Will UV darken cedar much ?

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Forum topic by Tenfingers58 posted 10-13-2012 05:47 AM 1998 views 1 time favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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96 posts in 2548 days

10-13-2012 05:47 AM

I have some aromatic cedar that my wife wants a dresser top jewlery box made of. It has a nice ratio of dark and light areas, but the wife wants the red “redder” and the cream part to stay the same.

I’m hoping if I put the boards in the sun for a couple/few days it will darken the red enough and leave the “cream” alone.

Once the box is built I can cover it with a UV resistant finish to help lock in the color and tell my wife not to keep it in direct sunlight.

Will this work? I’d stain it but she wants the “cream” part untouched

7 replies so far

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David Craig

2137 posts in 2979 days

#1 posted 10-13-2012 07:52 AM

I have not worked with aromatic cedar much, so did some searching online. It would appear that the color actually fades under sunlight and you would do better to apply UV protection to maintain the current color for as long as possible. If the color is already fading a little planing can bring it back before finishing.

Unfortunately, nature doesn’t always come with custom colors :)

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

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Monte Pittman

27663 posts in 2209 days

#2 posted 10-13-2012 09:42 AM

It will turn gray in in sun light. I use a water based polyurethane for finish and it will turn much darker. Cedar + sunlight is not a good combination.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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2672 posts in 2385 days

#3 posted 10-13-2012 12:32 PM

Take a scrap piece and put on Minwax Natural stain. It will turn the reds a deep, wonderful red, while basically leaving the white alone.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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6474 posts in 3238 days

#4 posted 10-13-2012 06:46 PM

Question, won’t a finish cover the aromatic properties?

I don’t know how different aromatic is from the fence cedar but the beautiful reddish color turns to a less than beautiful dark gray! Water, from my lawn sprinklers, hasten this process.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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96 posts in 2548 days

#5 posted 10-14-2012 02:38 PM

Thank you all for the information.
My wife picked out the wood for “her” box that she dosen’t like the color of. I’m just the woodbutcher here.
I will try the Minwax natural stain with a spray can poly for finish.
The inside of the box will stay unfinished, so she can open it for the “aromatic qualities”. I personally don’t really like the smell but I like being married. She’s a good wife, it’s just hard to understand her choices sometimes.

View a1Jim's profile


116804 posts in 3448 days

#6 posted 10-14-2012 03:22 PM

In general light woods darken and dark woods lighten when exposed to sun light.

-- Custom furniture

View RussellAP's profile


3103 posts in 2157 days

#7 posted 10-14-2012 03:25 PM

UV typically washes color out to grey, not turn it dark. If it’s indoors, it shouldn’t be a problem as long as the moisture is not too high. Building outdoor things from aromatic cedar is a waste of good wood.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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