Michael Dresdner

straight talk about wood finishing

Punky oak

Q: I am making French doors out of red oak. I got to the sanding stage and I noticed pithy type areas, pithy veins. I sanded them but I was wondering if you had run into this and if so how you handled it?
A: Certain types of red oak, including one we used to call bog or swamp oak, is prone to soft, fibrous, spongy areas. If they are bad enough that simply sealing them and sanding is not enough to firm them up, you can treat them the same way you tread spalted or rotted wood by potting the wood with a wood rot treatment. These come in two categories; thin, usually acrylic solutions that get absorbed and harden within the wood, or epoxy based thicker solutions for truly rotted wood. My guess is that the former will be more than adequate. You can find it at most stores, including the home stores (Lowes, Home Depot), at least in my area. Usually it is in with finishing products and adhesives.