Q & A: Is Blue-Stained Pine OK?

Q & A: Is Blue-Stained
Pine
OK?

Q:

I have
some pine that was given
to me.The price was right but
the wood is full of blue stain. Is it safe
to use this wood for painted projects or as
a secondary wood?

A:

Blue stain is a common fungus
that infects the sapwood of freshly
sawn boards causing a blue discoloration
in pine. The infestation
most often occurs during the summer
months when freshly sawn
boards are exposed to the open
air before kiln drying. The color
can range from a striking blue to a
dull gray or black. We asked Harlan
Petersen at the University of
Minnesota Department of Wood
and Paper Science about blue stain.

Mr. Petersen told us that blue
stain is a non-destructive fungus
that has little or no effect on the structural integrity of the wood,
so it is safe to use in terms of
strength. However, because more
destructive organisms thrive
under the same conditions that
lead to blue stain, it is advisable to
inspect your boards for weakened
wood fibers or punkiness.

The Western Wood Products
Association encourages woodworkers
not to think of blue
stained pine as junk wood. Often
your blue stained boards can be
used like a spalted or figured
wood to create dramatic effects
(see photo).

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker October 1999, issue #75.

October 1999, issue #75

Purchase this back issue.