Sometimes called “whiskey barrel wood,” white oak is often used to make waterproof structures such as boats, furniture, and other items exposed to the elements.
White oak offers several advantages starting with its resistance to water and insects. It’s also the white oak’s strengths, its overall density, and tight grains that make it quite strong and bug resistant.
The timber does well in wet areas because it has relatively few pores that allow the water inside. It also ages quite well and needs relatively little maintenance compared to most other woods.
The only real downside of White oak is its cost. Yes, it isn’t available for cheap. Pinewood, on the other hand, is relatively cheaper and can be found easier for construction and home projects.
This is where staining pine to look like white oak comes in.
People who cannot afford or cannot find white oak in their locals can enjoy the beauty of it by making their pine lumber look like white oak.
Below in this blog post, I will walk through the complete step-by-step process along with the right products you need to use to get the job done.
So, let’s get into them…
How to Make Pine Look Like White Oak?
Remember, pine is a relatively soft and porous wood. So, it doesn’t take the wood stain very well. You will therefore need to prepare the wood properly with patience.
Before you start, here is a list of everything you will need for this project.
- A few old rags
- 2-inch sponge brush
- 120-grit sanding block
- Pre-stain wood conditioner
- Varathane Golden Oak stain
- Minwax white wash pickling stain
All these items can be found at your local hardware store or online at stores like Amazon. Once you have gathered all the materials, follow these steps…
Step 1- Sand the Wood
Whether you have a pine board or a furniture piece made up of pine, start by sanding it down nicely.
We have used a sanding block (with 120-grit sandpaper) for our outdoor project, but if you have an orbital sander, that can also be used.
Sand the wood thoroughly at corners, crevices, gaps, and edges. If there is old paint or varnish, make sure to strip that off too.
Step 2- Apply Pre-stain Conditioner
Pine wood comes with uneven grain that will result in uneven stain penetration. So, a coat of pre-stain wood conditioner like Minwax is essential to make your project successful, which can be applied evenly with a regular bristle brush.
Remember, if you try to apply the stain directly on the wood, it will most likely leave a blotchy surface with an unpleasant look.
Step 3- Apply the Varathane Stain
Once you have sanded down and pre-stained the pine completely, apply the Varathane Golden Oak stain to the piece with a rag.
Make sure you do this very lightly to achieve the right finishing and beautiful grain patterns.
Step 4- Apply Minwax White Wash Pickling Stain
Once your Varathane Golden Oak stain on the pine wood surface has completely dried, it’s time to apply the Minwax White Wash Pickling stain over it.
The Minwax white wash should be applied very smoothly with the sponge brush we have. Again, be light-handed as you have done before for the Varathane stain application.
And cover all the areas well, including all the edges and corners.
Using a sponge foam brush should give it a nicer appearance, much like white oak.
And it does this by washing out the orange tones of the pine and the previous stain we have applied.
Once you have covered all the areas of your furniture well with whitewash, wait for a few hours to get the surface completely dried.
If, after drying, you feel, you can apply a second coat of Minwax White Wash Pickling Stain, which will make the stain bit solid and stronger in appearance.
Allow the stained wood to cure completely before you use your transformed furniture.
Can You Use Poly Over Stained Pine?
Well, you can if you wish. But you will need to be careful with choosing the right product.
In my opinion, white-washed wood with stain looks pretty good and should be left as it is for a more distressed look. But if you want something glossy, go for poly.
For the best results, you can apply water-based Minwax Polycrylic clear poly over the satin. This will provide a good protective finish with a gloss. And the best part is, the finish won’t yellow with time, unlike oil-based sealers.
Whitewashing Pine Furniture, Floors, or Walls – Is it Good?
Knotty pine has a unique appearance characterized by a light, golden hue with open knots and grains.
The lime solution was traditionally used to whitewash and protect pine boards, furniture, walls, and other building materials. But today various less harmful materials can be used for whitewashing, providing the same traditional charm to lighten up your interiors.
For example, to make your own whitewash, you can mix two parts of flat latex paint with one part of water. By choosing pure white or cream or adding other colors like blue, green, or pink, you can get the exact look you want.
Step 1- Prepare the wood
If the pine has already been painted or sealed with a top coat, strip it first to expose the grains because whitewash needs to be soaked up in the wood rather than sitting on the top like the stain.
To remove old paint or stain, you can use a chemical stripper as directed by the manufacturer. After applying it, let it sit, and then use a putty knife to scrape off the bubbled-up paint or stain. Make sure to be careful not to damage the wood while doing this.
Step 2- Sand and stain the wood
For a more aged look, lightly sand the wood with 100-grit sandpaper and remove all the sanding dust with a cloth. Next, use a brown or gray stain on the sanded wood and wait for it to dry completely.
Step 3- Whitewash the pine wood
Using a clean paintbrush apply the whitewash in long, even strokes along the wood grain. After allowing the whitewash to set for a few seconds, wipe away any excess with a clean cloth or paper towel.
Continue to apply the whitewash in this manner, letting it absorb and wiping away the extra until you have fully covered the wood. Then apply a second coat as needed to reach your desired level of color.
After the whitewash has dried, you can allow your pine to age naturally or seal it with a top coat of clear protective sealers like acrylic or polyurethane.
The Bottom Line
Staining pine to look like white oak is a great way to achieve the beauty of white oak without spending too much money.
The above two-step process of using Varathane Golden Oak stain and Minwax White Wash Pickling Stain is pretty easy, and anyone can do it.
Once you have stained your pine wood and allowed it to dry completely, you can admire the beautiful transformation. And if needed, you can even apply a layer of Polycrylic to get a more glossy and protected finish on your faux oak.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.