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 In Finishing

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The three lighter spots on the end grain of this white oak tabletop didn’t accept stain like the rest of the wood.

I received a question from a woodworker who had made an end table from quartersawn white oak and had a problem with the stain penetrating unevenly. The problem showed up just on the end grain, not the long grain. And it showed up on both ends of the board.

The flaw went all the way through the board to the other end.

The woodworker explained that he had tried to fix the problem by cutting off a little of the end grain (handplaning it back, actually), reshaping the half-round and sanding the wood smooth. Same thing happened. Light areas in the end grain. What could be causing this and how to fix it?

I begged off of identifying the cause because I’m not a wood technologist, but the woodworker was curious enough to send these pictures to a wood technologist who explained that the cause was tension wood – flaws caused by the tree being put under stress.

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