Finishing Beetle Kill Pine - What do you use?

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Forum topic by camps764 posted 07-08-2012 01:18 PM 10242 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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851 posts in 1396 days

07-08-2012 01:18 PM

I know there are a few guys on this site that specialize in Beetle Kill Pine (Blue Pine). I recently received an industrial sized pallet, much to my surprise, when I planed the saw marks off I found that it was actually beetle kill pine. I had been planning to order some from Colorado, so this was an awesome turn of events.

Now that I’ve picked out a project for the special wood I want to think through the finishing process.

What do the pros use as a finish? I want to preserve and pop the blue/purple color as much as possible while maintaining the contrasting white/yellow wood in the boards.

The boards will be used as a counter-top for a craft counter/computer desk.

I’ve thought about just using a wipe on poly cut with mineral spirits, but I’d like to see what other options (read better ideas) there are.

Any suggestions? I really appreciate anyone’s opinion/input!

-- Steve

8 replies so far

View GrandpaLen's profile


1621 posts in 1309 days

#1 posted 07-08-2012 03:09 PM


Although I’ve not personally worked any Beetle Kill Pine maybe I can help by suggesting you visit the sites below, check out their sites and read the techniques used by these two Artisans.

Monte Pittman

Work Safely and have Fun – Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

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851 posts in 1396 days

#2 posted 07-09-2012 01:57 AM

Thanks Len!

-- Steve

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647 posts in 2358 days

#3 posted 07-09-2012 03:41 PM

I would be stretching it to say I was a pro but I have worked with beetle kill pine a lot in the past. The biggest problem I had with finishing it was that it was a very “thirsty” wood and would suck up anything put on it. I discovered that using a pre-conditioner worked very well. It would get sucked into the wood and set up an inner layer that would keep the wood from sucking up quite as much as normal. The kind of pre-conditioner I used was an oil based one from General Finishes. I’m sure other brands work just as well but I was very satisfied with this one. After that dried (it is an oil based product so it takes a while) adding any final finish layers was much easier. I generally use a poly finish on top and it works well also.

I hope that helps.

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

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Monte Pittman

17907 posts in 1374 days

#4 posted 07-09-2012 07:48 PM

Rockyblue uses epoxy bar top coating on tables and UV resistant polyurethane on virtually everything else. I use the UV resistant polyurethane on everything at this point, but I want to switch to bar top epoxy also for tables & benches. It’s messy if not handled properly and my first go around I didn’t. Ugh! Rockyblue knows A LOT more than I do, but I’ll answer anything I can for you.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View sanfranciscocedarco's profile


48 posts in 528 days

#5 posted 05-16-2014 10:02 PM

I have looked everywhere and have my local distributor Moore Newton on the hunt for me and we can’t find anybody in nor cal that can supply me. I have been trying to buy 300 bf or more for two weeks and am having a tough time.. anybody ??

-- J.D. Goldberg, California,

View Buckethead's profile


3099 posts in 905 days

#6 posted 05-16-2014 10:54 PM

The guy who posted right above you. He mills blue pine very often. I know he works it commercially, but not sure if he resells what he mills. Logistics might prove to be the largest hurdle. Shoot Monte Pittman a pm. It might work out for you. He’s a great guy, and pops in frequently.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

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2363 posts in 1997 days

#7 posted 05-17-2014 04:28 PM

I turned a fell reel seat inserts from it and use plain ol’ Birchwood-Casey’s Tru-Oil Gunstock Finish. Use several coats for gest results.

View newwoodbutcher's profile


432 posts in 1886 days

#8 posted 05-19-2014 12:09 AM

I made a dinning room table with Beetle kill pine. I did not want to show the dark blue stain. I covered it with a gel stain and topped it with wipe on poly.

-- Ken

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