How to Finish a Pine Cupboard Door

A pine cupboard door is made of a common, inexpensive soft wood that looks nice in a homey kitchen. Pine is lightweight and easy to work with. Be sure to stain your new pine doors to protect them from nicks and moisture, and regularly reapply the sealant for long-lasting results.

Finish Benefits

When finished with a stain or a high gloss polyurethane, pine takes on a brilliant sheen. However, various areas of the wood may absorb stain differently, so application requires some patience and attention to detail.

Start by Sanding

Pine boards are very easy to sand, but they are also easy to damage. Your best bet for this type of wood is to use 180 grit paper in a random orbital sander. Set the sander at the lowest possible speed, and do not add pressure. Let the tool do all the work while you just provide guidance.

Once you have finished, use 220 grit paper to sand by hand, as the power sander could now leave tiny scuff marks in the wood.

Treat Scratches

In the event that you do scratch the pine door, use a brush to apply a small amount of water to the damaged area. Cover a laundry iron with a soft cloth and heat the area. This will cause the wood grain to rise around the scratch.


Once you have finished sanding the door, use a soft tack cloth or a vacuum with a soft brush attachment to clean up any residual dust.

Apply Sealer

Because different areas of the same pine board have a tendency to absorb stain in different ways, it is best to apply a coat of sealer before adding stain. This will stop the stain from being absorbed too deep.

Once the sealer is dry, go over it with a 220 grit sand paper. Then clean the piece again with a cloth or vacuum.

Stain Pine Cupboard Door

Apply a gel stain with a foam brush. Work in sections of about 1 square foot and wipe off any excess. Once the entire area is done, wait for at least 5 hours for the stain to dry before you apply another coat. Repeat this process until you achieve the desired look.

Apply the Topcoat

Pine looks the best when it is finished off with a thin coating of satin varnish. One or two coats should be enough to make it shine. If there are any rough areas, sand them very lightly with some 220 grit sand paper.