darkening cherry

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Forum topic by mporter posted 385 days ago 746 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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223 posts in 1205 days

385 days ago

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


3322 posts in 1440 days

#1 posted 385 days ago

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

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8476 posts in 2276 days

#2 posted 385 days ago

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


223 posts in 1205 days

#3 posted 385 days ago

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

View richardwootton's profile (online now)


1155 posts in 582 days

#4 posted 385 days ago

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


2480 posts in 978 days

#5 posted 385 days ago

Patience, patience.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View ChuckC's profile


683 posts in 1562 days

#6 posted 385 days ago

+1 on sun and an oil finish.

View GT350's profile


265 posts in 609 days

#7 posted 385 days ago

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


37 posts in 554 days

#8 posted 385 days ago

You can age the wood chemically.

View mporter's profile


223 posts in 1205 days

#9 posted 385 days ago

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

View paxorion's profile


571 posts in 673 days

#10 posted 383 days ago

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

240 posts in 1750 days

#11 posted 383 days ago

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

-- Tony -

View Sirgreggins's profile


292 posts in 863 days

#12 posted 376 days ago

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

View Fuzzy's profile


289 posts in 2615 days

#13 posted 376 days ago

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


223 posts in 1205 days

#14 posted 376 days ago

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

View RussellAP's profile


2944 posts in 914 days

#15 posted 376 days ago

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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