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What to use to seal unfinished Pine Fireplace Mantel?

I am about to install an unfinished Pine Fireplace Mantel. I want to keep the plain Pine Color. 


What would I need seal the wood in a matte finish? Not sure what option is the best between  Polyurethane, Paste Finishing Wax, or Tung Oil. 


Or can I leave the Mantel unfunished?


Thanks for your help!!

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Posted 2012-11-10T18:22:29+0000  by berbaier berbaier




If you indeed want to keep that nice, light pine color, you must apply a white pickling stain. Pine, if left unstained will continue to darken and redden. The white stain will prevent this. The stain is brushed on evenly and generously, allowed to penetrate for a  couple minutes, and then wiped off. The wiped wood will look almost the same as the bare wood, however, it will continue to look this way and not darken with age. Be carefull not to miss any areas, because over time, it will darken and become very obvious.


As a finish coat, you will want to use a  water based urethane in the sheen of your choice. Water based urethanes, unlike the oil versions, are crystal clear and will remain that way. Oil versions have a slight amber tone and will become more ambered  with age.


As an example of what occurs if a pine piece is not stained, I have attached a picture from my former kitchen. My wife bought a white pine corner hutch. Knowing what would happen if I did not stain the piece, I merely varnished it with an oil urethane. Within several months, the bright white hutch matched the natural red oak trim of the kitchen.


I hope this has been helpful













Posted 2012-11-10T23:20:20+0000  by ordjen

Hello :smileyvery-happy:


If you want to keep the exact look and tone of your pine just as it is now - then a water based polyurethane in a matte finish will achieve this in just a few hours.  


Varathane has a fast drying matte finish polyurethane that dries crystal clear and protects the wood from absorbing any unwanted dirt or stains.   


                                                             varathane matte.jpg

Because this product is water based - the wood fibers will tend to absorb more than an oil product will.  After the first coat has dried - lightly sand before applying the final coat.  This product will not yellow or amber with time.

Posted 2012-11-11T17:36:09+0000  by Kevin_HD_ATL

Thanks to both of you!I 

I'll get started and try to keep you posted on how it turned out...

Great to be able to ask questions directly via web.


Posted 2012-11-11T20:28:19+0000  by berbaier


I would point out that the Matte finish Varathane is not carried by all Home Depot stores. It would be good if it were. One of the complaints against  urethane finishes is that they tend to give a somewhat plastic look to wood. The matte finish would lessen this look. Some woodworkers like to give wood a coat of wax free shellac in an attempt to lessen the plastic look. Shellac will not darken  or discolor with age, yet enrichens the wood look.

Posted 2012-11-12T03:01:18+0000  by ordjen


In the  above post, I meant to say that many woodworkers like to use de-waxed shellac as a sealer under a finish coat of urethane varnish, this in an attempt to get the best of both worlds.

Posted 2012-11-13T04:11:57+0000  by ordjen
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