Woodworking Tips
Woodworking Tips Index
Pampering Pine, Part 2
Last week, I offered some special handling tips, and mentioned the value of using a clean saw blade.

Drilling pine can also be a little tricky. When we used a new brad point drill bit on the Country Hutch project, instead of starting the hole cleanly, it took chunks of wood. We found it helped to briefly run the drill in reverse first. That way the points on the bit scribe the outside diameter of the hole slicing the wood fibers.

Just as the fibers in pine get torn cutting and drilling, you can also tear them out when removing dried glue -- especially if you try to scrape it off. So I try not to use too much glue in the joints. And any excess glue is cleaned up just before it dries completely. Removing the excess then prevents tearing the fibers later.

Sanding pine has its own special challenges. Normally I'd use a finish sander to complete a project. But on pine it leaves nearly invisible swirl marks -- they don't become visible until you apply a stain. So I finish sand a pine project by hand.

It's also a good idea to use a sanding block when sanding pine. That's because pine doesn't sand evenly. It's made up of both soft and hard fibers (early and late wood). When you sand without a block, you remove more of the early wood because it's softer. So you end up with a wavy surface instead of a flat one.

When finishing pine, there are a couple things to keep in mind that will give you a better looking project. First, pine doesn't absorb stain evenly so you get dark blotches on the wood. Try using a wood conditioner or stain controller. You can purchase these ready-made where stain and finishing products are sold.

The type of stain controller we used before staining the Country Hutch was a thinned-down oil finish that penetrates all the pores of the wood. So when the stain is applied, it penetrates the pores less deeply, but more evenly. And more even penetration means less blotching.

Stain controller is applied like an ordinary coat of oil finish. Wipe it on liberally, let it soak in, then wipe off the excess. The key to avoiding blotches is to begin applying the stain right away, before the stain controller has dried completely.

Second, pick lighter colored satins if possible. They don't highlight the missed dents, broken fibers, and sanding swirl marks as much as dark colors.

Go to Tip #52
Woodworking Tips Index ©August Home Publishing Company