darkening cherry

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Forum topic by mporter posted 08-02-2013 07:57 PM 1342 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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253 posts in 2605 days

08-02-2013 07:57 PM

I have just recently made a project that involved laminating alternating cherry and maple strips. The cherry was recently cut and dried so it is very light in color. The maple that I used was not pure white, the color had more brown in it. After the glue up I realized they both look like the exact same wood! Whoops! I know that in 7-8 years the cherry will become much darker than the maple. Is there a way to speed the process? Fuming? Leaving it out in the sun? Stain or dye is not an option because it would be impossible to just stain the cherry or the maple. Please help me out of this embarrassing situation!

18 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


5706 posts in 2840 days

#1 posted 08-02-2013 07:59 PM

Sun exposure over a few days time will darken cherry significantly. Just make sure to give it even exposure.

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

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3675 days

#2 posted 08-02-2013 08:02 PM

sun exposure. and the cherry will darken much faster than 7-8 years… much much faster

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View mporter's profile


253 posts in 2605 days

#3 posted 08-02-2013 08:43 PM

Thanks guys, what effect will the sun have on the maple?

View richardwootton's profile


1699 posts in 1982 days

#4 posted 08-02-2013 08:50 PM

It will darken the Maple as well but probably not as drastically as the Cherry.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View bondogaposis's profile


4767 posts in 2378 days

#5 posted 08-02-2013 09:18 PM

Patience, patience.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View ChuckC's profile


828 posts in 2962 days

#6 posted 08-02-2013 09:32 PM

+1 on sun and an oil finish.

View GT350's profile


368 posts in 2008 days

#7 posted 08-03-2013 01:37 AM

I agree with the sun and oil finish. On the last piece I finished this spring, and the first out of cherry, the maple drawer boxes and the cherry were very close in color. When I put the oil based polyurethane on it the cherry darkened but not the maple. You may be able to really see the difference when you finish it.

View Tkf's profile


38 posts in 1954 days

#8 posted 08-03-2013 12:05 PM

You can age the wood chemically.

View mporter's profile


253 posts in 2605 days

#9 posted 08-03-2013 12:12 PM

how could I age the wood chemically? What method and chemicals?

View paxorion's profile


1107 posts in 2072 days

#10 posted 08-05-2013 02:36 AM

I echo previous comments to let the sun do it’s work on the cherry.
I recently finished a pizza peel using cherry and hard maple. I left the peel in the sun for a little over a week while I was finishing it with mineral oil. The final outcome was a rich red cherry color.

-- paxorion

View Tony Strupulis's profile

Tony Strupulis

260 posts in 3150 days

#11 posted 08-05-2013 02:40 AM

Sun. If you are impatient and the project is small, take it to the tanning booth.

-- Tony -

View Sirgreggins's profile


299 posts in 2262 days

#12 posted 08-11-2013 08:44 PM

Lye will darken cherry chemically, but its a nasty chemical. +1 for sun and/or patience

View Fuzzy's profile


298 posts in 4015 days

#13 posted 08-12-2013 01:01 AM

I would normally recommend the use of Lye … BUT … it can often times run, and the runoff would definitely affect the maple … NOT a good idea in this instance. The Lye really does do a super job of accelerating the aging of Cherry, though.

-- - dabbling in sarcasm is foolish … if you’re not proficient at it, you end up looking stupid … ... ...

View mporter's profile


253 posts in 2605 days

#14 posted 08-12-2013 01:03 AM

So say I have a piece that is just cherry. Lye works well at darkening it? What concentration of lye?

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2313 days

#15 posted 08-12-2013 02:00 AM

A couple of things are important that nobody knows yet. A picture of the project would be helpful and knowing your plan for finishing the project is also crucial.
Depending on what finish you use, you problem could be mute. Cherry will soak up poly a lot more than maple will which will darken it significantly without going to any extra lengths. Experiment with a scrap piece and you’ll see what I mean. I’d try that before doing anything to the cherry.

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

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