Finishing a pine cabinet

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Forum topic by Tokolosi posted 06-22-2012 04:05 PM 1449 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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678 posts in 2382 days

06-22-2012 04:05 PM

Topic tags/keywords: pine finishing

I am busy building this changing table for my little sister who is due in a couple of months. Their first. I built it out of pine because changing tables have a habit of going away after a year or so and I had enough pine. Also she wants it finished to match some other pieces she has that are in her description ‘Espresso’. Dark coffee colored. Im not staining expensive wood coffee color.

I have seen ‘Espresso’ stains and will use one. My question is should I seal the pine prior and if so what would be best to use.

-- “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ JRR Tolkien

7 replies so far

View Bobmedic's profile


379 posts in 2829 days

#1 posted 06-22-2012 04:31 PM

Yes, seal it. Dewaxed shellac makes a perfect sealer and allows the stain to be put on more evenly. Pine is very blotchy because of its resin content. The shellac will seal in the resin and allow you to get a more uniform coverage with the stain. Looks like a great job you did on the changing table. I’m sure they will be very happy with it.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8090 posts in 2355 days

#2 posted 06-22-2012 04:50 PM

should I seal the pine

Absolutely, positively, yes!

stain absorption in pine varies drastically across the face grain….

I’ve had great results with a natural pre-stain wood conditioner.

I believe it’s just a dilute acrylic poly…. but it worked very well for me when followed up with water based stain and then 3 coats of water based acrylic poly.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View Richforever's profile


757 posts in 3747 days

#3 posted 06-22-2012 05:42 PM

I’ve been experimenting with sealing wood with a 50-50 mixture of de-waxed shellac and denatured alcohol. Seems to prevent blotching pretty well.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15369 posts in 2645 days

#4 posted 06-22-2012 06:09 PM

Min-Wax makes a wood conditioner that I’ve used and had good results with, if you’re not shellac-saavy (as I’m not).

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

975 posts in 2261 days

#5 posted 06-22-2012 08:46 PM

I hate MinWax conditioner. I prefer making a hide glue sizing, 1 oz in one quart water. Brush it on after is disolves on hot water. Let it s 220et over night. Lightly sand with 220 and applie stain. This will even keep end grain the same tone and no blotching
Charles Neil sells “Pre-color Conditioner.” This is a great product and works as advertized.

-- Jerry

View Tokolosi's profile


678 posts in 2382 days

#6 posted 06-22-2012 08:54 PM

Thanks for all the informative replies Gents. Right now Im leaning to the General Finishes pre-stain conditioner as it is the same brand as the stain I will be using. Hoping at least for some brand compatibility.

-- “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ JRR Tolkien

View CoolToolShed's profile


71 posts in 2192 days

#7 posted 06-22-2012 08:59 PM

Good info! I am new to a lot of this stuff as well. Never sealed anything first. Definitely will give it a try next time!

-- Chris in Maine -

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