My table top is made out of ash. There were a few spots that didn't take the stain well. Any suggestions on how to approach fixing these spots? This is my first build, so any help is appreciated! enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

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    It's not the question you asked, but, seeing how you put that table top together, framing it with rails that extend all the way to the ends lengthwise, I'm nervous about how this design stands up to wood movement. Look into "breadboard ends," and especially why they are used. You can see what they are an a little about them here: woodmagazine.com/woodworking-tips/techniques/joinery/breadboard Jul 31, 2017 at 14:56
  • I think that is glue residue; guessing you tried to rub it off w/ a wet rag or something during glue up. You gotta get that out for the stain to take evenly. You can get away with some glue residue if you are not staining, but any glue residue will really show w/ a stain. Take it down a couple mm at least because it does penetrate some into the wood.
    – jbord39
    Jul 31, 2017 at 22:50
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    +10 on the Comment above from @CharlieKilian, you will get some issue down the line, guaranteed, if the battens on each end are firmly glued in place along their whole length (or attached with pocket screws). There are a couple of previous Q&As here on this you want to read a bit more on the subject.
    – Graphus
    Aug 1, 2017 at 5:48

1 Answer 1


There was definitely some sort of surface contamination that prevented the stain from absorbing evenly. The only way to make it even, aside from painting, is to remove all of the current stain by planing, scraping, or sanding, and restain. The good news is, as long as you don't spill anything on the surface afterwards, you will have removed whatever contamination caused this.

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    looks like glue to me
    – jbord39
    Jul 31, 2017 at 21:46
  • Great, thanks, I'll give it a shot. We used glue between the boards but there wasnt much leakage. Aug 1, 2017 at 2:07
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    @MattAltepeter Did you wipe away the excess glue when it was wet, wait for it to get rubbery or scrape off when dry? If you did it wet it's very easy to get this sort of issue unless you use a damp cloth (ideally using warm water, not cold) and are very thorough with the wiping.
    – Graphus
    Aug 1, 2017 at 5:45
  • It was still wet, but we did use warm water, must have not been thorough enough. Aug 10, 2017 at 15:51
  • We ended up just sanding the entire thing down and attempting to stain again. We had much better results the second time around Aug 10, 2017 at 15:55

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