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I am using some old pine for flooring and want to keep the rustic saw mark appearance on the face. There are 1” wide horizontal stains across the boards left by wood stickers from drying or stacking over the years. Is there any treatment or method to remove or reduce the discoloration circled below? Or do I just have to live with it as “part of the charm”?

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Another example sanded down to 220:

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  • Have you tried wire brushing it?
    – bowlturner
    Dec 10, 2021 at 15:42
  • Welcome to StackExchange. Weren't you going to process the wood anyway?
    – Graphus
    Dec 10, 2021 at 17:13
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    @Graphus, from the 1st sentence, "want to keep the rustic saw mark appearance", so there is limited "processing" going on, I presume. I'm impressed with the sanding done so far and how much of the saw marks are still there...
    – FreeMan
    Dec 10, 2021 at 18:04

2 Answers 2

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Is there any treatment or method to remove or reduce the discoloration circled below? Or do I just have to live with it as “part of the charm”?

Although those sticker marks were all caused in the same way (contact with stickers), they're not necessarily all caused by the same process. Contact with stickers protects the wood from light and perhaps air to some degree, protects from direct exposure to rain and snow but might also trap moisture, and protects against dirt but might also allow mold or mildew to grow.

The marks are the sum of all of those differences, so without planing the boards down to just remove the surface, you probably won't be able to remove them entirely. Sanding might help to blend the marks by removing some of the surface while leaving some of the texture you want. Cleaning the boards will help to even out the marks by removing some of the dirt and making the boards more uniform. You could try pressure washing the boards, and I expect that'll go a long way toward removing the marks, but it might also remove the aging and coloration that you might want.

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This is "sticker stain". Sticker stain is fairly common and often unavoidable, although the nature and severity of it varies naturally.

Is there any treatment or method to remove or reduce the discoloration circled below?

Soon as you joint/plane or heavily sand the surface (which of course is the norm for wood rough from the mill whether it has been stored stickered or not) those will go, along with most or all of the rest of the 'rustic charm' the boards have.

Or do I just have to live with it as “part of the charm”?

If the plan had been to use the wood as-is then yes, you may have to live with them. Especially as some are light areas, where the wood was actually protected by those stickers and not actually stained by the sticker itself, or water wicking underneath them.

You could try pressure-washing the wood, or treating it with some kind of deck cleaner. There's no guarantee of success in either case, but I'd imagine you'd see a marked improvement with either approach. See previous Answer showing the effectiveness of pressure washing exterior wood, Can I run pressure treated deck boards through thickness planer?


No help now but for possible future use, this is why some people use stickers with a triangular section. Obviously you still have a flat which could lead to exactly these marks, but at least one side of each board will have a very minimal contact area so little or no marking will be present.

See more on air drying and storing wood in stacks in this previous Answer, What wood species should I use for making stickers?

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