Fine pine finishes – FineWoodworking

Pine’s notoriously splotchy thanks to its uneven density, but that doesn’t mean it’s unusable. From subtle coloring to full-on painting, there are numerous routes for success.


Apply a touch of colorant and shellac

Apply a touch of colorant and a layer of dark shellac. One of Klein’s preferred methods for working around pine’s blotchiness is to go light on the colorant (top) and use a darker shellac (bottom) as either the base layer or the final finish.

colored pine

Tip: Go darker, not deeper. You can also successfully color pine with diluted dyes or gel stains that don’t penetrate as deep, thereby avoiding highlighting the pine’s blotch-prone uneven density.


painted pine toy chest

Painted pine’s a traditional option… Pursuing functional joy, Jim McConnell’s chest balances the practicality of pine with the playfulness of painted patterns.

coffee table with painted legs

… that’s still evergreen today. Although his design is more contemporary, Barry NM Dima knew from the outset he was going to use milk paint on the base on this coffee table as a counterpoint to the thick, natural Eastern white pine top.

pine tool chest with grain painting

Get the grain and paint with grain painting. Klein’s tool chest is Eastern white pine, but you wouldn’t know it at first glance. He experimented with grain painting on the outside, using colors and patterns that mimic mahogany. He even painted the banding. This traditional technique let him combine the working benefits of pine with the look of a more expensive wood.

From Fine Woodworking #297

working with white pine

For the Love of Pine

The wood that makes you feel superhuman

Pine(ing) for perfection

Save the walnut and cherry for blanket chests and other fine furniture projects that will end up in the house; don’t waste them on a shop project.

Give pine a chance

Pine is normally paired with words like cheap, crummy, and a whole host of terms not used in polite company, but Vic Tesolin doesn’t understand why.

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