Preserving the color in padauk

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Forum topic by Purrmaster posted 11-22-2014 08:19 AM 2059 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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915 posts in 2292 days

11-22-2014 08:19 AM

Greetings and salutations.

I got my first piece of padauk the other day. I’ve never worked with it before but I love the bright orangeish color of it.

From what I’ve read the color tends to fade out of the stuff pretty quickly. I’m curious if anyone knows how to prevent or at least slow down the color change?

Does the lessening of color in padauk happen because due to explore to air (oxygen) or exposure to sunlight (UV light)? Do I need to seal it off from the air or load it up with UV blocking?


10 replies so far

View becikeja's profile


947 posts in 3013 days

#1 posted 11-22-2014 12:29 PM

Great question, you really have to plan on what it what will look like in 6 months. The bright orange disappears fast. I tried using a an outdoor urethane that has “UV” inhibiters. No luck, it still turned fast. Good news is that Paduak really looks good after it ages.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

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915 posts in 2292 days

#2 posted 11-22-2014 10:10 PM

May I ask what outdoor finish you used?

View bobro's profile


320 posts in 1510 days

#3 posted 11-22-2014 10:58 PM

My experience with padouk is that it turns very dark, almost black, after many years. It’s a good question as to whether this is oxidization or UV- if I had to guess, I’d say oxidization, because even say an electric guitar which is pretty much always either in its case or in artificial light changes color.

Like many tropical woods, one commercial name is used for similar woods which might come from different related trees, or even unrelated trees. So it’s no surprise if you get varied or downright conflicting reports on the wood.

-- Lao Ma: You are so full of anger and hatred. Xena: Everybody's gotta be full of something.

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915 posts in 2292 days

#4 posted 11-23-2014 07:50 PM

One idea I had was to use a marine/boat varnish. They are supposed to have more UV blockers. But if oxidation is the culprit that may not help. If it’s oxidation I guess I’d need to seal it off from the air as much as possible. In which case almost any film finish would do the trick…. but your insight about the guitars make me think that may not be possible.

Thanks for letting me know about that, by the way.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5124 posts in 4160 days

#5 posted 11-23-2014 07:54 PM

In a short phrase—-Ain’t gonna happen. :)
I have some tool grips made from padauk, and they have turned a rich deep maroon over the years. I love the final color, but the original “orange” turned pretty quickly.
BTW, that stuff is a great turning wood, but sanding gets the oily dust all over everything.


View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2292 days

#6 posted 11-26-2014 02:34 AM

I thought I’d report on my quest to use a marine varnish. I picked up a small can of Z-Spar/Petitt Captain’s Varnish.

Once I popped open the can I saw that it’s probably not going to work. The varnish is too dark. It’s not as dark as Waterlox but considerably darker than, say Minwax poly or Deft brushing lacquer. Similar in color to Varathane.

Now please be aware I did look online first to get a color sample and couldn’t find one.

Now this stuff might keep the air and UV light out. But it’s going to dull the orange color just by dint of putting it on.

Now I have to figure out if I want to use it or something else. I don’t think water base has any UV protection.

View JAAune's profile


1853 posts in 2516 days

#7 posted 11-26-2014 03:28 AM

The only thing that might help would be to dye the freshly-cut padauk orange, then apply an orange pigment stain, then topcoat with UV-resistant finish. I use a similar technique to keep walnut looking dark for years but haven’t tried it for keeping woods light.

Sunlight will make cherry darken faster while keeping it in the dark will keep it light. I’d say UV is the probably the culprit for Cherry but I’ve never done the sunlight test with padauk.

-- See my work at and

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2292 days

#8 posted 11-26-2014 09:20 PM

I’m beginning to think air at least plays a part in the color fading. The same piece of wood that was in my shop (no windows, just rather poor fluorescent lighting) darkened in almost a matter of minutes.

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915 posts in 2292 days

#9 posted 11-30-2014 01:02 AM

Update: The water base exterior finish (Varathane) hasn’t preserved the color either. The wood appears to have darkened considerably after I put it on. The finish itself is “water clear” so it’s not the color of the finish that did it. I think perhaps getting the wood wet speeds up the fading process. Who knows.

I think I’m going to have to live with the fact that the wood isn’t going to look like a bright orange traffic cone.

View Woodmaster1's profile


1070 posts in 2786 days

#10 posted 11-30-2014 01:44 AM

The paduak I have finished turn a reddish color right after applying wipe on poly.

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