Dealing with gray stains in southern yellow pine

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Forum topic by wdnick posted 11-10-2015 03:20 AM 1355 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 996 days

11-10-2015 03:20 AM

Alright, so my son (14 years old) wanted a new desk in his room. “Black top, wood bottom,” says he. To avoid a trip to Ikea and prove a point to him that I could make it for less and make it 100X better with a little elbow grease…. The top is done. Solid southern yellow pine, glued up, finished with black lacquer paint and about 4-5 coats of polyurethane in prep for the Coke cans and sweaty McDonald’s cups. Then I went and picked up a nice 2×12 for the legs and aprons. By nice, I mean very straight grain down the middle of the tree. I glued the legs up to make 2 1/4” squares, but the aprons are some great quartersawn material. The only problem is the gray stains. Yeah, I bought it at Home Depot. I was thinking the stains were only surface blemishes and would disappear as I milled and planed the pieces. Wrong was I! These stains run all the way through. So, my question is, now that I’ve got about half way thru the making of the base…. Is there anything I can do to remove the gray stains?? If not, I’m looking at either a gray stain or painting in which case I have failed miserably in making myself look better than Ikea (to a 14 year old). Any help would be greatly appreciated. FWIW, I was planning on a simple super blonde shellac on the base.

3 replies so far

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1804 posts in 1921 days

#1 posted 11-10-2015 05:10 AM

Not uncommon in SYP, it’s not a Home Depot thing. I don’t know of anything that will get rid of it, it’s a fungus that can go way below the surface (as you’ve seen.) Sometimes, if there’s a lot of it, I think it looks pretty cool. But doesn’t look like you have enough of it to look cool. It’s never bothered me but I don’t make anything from it other than framing stuff or a bench. You’ve got terrific boards there, sorry about that. Unless someone who knows more, I’m afraid it’s paint/stain or buy new boards or just tell the 14-year-old to take it and like it!

View Mip's profile


453 posts in 2105 days

#2 posted 11-10-2015 05:27 AM

I personally like the stains; just turned a bowl out of a conifer with gray/black stains in it. Looks pretty cool. I would still use the legs for the desk, unless he really had his heart set on clear legs, in which case, paint or buy some more. The black stain would match the black painted top, which would look pretty interesting.

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6 posts in 996 days

#3 posted 11-12-2015 02:53 AM

After consulting with my “customer” I’ve decided to just stain it gray. I did a couple of tests and while it isn’t something I would want in my living room, the son is OK with it. First a light coats of shellac to seal it, then some medium grit sandpaper to abrade. Following that with Minwax gray stain and then some more sandpaper to even things out. After that I’ll shellac and it will be done. I’ll post a pic when it’s complete.

Thanks for the input. Next time I’ll look for a cleaner board or go to a lumber yard and pay a little more for some clear lumber.

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