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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

How to harden soft (white) pine boards

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Wardner

11-03-2012 14:54:27




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I am building an apartment in my antique (1780) hand-hewn barn loft. I have several thousand board feet of new old stock white pine boards. Probably milled in the '60s. At 16', they are long enough to span the bays. Width ranges from 16" to 20".

Want to use these as flooring. Is there some chemical that will "case harden", if you will, the surface yet leave the grain visible. Was also thinking about running them through something like a large metal forming set of rolls. I'd welcome other ideas.

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russb wa

11-10-2012 14:37:38




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to wisbaker, 11-03-2012 14:54:27  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

I have not had much luck putting hard coatings over soft wood. The coating has to be thick enough to spread any point load and not fracture. The thicker the coating the more likely to be brittle. Think of the coating as the a top plate of an I beam and the soft wood as the Beam's webbing.



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36 coupe

11-08-2012 17:50:58




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to Wardner, 11-03-2012 14:54:27  
My house has white pine floors.I would say sell the pine and buy some ash or oak for flooring.Quarter sawn hard pine would work if you could find it.If your pine is clear it would make window and door trim.My father used spruce flooring in bedrooms.



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Chuck MA

11-06-2012 19:54:06




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to Wardner, 11-03-2012 14:54:27  
Any finish is only as as the substrate. So no matter what you apply on top of the pine it will still dent or mar just as easily. I"m not saying dont finish the floor, it should conditioned, stained and 3 coats of a good polyurethane with a light sanding between coats. If you are not familar with wood conditioner it fills the pours to provide even staining it eliminates the blotchiness of softwood. Staining will keep the floor from fading unevenly. I sold paint and stains to retailers for a number of years, and that is what the manufactures would reccomend. Hope this helps you
Chuck

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henry0

11-06-2012 13:28:45




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to Wardner, 11-03-2012 14:54:27  
I put pine floors in my house and applied 2 coats of Minwax Urethane on it. The onl;y thing I regret is not redoing it after three years because my 3 dogs used the hallway for a slide and carved big grooves in it. If I had sanded and refinished after three years instead f six, it would be good ans new now.



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jackinok

11-05-2012 11:04:15




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to Wardner, 11-03-2012 14:54:27  
nothing that i know of will harden pine.but theres something else you should be concerned with more,warpage and swelling /contracting. nearly all the real old pine flooring ive seen( old as in a hundred years old ) was not nailed tightly , and had oakum joints between boards. remember to get your boards inside your area for as long as possible,to let them aclimate properly before you nail them down! they will swell and shrink a surprising amount depending on moisture content.the oakum lets them move without warping similar to planking on a boat, and it makes for an interesting floor,that i kind of like myself. flooring is most often narrow boards to help keep cupping to a minimum, but with boards that wide they have to be able to move.back a hundred years ago when we used 1x8 pine as subflooring,we would leave a min of 1/4" gap between boards.of course you dont want these gaps in your finished floor,so most folks ship lap them .the oakum in the gaps lets it move without warping but you can still sweep and things.saw one old house on tv where they unbraided old hemp rope and used it.

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Cliff(VA)

11-05-2012 07:06:39




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to Wardner, 11-03-2012 14:54:27  
Wardner,

I am an old house nut. I have been in many 100+ year old houses with heart pine floors. When I built my new house in 2005 I put down heart (yellow) pine.

Over time the floor develops a "patina" with the heartwood standing proud of the sapwood. I think it looks great. You will never make pine flat and shiny like maple or oak for very long.

I am not sure how well white pine would stand up.

Cliff(VA)

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Ken Macfarlane

11-05-2012 05:49:55




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to Wardner, 11-03-2012 14:54:27  
Parents had pine floors. They varathaned, lasted a bit, still dented. The stuff that wore the varathane off made beautiful patterns of wear sunk between growth rings.

It was all sanded down flat a few years back and recoated but I don't like it nearly as much as the worn look.



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Skaning

11-04-2012 19:53:53




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to Wardner, 11-03-2012 14:54:27  
The hardEner folks talk about is actually epoxy dissolved in acetone, or used to be. it works OK for partially decayed wood that it can wick into.Git Rot was and old brand name for wood boat owners Problem is with pine whatever you use will probably be surface harden. Some sweet young thing about 120# wearing a nice set of spike heels will demolish pine sapwood particularly white pine.. Now Southern Yellow pine you might pull it off although the standard for pine floors in the south was yellow pine heart wood. that held up well.

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MarkB_MI

11-04-2012 07:00:32




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to Wardner, 11-03-2012 14:54:27  
If there was a way to make soft wood into hard wood, there would be no market for maple and oak flooring. White pine is notoriously soft, and it's a safe bet your boards aren't old growth lumber.

Just make your girlfriend take off her high heels when she comes to visit and your pine flooring will be fine.



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Bus Driver

11-04-2012 05:54:27




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to Wardner, 11-03-2012 14:54:27  
Increasing their dent resistance is not possible-- on a practical basis. Putting o a high gloss polyurethane finish will make the dents stand out visually. So a penetrating finish that creates no gloss is the best choice. The tung oil may build up on the surface if applied too heavily. Regular Minwax might be a good choice. 2 or 3 coats to start and recoated as desired.



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Stephen Newell

11-04-2012 04:44:50




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to Wardner, 11-03-2012 14:54:27  
I've been a professional cabinetmaker for 40 years and there is nothing you can do to harden pine wood. It's not uncommon to use a soft wood wood for flooring though. You just can't expect it not to dent like a oak or maple floor. The best thing you could do is use a tung oil floor finish and ignor the dents marks that are to come. You can re-apply the tung oil from time to time to clean up the scrape marks but nothing is going to make the floor not dent. Even if you coated the floor with fiberglass resin the wood will dent and then the fiberglass would separate from the wood leaving a air pocket that would look really bad.

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CH(Upstate,NY)

11-04-2012 05:40:01




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to Stephen Newell, 11-04-2012 04:44:50  
I agree. When we built our Adirondack camp we just stained the plywood deck and applied 3 coats of tung oil. been standing up to sand and wet feet for 20 years. Going to recoat or install reclaimed pine or hickory next year.



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Kerry N.S

11-04-2012 02:46:50




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to Wardner, 11-03-2012 14:54:27  
Did our kitchen floor(pine boards) with 3 coats varathane, wore off in 6 months. Won,t use varathane anymore. Did my wifes shop floor with linseed oil and thinner just keep rolling it on every time it soaked in, then just linseed oil and a dryer in the last coat. It has been on 10 yrs with heavy usage and still good. Mid wax is also good product. Good to ask around.



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Hound

11-04-2012 01:22:42




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to Wardner, 11-03-2012 14:54:27  
Just put an ash floor down in my house. Ash quite a bit harder then pine to start with thou. I put a polyurethane finish down that had aluminiun in it. I only did half the floor at a time. I couldn't get over how hard it made it feel. After a year, hardly any marks in it.
Hound



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tomtirediron

11-03-2012 20:05:35




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to Wardner, 11-03-2012 14:54:27  
Turned a baseball bat out of Ash one year in high school. Industrial Arts teacher, also a former triple A ball player told me bats were flame hardened by scorching surface very lightly. Don't know if it would work on pine but might be worth a try.



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ivan in mich

11-03-2012 18:06:40




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to Wardner, 11-03-2012 14:54:27  
Minwax makes a hardner that works on soft wood or wood that I would call rotten. It works very well and I have seen vases turned after it was used and you could not tell it had been treated. I don't know if it would work in your case as the wood has to been sumerged in it overnight and as was said it could get real expensive.



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Bret4207

11-03-2012 16:54:42




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to Wardner, 11-03-2012 14:54:27  
If you run them through rolls you'll just crush the wood. I don't know of anything that will harden the wood, but they are finishes that are hard. Best bet is to visit a commercial flooring finisher and bend his ear.



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GeneMO

11-03-2012 16:48:34




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to Wardner, 11-03-2012 14:54:27  
What would just a couple of coats of good polyurathane do.

I remember reading that the indians hardened their arrow shafts with heat. They also would use fire to straighten the shafts.

Gene



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Colophil

11-03-2012 16:28:35




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to Wardner, 11-03-2012 14:54:27  
Wardner, Go to Schroeders log home. I think there web site is loghelp.com, they have a product called liquid wood may be what you are looking for. I would just put a good floor finish on it myself. Phil



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Zachary Hoyt

11-03-2012 16:04:21




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to Wardner, 11-03-2012 14:54:27  
I was told recently that Minwax makes a product for that, but I imagine it would cost more than it would be worth for a job that size. I never heard of hardening lumber but would like to do it if there is a cost effective way. What I really need at the sawmill is log straightener.
Zach



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Jim in Ma.

11-03-2012 16:02:43




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to Wardner, 11-03-2012 14:54:27  
You could use something like West Systems epoxy.
Regular polly will make it look yellow so I would not use that.
You need to seal it so if something gets spilled it won't stain.
Or - leave it unfiniched. At the museum I work at we have an old meeting house (chirch)built in 1789 that has a white pine floor Never been painted It still looks fine.



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farmerjohn

11-03-2012 19:01:21




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to Jim in Ma., 11-03-2012 16:02:43  
However it is probably virgin pine which is much tigher grained and harder that anything milled in the past 50 years.



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Ellis Kinney

11-03-2012 15:59:54




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 Re: How to harden soft (white) pine boards in reply to Wardner, 11-03-2012 14:54:27  
I know there is a chemical that hardens partly rotten lumber. I don't know the name of it, but it would probably google up. It might be worth a try. Ellis



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