Preventing Sticker Stain

Stickers should be kiln-dry, and quickly pre-drying boards on end can help. August 31, 2005

Does anyone out there know if cherry or red oak will develop sticker stain from using 3/4" stickers sawn from the same logs as the lumber? We plan on air-drying through the summer and then kiln-drying during the winter. Any help is appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor C:
Stickers can be made from just about any hardwood, but the stickers should be properly kiln-dried first. There are companies as Breeze-dried that sell kiln-dried profiled stickers that work quite well at reducing sticker stain because they have less surface contact. I use them especially for yellow poplar, but use regular dried stickers for everything else.

From contributor M:
I air dry all my lumber using 3/4" stickers, but I wouldn't use wet fresh sawn ones on anything. Mold will start almost as soon as it's stacked, and will probably go so deep that it can't plane it out.

From contributor G:
You might want to consider using pvc pipe cut in half. It increases air flow because of the groove, and less surface contact. Also it lasts a long time.

From contributor D:
To contributor G: What size pvc do you rip down?

From contributor G:
I used 1 1/2 inch pvc. I made a jig to run it through my tablesaw. That was a board clamped on opposite the fence.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Split pvc is ok for small loads, but for higher loads (with many layers), you will easily get indentation. In general, pvc pipe is not suggested, except for a few special cases.

From contributor T:
The original questioner said, "We plan on air drying through the summer and then kiln drying during the winter." I think that is backwards. I would suggest kiln-drying in the summer because mould grows fast in the summer heat and humidity. A stack will sticker stain in less than a week in summer.

I have a stand up shed where I stand freshly sawn boards on end that are held in slots at the top for the purpose of pre-drying the lumber before stickering it. I never have a problem with sticker staining. I usually leave the wood in the pre-drying shed for about two weeks before stacking. Wood will not warp until the moisture content gets below about 35% unless the wood came from a bad place, and that kind of wood will warp no matter what is done with it.