Not too long ago I finished a coffee bar station in a Master ensuite. What a great idea, right?! Check out the finished product here. I knew I wanted wallpaper and industrial style shelves in this project. These two can be budget busters. So I had to figure out where I was going to save. The one obvious design item was the wood. I was using a lot of it and the price of wood varies greatly with type and grade. Being a finished product, I had to keep the grade of wood high. That meant building with pine. The most inexpensive wood out there. This posed a challenge. How do I do a dark walnut stain on pine and have it look good?
Pine Wood Stain
Pine wood has a very yellow orangey hue that was not going to fit into the dark and moody design of this coffee bar. So I consulted my good ole friend, Pinterest. LOL I found a couple of posts about how to make pine look good, however, one blogger stood out from the rest. Kristi Linauer at Addicted 2 Decorating seemed to have a lot of experience trying out different techniques and experimented a lot with combining different finishes to get the right result. Yes! Someone did all the work for me!
Here is the post I referenced to un-yellow my counter and shelves, How To Refinish Pine Wood Countertops. Spoiler Alert, it worked! And btw, at the bottom of her post she has a refined method for this process. This is another post I checked out and will keep in my back pocket. But here is how I finished my pine.
Dark Walnut Stain on Pine
I followed Kristi’s directions almost exactly. She really has a knack for this! I was finishing a countertop, two base shelves and 3 upper shelves. Oh yeah, and one piece of trim. I cut my wood like I sew … all right angles! It’s so much easier that way!
1. Preparing Wood for Stain
Always prep wood before finishing. This can include sanding and/or cleaning. Assess the wood you are using to determine what needs to be done to prepare it for the next step
2. Bleaching Wood
I was apprehensive to whether this was actually going to work or not. This step is meant to take the yellow and orange from the pine so it can finish as a soft, warm brown. I also wondered if I am actually saving money with these extra cans of finishes. I had a piece of scrap wood so I left it as my control piece. We’ll compare further down in this post. Here is the product that I used for bleaching the pine, Savogran 10501 Wood Bleach. The directions say to repeat the bleach process every 10 minutes until desired lightness. I think I made it up in my head but I thought somewhere it was recommended to do 3 coats of bleach. Now I can’t find that recommendation but that’s what I did, 3 coats each 10 minutes apart. Continue to follow the directions on the container before continuing to the next step.
3. White Wash Pine
The purpose of this step is to tone down the grain and knots. Pine tends to be very linear and very defined grain that may or may not be a desired look. I wanted a more muted variation in the wood, especially since the wood I used is Edge Glued Pine from Menards. In order to get a piece of wood deep enough for the counter, this was the most affordable option. The scrap piece that I didn’t bleach did get the white wash stain.
4. Old Masters Wiping Stain
The finally get to the final brown wood stain I used Old Masters wiping stain. It’s important to use wiping stain and not penetrating stain. This was actually my first time using wiping stain and I LOVE it. My next project I will be experimenting with this stain again. It was Dark Walnut color. What do you think?
5. Water Based Polyurethane
Sealcoat – Of course, finish every project with some kind of sealcoat. The project I was finishing this wood for definitely called for a water resistant, easy to wipe and clean sealant. So I went with a poly in a matte finish. I was pretty happy after just a couple of coats.
Dark Walnut Stain on Pine
I am really quite thrilled at the finished product. In this picture you can see the experimental piece of wood that I finished the same as the rest except skipped the bleaching. Not sure if you can tell on your screen but I will use the bleach again next time I do dark walnut stain on pine. It truly took the yellow out and let the rich brown be brown.
Q: What stain looks best on pine?
A: If you are looking for a soft, not so yellow look for your design, I highly recommend bleaching the wood first. Then experiment with using a white wash stain before using a wiping stain in the final color you’d like the wood to be. I really like the Dark Walnut Old Masters wiping stain.
Q: Does pine wood stain well?
A: Pine takes to color really well. However, it has a sharp yellow undertone. I recommend bleaching pine every time before using any color stain on it.
Q: How do you wipe Old Masters stain?
A: There are a few good methods to applying wiping stain. I used a brush but I think next time I use it I’ll try staining pads.