Q: Last year, a flash flood took out the lower level of our house. I’m redoing the den with knotty pine tongue-and-groove boards. I’ve seen old fishing cabins where the interior pine paneling has turned a beautiful orange-yellow. Can you give me a tip how I can get a warm look like this without waiting 50 years?
A: When pine ages, it both changes color and gets more translucent. You can’t fake the latter, but it is easy enough to mimic the former. Staining the pine, as I suspect you know, is not a good idea as it will make the early wood bands darker than the late wood. Instead, start by sealing the wood with one coat of clear finish, then switch to clear coats that have been tinted with a bit of dye. As long as the tinted finish is applied evenly, you will get subtle but uniform color alteration. Done adroitly, it can look very convincingly like aged pine.