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Marks through grain of wood

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Dan.dan975

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Good morning everyone, just after a bit of advice/information. I have a piece of ash board which I am just about to start finishing, but have noticed a mark running through the grain which will detract from the final finish.

I have had a good look online to try and identify what it may be, but am none the wiser. I initially thought it may be where the wood has not dried enough? But now I’m thinking it may just be a natural mark. The staining/mark shows on the other side of the board too (it’s about 20mm thick).

A8B10E09-60A0-4586-AAA7-B78D124ECCE1.jpeg


E13D74BD-7918-4118-88E9-7A0D6DC854E0.jpeg


Can anyone identify what it may be, if I can do anything to remove it, or if it’s here stay?!

Any help is much appreciated!
 

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Doug B

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Looks like natural markings in the wood, I’ve just built an English Ash table which had lots of such marks infact some of it was close to being olive ash but it just adds to the character.

If you don’t like it you could try removing the staining with oxalic acid or failing that if you want a very white Ash go for American White Ash
 

AndyT

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Could it be sticker stain? I've no direct experience but it looks like a problem that's been discussed on here before, where boards are left stacked up, separated by sticks to dry, for too long before being kilned.

Maybe someone who knows about this will be along soon. If it is sticker marking, the solution offered before was to put up with it or plane it away.
 

profchris

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AndyT":18nv136c said:
Could it be sticker stain? I've no direct experience but it looks like a problem that's been discussed on here before, where boards are left stacked up, separated by sticks to dry, for too long before being kilned.

Maybe someone who knows about this will be along soon. If it is sticker marking, the solution offered before was to put up with it or plane it away.
I had the same thought, and if the stickers were in the same position both sides ...

Have you tried planing to see if it disappears?
 

Sgian Dubh

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Dan.dan975":2mhcgube said:
Can anyone identify what it may be, if I can do anything to remove it, or if it’s here stay?!
Any help is much appreciated!
I suspect sticker stain - the cross-grain dark mark - caused by oxidation of chemicals within the wood, possibly catalysed by wood enzymes. Drying conditions that lead to sticker stain are also quite commonly conducive to fungal growth, and I suspect that this has happened here because the dark staining extends either side of the cross-grain mark along the grain. There could be other causes of the staining, but I think what I've described is the most likely candidate.

If the cross-grain stain is mirrored and apparent on the opposite face too, planing won't remove it. And if that's the situation it's likely the staining parallel with the grain is also all through the grain.

Fixes are likely to be:
1. Live with it, prep and polish.
2. Bleach the stain out with A/B bleach, which will normally (but not always) result in a somewhat sickly yellow. Then dye and/or stain to get the colour you want, and polish up. You could, or should really, find a similarly stained offcut and use A/B bleach on that, and polish up, perhaps dying and/or staining to see what you'll get prior to committing yourself to going down the bleaching route on your piece of furniture.
3. Find replacement wood that's stain free, remake your project, and find another use for your stained piece, perhaps something hidden and primarily structural, e.g., internal framing for a cabinet or something similar. Slainte.
 

Dan.dan975

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Afternoon,

Thank you for the replies, very useful.

Doug - it is actually olive ash (should have mentioned that originally), is this sort thing quite common with olive ash? If so I’ll avoid it in the future!

Sgian Dubh":cnug1gtj said:
I suspect sticker stain - the cross-grain dark mark - caused by oxidation of chemicals within the wood, possibly catalysed by wood enzymes.....
Thank you for the comprehensive reply, the stain does appear symmetrical on the face so goes right through and I’ve given it a good sanding to no effect.

I think on this occasion I’ll replace the wood and maybe when I have a bit more time I’ll come back to it with some bleach.
 

Doug B

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Sorry I’ve only just seen your reply Dan, I don’t think it’s stickers stain as in my experience that just runs in strips across the timber where the stickers have been, yours looks to be running length ways along the plank as well as across which is typical with Olive Ash.

I made this nest of tables years ago the tops are a good example of the lovely colours you can get with Olive Ash from greys to deep coral & everything inbetween.

E557C4A7-A91C-40A4-9DDC-0BF27BB59864.jpeg
 

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Mrs C

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Agree with the above - if it’s any consolation ash is so varied that only you will notice, but if you are anything like me it will annoy you each time you look at it!
 

Sgian Dubh

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Doug B":29vnzdue said:
I don’t think it’s stickers stain as in my experience that just runs in strips across the timber where the stickers have been, yours looks to be running length ways along the plank as well as across which is typical with Olive Ash.
In most cases sticker stain or sticker shadow (they're the same) does show only as a cross grain stripe, sometimes very prominent, and sometimes quite faint. On the other hand I've seen in a decent minority of cases instances where the staining, initiated at the sticker positions, has spread either side longitudinally, similar to the images dan.dan975 showed earlier.

I'm not being dogmatic in my opinion on the cause of the staining in the original post because I can't be certain, and you may be right rather than me. However, I still suspect sticker stain as the initial cause of the discolouration.

When I look a little more closely at your image of the three circular tables, I notice the grey staining, particularly in the largest table is in two patches, one left and one right. It's hard to tell from the image, but it may be that these grey stained areas are primarily sapwood. If that's the case I also suspect there are at least two fungi at work, i.e., one or more causing the olive staining in the heartwood, and one or more in the sap staining group of fungi, i.e., those that don't have the chemical armoury to attack heartwood, and are therefore forced to live on sugars they can find easily in sapwood, and sometimes further inside the wood where sugars are stored in the tree's parenchyma. Slainte.
 

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