How to Stain Pine to Look Like Oak

If you prefer Oak to Pinewood, you should already know that the former is more expensive, durable, and practical than the latter. Oak is a costlier option than Pine because it is a slow-growing tree, making it less accessible.

If you are reading this article, there is a high possibility that you want to achieve the premium look Oak wood gives without actually having to purchase the wood itself. Luckily for you, you can create that look by staining Pinewood to look like Oakwood, saving you a lot of money.

The steps are simple, and the supplies are not challenging to purchase; you only have to be willing to put in the necessary effort and time. This article outlines a step-by-step guide and all you need to know when staining Pinewood to look like Oakwood; keep reading for more information.

About Pine Wood

Pine has about 120 species worldwide, and it is any conifer shrub or tree that belongs to the Pinus genus of plants and the Pinaceae family. They have needle-like long leaves and are distributed worldwide but primarily native to the temperate regions of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

Pinewood is a softwood with a density of 352-849 kg/m3; it is known for being extremely lightweight and very affordable. The heartwood color is a light or golden brown, while the sapwood is more on the lighter side with a yellowish-white. The heartwood’s color becomes more profound and darker as the wood matures, while the sapwood remains lighter.

Wood Stains to Apply for Pine to Look Like Oak

After establishing that you can make your Pinewood look like Oakwood, the next step is to be aware of some of the different wood stains you can apply; three different options are listed below.

Minwax Weathered Oak Wood Finish

With a weathered oak wood finish, you can save yourself the stress of applying a whitewash to a golden oak stain by applying this directly. It is an oil-based wood finish used on different surfaces such as wood furniture and floors.

Varathane Premium Fast Dry Wood Stains

If you decide to go for a white Oak stain on your Pinewood, Varathane Premium is your best choice. It is an oil-based formula known to give rich a rich color, making your Pinewood look exactly like Oak. It has a fast drying time of one hour and gives the desired result with only one coat.

Varathane Premium Wood Stain (Honey Maple)

You can also decide to purchase the honey maple Varathane wood stain for color on the lighter side. It is an oil-based paint that is better used on indoor Pinewood to last for a long time and will bring out the high-quality color in just one coat, and it also has a fast drying time.

Materials Needed to Stain Pine to Look Like Oak

  • Cotton cloth or paintbrush
  • Sanding block
  • Two wood stains of your choice.
  • Lint-free rags (must be clean).
  • Wood conditioner.
  • Sandpaper.
  • Tack cloth.
  • Newspapers or plastic sheets.

A Step-By-Step Guide

Now that you know the different wood stains to use and the suitable materials to get the job done, let us look at what you need to do to stain your Pinewood to look like Oak.

Step One

The first thing you need to do is choose the surface (your workspace) to stain your wood; it could be the floor or a table. It would be best to use the newspapers or plastic sheets to cover the workspace and the surrounding area so your wood stain and primer do not spill and spoil the surface. If you cannot get any of the two times above, you can use a cloth you no longer need.

Step Two

After getting your workspace ready, you can now prepare your wood. Pinewood tends to have a lot of knots, so the first thing you should do is inspect the wood. If there are a lot of knots, apply epoxy in the spaces around the knots so they do not fall out of place, as they could do that if they are loose, then leave the wood to dry for some time.

Once the wood is dry, sand the wood to smooth the entire surface completely. You should sand up to 220 grit, then clean off the sawdust with a dry rag. If your piece of wood is big, you should consider using a power sander and, if small, a sanding block. You should always follow the direction of the wood grain while filing, especially in the last stages.

Step Three

For the next step, you should practice on some pieces of unwanted wood to test the exact shade you want. If you are going for a lighter color, it is better to start with a darker shade first (to bring out the grain), then apply the lighter shade after it has dried. You should purchase at least more than two different wood stains and try them on your wood until you get a perfect shade.

Step Four

Once you are done with step three, you should be aware of the shade of Oak you are going for. Applying a wood conditioner is the next and most crucial step. You need to prime Pinewood before using a wood stain as Pine does not accept stains well. It helps to give you an excellent result that is free of blotches.

Purchase any wood conditioner of your choice and apply a coat to the surface of the wood you want to stain using a lint-free rag. You should apply the primer according to the direction of the wood grain, then wait for it to dry (the drying time will be stated on the product).

Step Five

The next step is to apply the first coat of the wood stain of your choice. You can do this by saturating a lint-free rag and using it to wipe the stain along with the wood, following the direction of the grain. If you want to achieve a deeper color, you should wipe the stain after about fifteen minutes but if you want a lighter shade, wipe it immediately.

You should ensure to cover every part of the wood with the stain, and it should be an even coat. Lastly, remember to follow the product’s directions you are using when you want to wipe out excess stains. Once dried, you can choose to apply a second and third coat to make the color come out well.

Step Six

Ensure to clean off any excess wood stain that falls along the grain. Once your first wood stain dries, if you have a deeper shade, you let it sit for more than five minutes. It would help if you balanced this by adding another wood stain using a foam brush, but this time around, you wipe it off before a minute elapses.

Lastly, once your second wood stain is dried, you should apply a topcoat. It is advisable to use one that does not have an amber tint so that it does not spoil your desired finish. You can also opt for water-based polyurethane, it must be a thin coat, and you should sand it with 240 grit sandpaper.


When staining Pinewood to look like Oak, get the materials and follow the steps written above to achieve excellent results. Remember, knowing the correct information and having the right tools is all it takes.

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