Sticker stain solutions

A look at potential causes and solutions for sticker stain. July 11, 2000

I recently put up some red oak to dry and I notice I`m getting some stains. Can someone tell me the reason it`s doing this and what to do about it.

How deep will the stain go? Will it plane out? Thanks for any help, I didn't realize there is so much involved in properly drying wood.

How did you notice the stains? It is hard to identify the stains on the Internet -- looking at them firsthand is the best way. They can go quite deep. Most stains are a result of drying too slowly.
Gene Wengert, forum moderator

From the original questioner:
I used some of the scraps for stickers. Would this be from those bleeding out? I noticed it when I took the pile apart to see how it was doing. Maybe the stickers themselves were too wet?

It certainly could be the result of using wet scrap pieces for stickers.

Thank you Gene, I certainly have a lot to learn, but it really is a fun thing to do!

It might be a good idea to unpile the stack and restack with dry stickers. When I use old stickers that are not perfectly clean, I soak them in diluted bleach, then re-dry them.

Sticker stains are caused by fungus. Using the same species which might have the same fungus, especially old stickers, is not recommended.

It is recommended to use stickers of a different species, which will not support the same fungus as that which will stain your lumber. Also, keep your stickers as narrow as possible. Using the short boards for stickers is a sure way of getting sticker stains. Many kiln operators now use profile stickers which are hollowed out in the middle and only make contact with the outer edges.

Exploding that myth, Gene replies:
Sticker stain is NOT caused by a fungus. It is the result of chemical enzymatic oxidation within the wood.

Stickers do NOT become infected with sticker stain and transfer it to another load. Even if it were fungus-caused, 130 degrees F in the kiln kills all fungi, so the wood and stickers are sterilized.