
Never use higher grade sandpapers because they’ll kill the wood grain and ruin the appearance of the wood.
Once you’re done with sanding, wipe the entire area using clean rags to remove sawdust and make the surface clean and ready to take on the stain. Then keep the wood for around 24 hours before moving on to the next step.
Cool a** ❤pine front door gittin a sandin for fresh stain!⛱🚪😉 pic.twitter.com/gWwsLNXL8f— StacyinVaY’all (@slcinva12) October 18, 2021
3. Apply Wood Conditioner
When the wood is completely dried, apply pre-stain wood conditioner to the entire Pine wood surface using a paintbrush. Make sure not to miss any spots because wood conditioner is the essential product that makes Pine wood easy to stain.
Wood conditioners seal the entire surface and limit the absorption ability of wood fibers and make the wood even. It helps the wood stain spread evenly all over the wood without causing blotches and streaks.
Test the wood-conditioned surface by slightly wetting the Pine board. If you notice any uneven areas, apply wood conditioner again to those areas before moving on to the staining process. Because once the staining has started it is so hard to turn back.
4. Dry the Wood Completely
After conditioning the wood, let it dry for about 2 -3 hours to complete the sealing process. Usually, wood conditioners suck up within 15 minutes after the application. But better to wait for much longer because we never know how much time will take especially with dense Pine wood fibers.
Drying helps to get a nice and smooth finish. Patience is the key to success when staining Pine wood. drying can solve most of the wood staining mistakes.
5. Apply the Stain
Once the wood is dried completely, apply wood stain all over the wood using a paintbrush. Make sure to apply thin coats of wood stain to avoid getting tacky surfaces and it helps to dry stain coatings faster.
Apply stain along the direction of the wood grain with even pressure to avoid getting blotches and streaks. Even pressure is a must because when the pressure is the high resulting color will get deeper and darker.
Pine wood is prone to getting a blotchy surface, occurring grain reversal, and getting murky colors. But if you follow the correct procedure of staining, I’m 100% sure you won’t face any of those issues.
Apply a maximum of 2 – 3 coats of stain until the wood gets the color you want. Better not to go above 3 coatings because you might be ended up with a tacky surface that is hard to eliminate.
6. Dry the Wood Completely
Make sure to dry the wood for a minimum of 24 hours between each coat of stain. After the wood has dried completely it’ll start of getting true colors and you can easily decide whether it’s necessary to go for another coat of stain or not.
So, this is how you should stain Pine wood correctly. This is the perfect method you should follow to the question raised does Pine stain well.
Does Pine Stain Like Maple?
Both Pine and Maple are difficult to stain. Staining Maple is difficult because of its dense and tight grain structure. Maple easily gets blotches and streaks because it tends to absorb stains unevenly.
Overall staining Maple is more difficult than Pine because Maple is a hardwood with a much more dense wood structure than the softwood Pine.
Maple sucks up the pigments in wood stain pretty quickly and staining is a challenging task.
But staining Maple is possible if you follow the correct procedure as we discussed for Pine.
Does Pine Stain Like Birch?
Even though staining both Pine and Birch are difficult, staining Birch is easier than staining Pine. Staining Birch is possible as long as you prepare the wood correctly.
Birch is relatively soft compared to other hardwoods. Therefore wood fibers of Birch wood are quite absorbent and don’t hold up stains well. But by following the same correct procedure we have applied for Pine wood, you can get pretty good results from staining Birch wood.
Does Pine Stain Like Spruce?
Spruce is easy to stain. Pine is difficult to stain. Spruce accepts wood stain extremely well because of having a very open cell structure. Not like Pine.
Spruce can easily absorb a massive amount of wood stain evenly through the entire surface without using any wood conditioner.
You can always stain a light wood like pine or spruce darker but you can never stain a dark wood like walnut or mahogany lighter pic.twitter.com/CymKpnZotv— lkgdsyhzx mjbcd (@vitamins_69) February 21, 2020
Does Pine Stain Like Alder?
Alder doesn’t accept stains well. Both Pine and Alder are difficult to stain and result in blotches and streaks. Better to apply wood conditioner before staining.
Red Alder is great for finishing. But I highly recommend applying wood conditioner because it helps the wood to take the stain evenly without losing its appearance.
Something besides white.— Vance Murphy (@vancemurphy) March 18, 2021
Modern, Alder w/ Mocha stain. pic.twitter.com/FQfHx7vHGl
Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Does Pine Stain Well?
In this article we have deeply discussed does Pine stain well, the best stain for Pine, how to stain Pine correctly without getting any wood staining issues, and why wood conditioner is important to work with Pine wood.
Always make sure to test and practice the correct procedure before you head into the main project especially when you’re dealing with difficult wood like Pine. It doesn’t take stain well and favors getting blotches and streaks.
Furthermore, I have answered some frequently asked questions about does Pine stain well compared to other popular wood types like Maple, Birch, Spruce, and Alder. Hope you have gained good knowledge about staining Pine wood correctly. Make sure to practically use the things you have learned from this article with a piece of Pine wood. You’ll succeed in woodworking. Practice makes you perfect in woodworking!