Handprints and footprints in stain

Q: This isn’t so much a flooring question, but you clearly have a history with wood, stains, etc. The owner of a building in my area is doing renovations. The old wood beams (I believe to be pine or cedar) have handprints forming on them. They have not yet been worked on or restored.

Can this be caused by humidity/water causing skin oils from 40 years ago to come out? The stains are a dark red color compared to the original orange stain.

A: Anything that finds its way onto exposed wood before it is stained can affect how the stain is absorbed into those spots.  I had once prepared an oak floor for staining.  It was all ready.  We took a brake.  Little did I know that the little girl of the house ran across the wood floor with her wet feet which popped open the grain with every step.  When I applied the stain there were her little footprints, as clear as day appearing darker than the rest of the stained floor.

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