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Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks/Black streaks and marks on oak steps


Mr. Swallow;  i have tile steps and on the front of each step is a piece of oak.  Over time, the oak pieces have developed  black streaks and marks from the heavy use.  How do I remove those black streaks?  Do I strip it down before I do anything with it?  Is there any way of preventing it in the future?  Thank you.  I appreciate your advice.   Joe

The only thing I could think of recommending is to use an orbital sander, knocked the finish off of the nose of your treads, then apply wood bleach.  Savogran Wood Bleach is one that you can find at any True Value Hardware store.  As advertised:  "Use with hot water to bleach unfinished or stripped wood quickly and easily. Use on all unfinished woodwork, floors, doors and etc. to lighten wood or match different wood colors. Use to remove black water spots and tannin stains in wood floors."  I've used it when water got into oak and stained it, causing it to turn black.  The wood bleach usually saved a handrail or two in my time.  It should work on your treads.  Once you've bleached your tread nosing you can then re-stain and use a good poly varnish to seal them and make them more durable.

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Joseph G. Swallow


I can answer all staircase balustrade questions where handrails, newels posts, balusters (wood and metal), and stair treads are concerned. I cannot help with cabinetry and floor (outside of stair-related treads and risers), as well as stain and finish issues unless staircase related.


30 years in the stair industry. Founder of Hardwood Creations in Southern California and CEO of Westfire Manufacturing, Inc. I was a stair builder for 10 years, both in custom and production housing. Have estimated over 750,000 single family homes and provided materials to lumber yards and builders for 12 years. Was an expert witness in several staircase related law suits in Southern California. Stair codes, installation help, stair handrail and balustrade installation are what I know best.

NAHB of Portland, OR. Was a member of ICBO for 9 years.

Cal State Fullerton, Cypress College

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