Tips for getting a dark finish when staining pine wood

If you need to finish a pine molding or furniture and are trying to stain the wood dark, you may have trouble getting the rich, dark tone that you would like.

And even if you get the deep, dark tint color you wanted, why are your results looking so “blotchy”?

To stain pine wood dark, always follow these steps.

Start by sanding

First things first, with any staining task, sand the wood well. You are going to want to do this by hand. Pine wood is a soft wood, and if you use an electric sander you will often end up with some noticeable scratches once you apply the stain to the wood. There is no easy way out of this, a hand sanding job is required.

To ensure a dark finish, use a medium grit sanding sponge or the equivalent sandpaper, which is approximately 100 grit. Sanding sponge is best for trim molding that has fine curves and cracks. It is the best option to adapt to the curves and to get into the nooks and crannies. If you have a strictly flat surface, wrap a small square piece of sandpaper around a sanding block (a simple block of wood will do) and sand with the grain, but at a slight angle.

Why at a slight angle? The grain of pine wood is characterized by the lighter, smoother “early wood” and the darker, harder “late wood.” By not cutting the grain a bit, you will sand more early than late wood and end up with a relatively wavy surface, rather than the totally flat surface you are looking to achieve.

If you are looking for a darker finish, don’t sand with a grit finer than medium or 100 grit. Sanding with this slightly rough grit helps open up the pores in the pine wood, which will accept more stains. What you should not do is use a fine sanding sponge or 180-grit (or higher) sandpaper. This effectively polishes the wood and closes the pores in the wood, making it more difficult to stain the pine dark.

Removes stained finished pineAfter a thorough sand job, vacuum the project up and then use a label cloth to clean up any remaining dust particles.

The finished pine can look stained due to the different growth cycles of the wood (and it also depends on how the final piece was cut). To eliminate this unpleasant problem, purchase a can of wood conditioner before staining at your local center or paint store. Wood Conditioner ensures a more even stain color by closing some of the larger pores and reducing stain absorption in those areas.

However, using the wood conditioner helps make it harder to stain the pine dark. However, as long as you work with an oil-based dark penetrating stain, you can get the dark shade you’d like.

Follow the directions on the can of the wood conditioner. For most types, you will need to wait about 15 minutes before applying the stain. But don’t wait too long. Letting the wood conditioner dry completely will completely block the pores in the wood and it will be difficult to achieve the dark color you are looking for.

Start dyeing

How the wood is stained is not important. You can use a foam brush, a regular brush, or a clean cloth. Apply generously. However, try not to drip. To ensure a good dark finish, wait as long as the manufacturer allows before cleaning off excess stain. Make sure you don’t wait too long, however, or else the stain will become sticky and difficult to clean.

If your wood isn’t as dark as you expected, don’t give up hope. Wait at least a day or more for the piece to dry completely. Then follow the steps above to re-stain your project. Your pine wood finish will have taken on a deeper, darker tone.

Usually a few coats of stain will help you achieve the finishing results you would like. One more thing you can try is cleaning your piece with mineral spirits before re-staining.

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