There is no use in attempting to deny it: Pine can be difficult to stain because it’s so nonporous. At its worst, it may “fight” stain, developing streaks, dark and light splotches and “pops” across the grain. But there are two approaches to make pine feel just like wood putty in your hands state the wood to tame its own trends, or apply a gel stain to achieve a glossy, uniform shade. If you’ve got your heart set on refinishing a kitchen table, then move ahead with confidence, knowing it is possible to beat the challenges of dealing with pine.
Place the table to a drop cloth or old blanket outdoors, or indoors in a well-ventilated area. Do not work in direct sunlight; the heat could cause the stain to bubble. Inspect the table carefully. Fill any holes or cracks with wood filler.
Sand the table in the direction of the grain to achieve a smooth finish. Use a hand sander — or possibly a makeshift hand sander– to give you the greatest level of leverage. Start with some medium-fine sandpaper and, even if the wood resists your efforts, ramp up the procedure with medium sandpaper. Be sure to employ a light touch, as you can unwittingly produce scratches, dings and even gouges in the wood with more demanding paper. Dust the table with a rag, then follow it with a tack cloth so the table is totally dust-free.
Apply a pre-stain wood conditioner to the kitchen table, working from the top down, with a brush or cloth. Permit the conditioner to penetrate the wood for as many as 15 minutes. Then remove the excess with a clean cloth. Apply the stain in just two hours of the measure for the best outcomes.
Sand the table with medium-fine sandpaper. Wipe the table with a tack cloth.
Brush on a liberal coating of the thick-bodied gel stain to the peak of the table, maintaining a wet edge, just as you would with paint. Let the stain sit on the surface for five minutes. Then buff the stain in the wood with an old rag, removing any excess stain in the procedure. Then apply the stain to the legs of the table. Gel stain doesn’t drip nearly as badly as traditional stains, but you need to stay alert to the possibility, especially when employing a heavy coat.
Permit the gel stain to dry completely, which may take up to 12 hours. If you wish, apply a second or even third coat, each of which will visibly deepen the shade. You don’t need to mud gel stain between coats.
Permit the table to cure, which may take 24 hours or more. Apply a couple of coats of polyurethane to protect the surface of your new kitchen table.