Maintaining color of Padauk

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Forum topic by Hartworks posted 06-28-2014 05:13 AM 2250 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Hartworks's profile


53 posts in 1591 days

06-28-2014 05:13 AM

Topic tags/keywords: paduk uv african mahogany maintain retain keep preserve clear water white sun fade bleach question padauk mahogany finishing modern

Here is my dilemma, I am using African Mahogany with sections and border of Padauk. The project is the rear floor and walls of a 1950 Ford Delivery vehicle. It is an enclosed area, like a tall station wagon, it is being revamped as a show car and I have been commissioned to do the woodwork. The back of the wagon will be open at shows so it will get partial exposure to the sun for several hours at a time.

That being said, the current color of the Padauk is a nice darkish red. The wood will only be receiving clear, possibly just water white, finish. I was thinking maybe Seal a Cell and several coats of Arm R Seal but I really don’t want the Mahogany to have an amber tone, I want it to stay tan and dark streaks of brown. My second thought was maybe simply spraying GF High Performance top coat. But neither of these will give me protection from UV exposure and causing the Paduk to lighten up significantly. I saw a piece of Padauk that was exposed and it lightened a lot.

Hopefully the photo will post, the wood will be sanded unevenly to create an unusual look, this is a sample I am creating for the customer but I want to have the completely finished to get approval for the build. Any help in this area would help. The sample photo is the wood simply wiped with mineral spirits to expose any errors in my sanding.

Thanks for any help.

-- Gary, California

10 replies so far

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2570 days

#1 posted 06-28-2014 06:17 AM

IIRC padauk turns brown with sunlight/time.
Bloodwood would have been a better choice.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Boxguy's profile


2638 posts in 2261 days

#2 posted 06-28-2014 07:35 AM

I don’t think you can keep Paduk from turning a dark brown. It looks nice, but if you want bright red for a long time pick a different wood. You may have to dye maple.

-- Big Al in IN

View bobasaurus's profile


3433 posts in 3177 days

#3 posted 06-28-2014 08:05 AM

Having a UV resistant finish will help. Won’t stop the browning completely, but slows it down. I use thinned Minwax Helmsman for this.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4212 days

#4 posted 06-28-2014 01:56 PM

I would say the key is to use something with as much UV protection as possible. I have a padauk chess table in my office that I made nearly four years ago, and it has not changed color at all because it gets no sunlight.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View bigblockyeti's profile


5111 posts in 1714 days

#5 posted 06-28-2014 03:05 PM

Sealing it completely and keeping it in total darkness is the closest you’d come to keeping the color permanent, but as previously mentioned air and light will lighten it over time.

View Hartworks's profile


53 posts in 1591 days

#6 posted 06-28-2014 05:18 PM

Thanks for the feedback, I understand any material will fade when exposed, but do you think bloodwood would hold its color better than Padauk. I have not bought all the materials for the job as of yet, merely making a mock up of the product to present to the customer. So I could always change the “red” color wood.

-- Gary, California

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2570 days

#7 posted 06-28-2014 06:04 PM

Bloodwood will turn a deeper, darker red over (a very long) time.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View sras's profile


4795 posts in 3123 days

#8 posted 06-28-2014 07:06 PM

It’s expensive, but a 2 part linear polyurethane has very high UV resistance. Several marine varnishes are very good.

Since this is on the inside of a car, it may not get that much exposure to UV. A good finish should help a lot.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Dabcan's profile


255 posts in 2665 days

#9 posted 06-28-2014 11:30 PM

I used some padauk on a cutting board and left a scrap (unfinished) in my shop window. Two weeks later I looked at it and the sunny side is dark brown, inside is still mostly red/orange, so it can happen very quickly.

-- @craftcollectif ,,

View EndGrained's profile


24 posts in 1219 days

#10 posted 03-01-2015 04:46 PM


I’ve been reading about how UV light affects padauk making it darker with exposure. So far it has been suggested to use agents that offer some UV light protection along with their intended use; i.e. spar varnish.

So, just wondering, has anybody ever tried to use human sunscreen oil which we apply to avoid sunburns? Again, just wondering!!

-- George, New Brunswick "Storms Never Last"

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