Adding Tannins To Cherry Sapwood

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Forum topic by captfoss posted 07-29-2013 08:11 PM 1489 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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20 posts in 2394 days

07-29-2013 08:11 PM

My understanding is that cherry wood darkens as it ages because of the tannin content of the heartwood, and that sapwood does not darken because it contains no tannins. Further, to ebonize woods with low/no tannin content, you can add tannins by doing a tea stain / added tanic acid before you do an iron rub…

My question is, if you add tannins to the sapwood of a cherry board, would that cause the sapwood to naturally darken with age? And would it cause it to darken artificially with a chemical darkening process (lye, ammonia fume, potassium dichromate, etc)...

3 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


5783 posts in 2988 days

#1 posted 07-29-2013 08:20 PM

Sounds like a recipe for a finishing disaster to me.
If you don’t want a contrasting look, cut off the sapwood when milling your lumber.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3735 days

#2 posted 07-29-2013 09:32 PM

Naw, I think it is much more complex than a lack of tannin. If tannins were the only difference there would be no color difference between heartwood and sapwood on freshly sawn boards. Willie has is right, saw it off it you don’t like it.

-- Joe

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 2067 days

#3 posted 07-29-2013 09:32 PM

Correct, I agree with your 1st paragraph.

Second paragraph – yes, probably, it may darken a bit more but not by much over the years. Multiple vinegar/steel wool stains will get you there a lot faster – the resulting darker colour tone may not be completely attractive though.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

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