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Ways to get rid of water stain in log cabin

Q. The interior sides of the machine-cut solid western cedar logs in our cabin have developed unsightly dark vertical streaks because of melting ice which is backing up from the eaves. Rubbing with alcohol and even light sanding have been ineffective. Can you suggest something better? Peter Baxter Phelps, Wis.

A. You may have to learn to live with the streaks or be prepared for an incredibly tough task in trying to remove them.

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Likely the streaks are caused by the tannin inside the cedar logs. Tannin is moisture soluble and is usually drawn to the surface of certain types of wood when confronted with moisture.

You can bleach out the streaks with a commercial wood bleach which is available from most paint and hardware stores. But remember, this is a hard job and it may be more than you want to tackle.

If painting instead of bleaching is desired, apply one or more coats of an oil-based primer or appropriate stain-killing primer.Follow with a finish coat in the color of your choice. Admittedly, an opaque paint will destroy some of the pioneer feel of the cedar log cabin. It is only a trade-off against the much more difficult bleaching process.

You'll have to make up your own mind as to which route to follow.

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