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Thread: How to darken varnished pine?

  1. #1
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    Default How to darken varnished pine?

    How can I darken a varnished pine cabinet without stripping it? SWMBO says its too light and, of course, minwax or any stain cant penetrate, even with light sanding. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How to darken varnished pine?

    Paint?

    Actually, the only way I can think of to darken what you have... and still see wood grain (I gather that's your intent?) is called toning.

    The process is to tint your varnish - dark. Then varnish. The more tinted coats you put on, the darker the finish will become. The problem is... toughups become problematic. You can touch up for function, but it will be nearly impossible to touch up and maintain the same tone.

    So... I see four options:

    1. Live with the status quo

    2. Strip, stain and re-varnish

    3. Tone as a temporary measure, then fall back to #2 in a few years

    4. Paint... could also be a temporary measure

    G'luck
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How to darken varnished pine?

    Leave it out in strong sunlight. It will become more "golden" coloured with a bit of time.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How to darken varnished pine?

    Quote Originally Posted by outofthenorm View Post
    Leave it out in strong sunlight. It will become more "golden" coloured with a bit of time.
    That will help some too. Problem is, most pines are not that photochemically reactive. Not like cherry, or douglas fir.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How to darken varnished pine?

    Use a varnish with stain in it...to some extent this will diminish the clarity of the wood...but might be worth a try.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How to darken varnished pine?

    Toning it can make it look muddy and you'll lose the grain if you put too much on. But it will be darker!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How to darken varnished pine?

    One other thought: it depends on what's on it now. If it's a clear finish like Varathane or similar, the finish is adding no colour at all, so a coat of real spar varnish will help.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How to darken varnished pine?

    I use tinted urethane to darken new white pine(Pinus Strobus).It works pretty well over clear urethane because it doesn't get blotchy like over raw wood.
    My favourite is Varathane brand Golden Mahogany.Minwax Golden Oak isn't bad,but some people like it a bit more red,IIRC.
    3-4 coats,mixed 1-2 parts stain to 10 parts urethane/varnish.
    Finish with a coupla coats of clear satin for protection.
    R
    "Now Ron,don't you do anything stupid!" - Grandma B.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How to darken varnished pine?

    Quote Originally Posted by outofthenorm View Post
    One other thought: it depends on what's on it now. If it's a clear finish like Varathane or similar, the finish is adding no colour at all, so a coat of real spar varnish will help.
    My thought. Epifanes being the most amber, I think.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How to darken varnished pine?

    Glazing. it is a faux "antiquing" coat of darkened (pigmented)varnish, shellac or laquer. The best performance for this will probably be with laquer. You would need to prep the old finish, dewax and degrease with appropriate solvent like mineral spirit, and a final pass with alcohol on clean dry cloth. If it is a new finish this will be easier. let it dry for a day as this may soften the original finish. Then prep with a 3M (red) rubbing pad and top coat with pigmented laquer. Look up Behlens Wood Finishing Products as they have a canned pigmented laquer spray that is good for this kind of work. Or you can pigment it yourself. But for a small job like this premixed is often easier, especially if you dont have the proper pigments already in the shop. You can do this with brushing laquer in a can as well, adding the appropriate pigment as needed.

    Get the laquer and the pigment from the same supplier and make sure it is compatible! Follow up with a dark shoe polish wax job!
    Fly Fishing Washington's Olympic Peninsula
    http://olympicpeninsulaflyfishing.blogspot.com

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