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Let Pine 'season' in the sun for a while before finishing?

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Forum topic by Graem Lourens posted 08-08-2016 08:29 AM 956 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Graem Lourens

28 posts in 134 days


08-08-2016 08:29 AM

Hi Everybody.

Very beginner woodworker here, so excuse the maybe strange question!
I have been building a bench out of nice quality pine, and as i’ve been working on it only 1 day a week, and its standing in a half-shady place, it did get some sun & UV over the past 2-3 weeks.

It was standing dry-assembled, and when i disassembled it for glueing few days ago, i noticed a big change in color/darkness in the areas exposed to the sun (was to be expected, but not that fast!)

The darker color really does look nice and i’m thinking now: should i leave the bench unfinished on purpose exposed to UV / sun (not rain) for a while or is there absolutely no sense/logic in that (i will be staining, but pine doesn’t stain well for me, even with gel stain & conditioner).

Any thoughts welcome.

Kind regards, Graem

-- Novice woodworker and passionate astrophotographer https://www.flickr.com/photos/graemlourens/


18 replies so far

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1572 posts in 1942 days


#1 posted 08-08-2016 12:01 PM

If you will be staining it, I would go ahead and finish it.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln. hamsleyhardwood.com

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2198 posts in 947 days


#2 posted 08-08-2016 12:03 PM

A lot of wood will change color when exposed to sunlight, some for the better, some not.

I assume this is an outdoor sitting bench so I personally wouldn’t worry too much about staining because after a year or two in the weather it will develop its own color.

I would, however pay a lot of attention to how you are going to protect the wood. Something like a high quality durable outdoor varnish. Be sure to seal all the endgrain extremely well.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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Graem Lourens

28 posts in 134 days


#3 posted 08-08-2016 12:13 PM

Hi.

Thx for your replies. Yes its an outside bench and i didn’t have any issues with warping, i let the wood rest for quite a while and lets it acclimate.

Just having an extremely hard time staining that pine (using scrap pieces of the same lumber). Tried various products, also Gel stain. The only thing i havn’t tried yet is wood conditioner yet. I’d like to get a dark red mahogany look, but its maybe a little much to ask from the light pine?

Kind regards, Graem

-- Novice woodworker and passionate astrophotographer https://www.flickr.com/photos/graemlourens/

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JayT

4785 posts in 1677 days


#4 posted 08-08-2016 12:26 PM



The only thing i havn t tried yet is wood conditioner yet.

- Graem Lourens

And that’s the one you need to try. Pine will blotch badly if you don’t use some kind of wood conditioner to help even out absorption of the stain. Try that and see if you don’t get much better results.

I guess I don’t understand why you would want to allow the wood to darken a bit in the sun if you are going to stain anyways. If you were going to leave it natural, then maybe, but the wood will darken even with finish on it under UV and because of oxidation. All the finish does is slow the process down, not stop it.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

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Graem Lourens

28 posts in 134 days


#5 posted 08-08-2016 12:41 PM

Maybe i’m using the wrong stain, but when i stain my testpieces, even 2,3 times it doesn’t get very dark at all, so i’m trying to figure out a way to get that pine darker.

I tried various local brands of stain, but also the minwax gel stain mahogany, but i’d expected a much much darker result than what i’m getting, i was surprised.

I’ll experiment a little more, and try that woodconditioner. Was just wondering if there are other methods than using another product (that means $$$...) or if there is really no way around it with the relatively cheap pine wood.

Thx for clarifying that my idea doesn’t make much sense :)

-- Novice woodworker and passionate astrophotographer https://www.flickr.com/photos/graemlourens/

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JayT

4785 posts in 1677 days


#6 posted 08-08-2016 01:41 PM

How far are you sanding? The finer you sand, the less the stain will absorb and color the wood. That said, I’ve had no issues getting a dark color on pine, just takes some trial and error.

You might also consider trying a dye first. It’ll penetrate better and give a darker base to stain over.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

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Graem Lourens

28 posts in 134 days


#7 posted 08-08-2016 01:51 PM

I’m currently at 150, and when i’ve finished fixing all the gap issues i have (see this thread http://lumberjocks.com/topics/174258) then i’ll be going on to 220 before staining.

As far as i have read, you should do 220 (by hand) in the direction of the grain to remove the scratches of the orbital sander before staining?

I must say though that my testpieces are pretty much straight from the planer, and i just did a slight 150 hand sandpapering, could that be the problem that its just too smooth? (when it comes out of the planer, its baby-skin-style in my case…)

-- Novice woodworker and passionate astrophotographer https://www.flickr.com/photos/graemlourens/

View JayT's profile

JayT

4785 posts in 1677 days


#8 posted 08-08-2016 02:02 PM

Any sandpaper after planing will help with stain absorption. Sanding frays the wood fibers a bit instead of cutting them. How far you take the grits is up to you. There are many schools of thought on the topic and I can’t say that any are wrong. I can say, however, that for an outdoor pine bench, I wouldn’t personally take the time to go that far up the grits. It’s going to get dinged and scratched worse from use than anything you’ll do in the shop.

If the scratch pattern left by the sandpaper is even and random, it’s very difficult for the human eye to pick up without really concentrating. Try just the random orbit sander on some scrap, stopping at different grits, and see what you think. Do one up to 120, one to 150 and one up to 220, stain all of them, step back three feet and see what they look like. The type of wood, stain color and each person’s personal preferences and tolerance level will all make a difference. The only way to know what you like is to test.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

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Graem Lourens

28 posts in 134 days


#9 posted 08-08-2016 02:39 PM

Hi Jay.

Thanks a lot, i do agree, that even after 150 grit, it feels extremely smooth and with the weather influence you’re right, its probably a waste of time.

I’ll test what you said, to do a few different grits, and see how the stain is absorbed. Furthermore i think that the ‘3 minutes’ that the gel stain of minwax sais, is maybe much too short? i’ll leave it on longer next time and see what happens.

Kind regards, Graem

-- Novice woodworker and passionate astrophotographer https://www.flickr.com/photos/graemlourens/

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jbay

817 posts in 365 days


#10 posted 08-08-2016 02:52 PM

In my opinion, Toss the gel stain.
I would also only sand to 150, but I would try to get the swirl marks out if for no other reason, to get experience seeing them and being able to remove them for future projects.

-- My “MO” involves Judging others, playing God, acting as LJs law enforcement, and never admitting any of my ideas could possibly be wrong or anyone else's idea could possibly be correct -- (A1Jim)

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Graem Lourens

28 posts in 134 days


#11 posted 08-09-2016 07:11 AM

Hi jbay

What do you mean with tossing the Gel Stain?

Kind regards, Graem

-- Novice woodworker and passionate astrophotographer https://www.flickr.com/photos/graemlourens/

View OSU55's profile (online now)

OSU55

1063 posts in 1456 days


#12 posted 08-09-2016 11:56 AM

Since it’s an outdoor piece, use an exterior stain with a lot of pigment (like a deck stain). The pigment will provide uv protection. They are 1-step (as many coats as you want), as they contain the finish. Then keep what’s left, every year or 2 it will need another coat.

View jbay's profile

jbay

817 posts in 365 days


#13 posted 08-09-2016 01:11 PM


Hi jbay

What do you mean with tossing the Gel Stain?

Kind regards, Graem

- Graem Lourens

I mean get rid of it and use something else! Personally, I hate gel stains.
I agree with OSU55.

-- My “MO” involves Judging others, playing God, acting as LJs law enforcement, and never admitting any of my ideas could possibly be wrong or anyone else's idea could possibly be correct -- (A1Jim)

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canadianchips

2360 posts in 2463 days


#14 posted 08-09-2016 03:19 PM

If not staining leaving pine in sun gives it the “grey wood” look that is really hot seller here now. Rustic barnboard look. The lighter grey the better.
When I stain wood I use 100 grit. Nothing finer till after stain. 220 in between coats of poly or urethane.
Fine sanding before stain seals pores to much, sometimes gives a blotchy look.
“Just my opinion”

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

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Graem Lourens

28 posts in 134 days


#15 posted 08-09-2016 03:24 PM

Thx for your insight, as i’m not getting to staining & finishing it for the next 2 weeks, it will season a little in any case so i’ll see how it does :) I just really did like that more mature look of the wood, in the places where it was exposed to UV.

Maybe i’ll do a test with a few test-pieces! Always something to experiment with in this hobby i see :)

-- Novice woodworker and passionate astrophotographer https://www.flickr.com/photos/graemlourens/

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