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Red Oak Glued-up/Gray Discoloration

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  • Red Oak Glued-up/Gray Discoloration

    Hello guys! I'm back after about a 9 month hiatus from participating here. Seems I'm a cold weather woodworker and a warm weather money maker! :-)

    Anyway, I'm working on a corner cabinet out of red oak. I've glued up the face frames from clear, nice-grained red oak. Where the rails meet the stiles I've got gray bleeding through the oak on some of the seams. All the oak looked great before using pocket screws and titebond to make the connections. Now the gray appears.

    I've heard this may be just be moisture seeping out from the tight joint and it will sand out. Please enlighten me as I'm sure this is a common problem - just the first time for me.

    Thanks!
    Skip
    Stay well and play well.
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  • #2
    Re: Red Oak Glued-up/Gray Discoloration

    Hi Skipsax wb

    I think the tannin in the oak may be reacting with the metal in your screws...

    What metal were your screws made out of?
    Cheers! - Jim
    -------------
    All truth passes through three stages: First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. - Schopenhauer

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    • #3
      Re: Red Oak Glued-up/Gray Discoloration

      The screws are Kreg pocket screws (fine) per the supplies list in these plans from Wood Magazine. They didn't specifiy Kreg but the pics in the plans show a Kreg jig, like I used. Not sure what Kreg makes them out of.

      Another person suggested I not use tap water to clean off the excess glue. He said the tanin reacts with tap water in red oak.

      Anyone else???

      One more thing: Regardless of this issue, can I reverse it, mask it, sand it out or hide it?

      Thanks.
      skip
      Stay well and play well.
      Skip

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      • #4
        Re: Red Oak Glued-up/Gray Discoloration

        A grey or black discoloration in red oak (and white oak, too) is usually caused by the tannin's reaction to iron. It is actually ferrous oxide. If there was any iron in the water (ie you have steel pipe or the city has cast iron or ductile iron mains) that would be the cause. Only way I know is to remove it is to sand it out. Unless you really soaked the wood it probably won't go too deep. If you are going to use a dark stain, don't get too carried away as the stain will hide most of it
        The other thing that can cause it is ammonia in the water, or ammonia fumes.
        I have had it happen to me by using a rag that had set too close to my drill press, and had metal dust on it. Instant black stain. Also made the mistake of sharpening my chisels on my white oak bench. The water from the wet/dry paper hit the top and again, instant black stain.
        If you suspect it is your tap water, I would use deionized or distilled water in the future (buy it by the gal at the grocery store and get whichever is cheaper). If you have plastic pipes, and the water was from the hot water tap, try the cold tap. The hot water may be picking up iron from the water heater.
        I have seen rusty water used to "stain" oak picture frames to give them a "driftwood" look.

        Good luck

        Go
        Practicing at practical wood working

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        • #5
          Re: Red Oak Glued-up/Gray Discoloration

          Great info Gofor - thanks. It DID sand right out - whatever caused it.
          Skip
          Stay well and play well.
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