Streaks on #2 common red oak

Q: About 3 months ago I had a #2 common red oak floor sanded, stained with natural (same color that was originally used) and refinished with 3 coats of Swedish finish. Now there are many uneven dark (nearly black) lines that are unattractive. It may be my imagination but it appears to be getting more dark streaks every day.

Was something improperly done with the staining or refinishing of the floor?

A: #2 common? No doubt that wood is full of dark “mineral streaks” and knots. All normal and part of the grade of flooring you have.

Tiger stripes on red oak

Semi-related Q: I have just completed sanding a red oak strip floor. I used a rental 3 head orbital. The floor in one of the rooms, sanded but unfinished, is “tiger striped”. It appears that a previously done finishing job had used a drum sander and did not get the floor completely even. This is a rental property and I do not want to rent a drum sander to repair that. How can I finish it so that the marks are minimalized?

A: Those “tiger stripes” are had for a premium, indicating quarter sawn lumber.  If there is some unevenness in isolated areas which concern you, you could opt to use a random orbit sander on those spots. It is much more focused than larger disks or paper from a drum/belt sander.

Follow-up: Thanks, I am a woodworking hobbyist and wish that it was tiger maple, it’s not, it is skip marks by a drum sander, I will try a small patch with a stain, but don’t have high hopes.  If it doesn’t work, I will paint it, since it’s a rental.

A: Oh, that sounds like “chatter”.  Not easy to get rid of but not as bad as “the wave”.  It might help if you water pop the wood first. It will make the colour a bit darker but also helps to make the stain colour even.

Follow-up: Thanks, I will give that a try, just about to head over to the apartment to final sand some small spots with my hand orbital.  The flooring is okay, but nothing to celebrate, just some standard issue red oak strip and not in the greatest but satisfactory condition.  I did fill the floor as well and saw that there are quite a few low spots that are flat but have filler exposed.  I can readily see that I really needed to drum sand it but hate dealing with that devil, the edge sander, so I used the 3 headed orbital.  If I have to paint it, it will be acceptable to me, it is one bedroom out of 3, the living room and other bedrooms are fine and will get polyurethane.