Will UV darken cedar much ?

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Forum topic by Tenfingers58 posted 10-13-2012 05:47 AM 2090 views 1 time favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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96 posts in 2673 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

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3104 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.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29222 posts in 2334 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.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2510 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

View oldnovice's profile


6845 posts in 3363 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!"

View Tenfingers58's profile


96 posts in 2673 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


117090 posts in 3573 days

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

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

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2282 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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