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Will lighter cherry "catch up" with darker in a panel?

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Forum topic by ADHDan posted 03-27-2014 05:26 PM 828 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ADHDan

800 posts in 1569 days


03-27-2014 05:26 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I’m making an entry bench out of cherry and walnut. As you can see in the cherry benchtop, two of the boards were exposed to sunlight more and are darker than the third board (the difference isn’t dramatic in the photo, but in reality the contrast is pretty high).

After putting BLO on the whole thing I realized that I didn’t like the contrast so I ripped off the lighter board. I then found a darker board that matched the color of the benchtop boards pretty well, but of course when I jointed and planed it to thickness I was right back where I started – it took off the darker coloration. So I left that board in the sunlight for a day and it darkened to “almost close enough.” I glued it to the benchtop panel, which now consists of two dark boards with BLO and one medium-dark board with no BLO. I have two questions:

(1) If I leave the benchtop in sunlight will the lighter board catch up with the darker boards? My understanding is that cherry darkens rapidly at first but then slows down, so hopefully it will even out in a few days or a week – yes?

(2) Should I wait to put BLO on the new board until after it darkens or put BLO now?

Alternatively, (3) should I just sand the entire panel (all boards) to square one and leave them in the sun to age together? I really would rather not do this unless absolutely necessary.
Thanks!

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.


8 replies so far

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pintodeluxe

4853 posts in 2274 days


#1 posted 03-27-2014 05:29 PM

It will darken significantly, and unless there is sapwood it will look more uniform in a year. You can finish it now, it won’t affect the aging process.

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

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ADHDan

800 posts in 1569 days


#2 posted 03-27-2014 05:32 PM

That is the answer I was hoping to hear. Thanks very much.

There is a narrow strip of sapwood on part of the outside edge of the new board I added. I could rip it off and leave the panel a little narrower, or glue another strip without sapwood. I assume there is no way to dye/stain sapwood to match heartwood, meaning those are my options – yes?

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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pintodeluxe

4853 posts in 2274 days


#3 posted 03-27-2014 05:34 PM

That’s about the size of it. Either eliminate the sapwood as you build it, or accept the inherent color variations in cherry. It is really just a personal choice, and decisions like these are what makes building and design work so much fun.

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

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ADHDan

800 posts in 1569 days


#4 posted 03-27-2014 05:37 PM

Roger that. Thanks for the fast replies. I’ll rip off the sapwood and glue a matching replacement strip.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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a1Jim

115202 posts in 3038 days


#5 posted 03-27-2014 05:41 PM

Yes there are a ways to have it come closer to matching one way is to use a dye that you thin down ,dye both pieces but put more coats on the lighter piece.Dye gets darker with each application unlike stains. Another way is to treat both pieces with Potassium dichromate it creates a kind of instant aging to cherry. Lastly you can use sunlight to darken cherry you just have to becareful to rotate anything you leave in the sun so it darkens evenly.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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ADHDan

800 posts in 1569 days


#6 posted 03-27-2014 07:12 PM

Jim – the lighter board is glued in a panel with the darker boards, so I was wondering: can I just leave the entire panel in the sun until the lighter board catches up? If the lighter board darkens at a slower rate than the darker boards, then it should catch up with them over a few months or a year, right?

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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a1Jim

115202 posts in 3038 days


#7 posted 03-27-2014 07:23 PM

Dan
if you are going to use the sun just cove the darker board to start with and keep an eye on the uncovered board to make sure it’s not getting darker than thre covered board, once you feel the the lighter board has caught up with the covered board color wise then uncover the other board if you want them both darker. Yes in time they will both darken,it will depend on were it’s keep and how much sunlight it gets.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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TheWoodenOyster

1275 posts in 1396 days


#8 posted 03-27-2014 09:19 PM

Glad this popped up. I am doing a cherry dining table and was wondering about the “catching up” issues as well. Left a few boards on my tabletop in the sun (idiot). Sanded it out to where the normal human won’t see it, but I still do. Sounds like it’ll all fade together here in a few months or a year.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

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