Reason for rings on table legs

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Forum topic by Hazey posted 07-02-2020 10:34 AM 717 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Hazey's profile


1 post in 573 days

07-02-2020 10:34 AM

I’m inquiring if anyone can explain why dark rings appeared on the legs of the coffee table I stained that were not there prior to being stained. I’ve attached pictures showing the before and after the table had been stained. I’m not sure what type of wood it is. What, if anything could be done to remove them?

10 replies so far

View LittleShaver's profile


779 posts in 1960 days

#1 posted 07-02-2020 12:02 PM

Looks like the stain absorbed more in the end grain of the turnings, as stains will do.
Kind of late to try to remove them. You might try wiping the suspect areas with the solvent for your stain, it could lift enough out of the end grain to lighten the coloring a bit.
End grain absorbs more stain by it’s nature. The only way to stop it is to pre-condition the wood with a sealer to fill in the end grain prior to staining.

-- Sawdust Maker

View controlfreak's profile


3223 posts in 942 days

#2 posted 07-02-2020 01:17 PM

What kind of wood is it? It tends to be more of a problem with softer woods like pine. Whenever I stain pine I use Minwax wood conditioner first to get the stain to take a little more evenly. It goes on like water.

View Madmark2's profile


3262 posts in 1929 days

#3 posted 07-02-2020 01:46 PM

End grain absorbs more. Live with it or paint it.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3892 posts in 4778 days

#4 posted 07-02-2020 02:07 PM

End grain… It’s a natural part of the wood so to be expected. Some people can’t stand it, some people realize that it’s just the way of things because it’s wood and find it looks natural to them.

One way to minimize it is to seal the wood, especially in that area before finishing it. But it doesn’t stop it. And some woods are more prone to it than others. They seem to have a more porous end grain.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

3033 posts in 1503 days

#5 posted 07-02-2020 02:55 PM

Hazey – is this a table that you made yourself or did you purchase it unfinished ??

yes, it is endgrain: but, I think that the tools used during the turning process “may”
have compressed (burnished) the wood fibers in the light areas that prevented the stain penetrating
to the same depth as the darker areas. the 2nd guess would be a contamination of some sort.
but, if it is the same on all 4 legs, I would rule that out.
[just a seat of the pants guess].

I have seen this issue before over the years and never really paid attention to it.
I do very little spindle turnings but if I did large ones, I would invest in a good quality
pre-stain treatment.
[Charles Neil has a few videos on YouTube about Blotch Control and Pre-Stain Conditioners].

-- I am a painter: that's what I do, I like to paint things. --

View JCamp's profile


1540 posts in 1891 days

#6 posted 07-02-2020 03:13 PM

End/open grain will always absorb and retain stain more than Smooth grain. If u stained the “feet” of the table legs they are likely the same dark color. I do know that if u sand the open grain very very well it won’t darken as much
I’m sure others can give u advice on different woods that would b better at hiding it but I’ve never messed with any that I know of.
I’ve not sprayed many finishes either but I wonder if spraying a finish would hide this effect more than wipe on or brush on?

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View moke's profile


2126 posts in 4117 days

#7 posted 07-02-2020 09:27 PM

When I have issues with stain, specifically a light spot, I use stain on a cue-tip. Lightly filling in that area. I have also used a 000 brush. I am a graduate of a Photographic Institute about the time Columbus came to town. We lightly retouched our prints with dye and the smallest brush we could find. One day after having a similar problem, I asked myself “why couldn’t I just retouch it” It worked and I have been doing it ever since.

I would dilute the stain slightly until you get the hang of it…but you simply take the brush and lightly dab it….we call it stippling. Keep going until it matches. Just don’t take an aggressive approach and try to get it all at once. It works well. I have even done it in between coats of poly if I see an issue. I would think in this issue a cue-tip might work well too. It’s a learning process, but give it a try…..

-- Mike

View SMP's profile


5084 posts in 1246 days

#8 posted 07-02-2020 10:57 PM

Get a piece of the same wood, like a 1×2 or 1×3, crosscut it. Apply the finish to the face and to the end and you will see the end will suck up most finishes like its thirsty, and will get noticably darker. You can experiment with different finishes, like for example an oil finish vs shellac etc and see how each one is different

View Lazyman's profile


8852 posts in 2728 days

#9 posted 07-03-2020 07:43 PM

You might try using anti splotch pre stain conditioner to reduce the effect. The figure in woods that causes spotching is basically caused buy waviness in the grain that exposes slightly more endgrain in areas of a board.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View WilliamCoffey's profile


3 posts in 585 days

#10 posted 07-04-2020 09:26 AM

i’m also looking for this answer .

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