Evening out tones in walnut

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Forum topic by AaronK posted 06-10-2009 03:25 PM 1176 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1506 posts in 3426 days

06-10-2009 03:25 PM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut

In the middle of building my walnut lamp, I have a couple pieces that have got patches (on the order of a few inches long) of extremely light walnut. not as light as maple, but maybe about the tone of cherry (ish). Although I’m all for natural variation, i was thinking that it might be best to try to even out the tone (darken it) to match the rest of the stock since some of the light parts fall on joint edges.

I dont really know too much about dyeing wood, and since its only a small bit it wont be worth a whole load of effort, but is there an easy or simple way to darken up patches so that they are a little bit more even with the rest of the piece? would something like a brown sharpie dissolved in alcohol be an absolutely horrible nasty thing to do?

thanks for advice all!


8 replies so far

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3901 days

#1 posted 06-10-2009 04:57 PM

I’ve been known to dab on a little walnut stain and wipe it off pretty quickly, leaving just a bit of stain. I’ll do this until I’m satisfied with the blended color. For small patches, it seems to work for me.

-- Working at Woodworking

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3487 days

#2 posted 06-10-2009 05:14 PM

Your best bet is to use a dye like transtint, not stain to get the sapwood to match the heartwood.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View AaronK's profile


1506 posts in 3426 days

#3 posted 06-11-2009 12:49 AM

hmm. i’ll try out the stain first on scrap, since i do have some of that handy. it wont need much, so i’ll give it a shot. thanks guys.

View WibblyPig's profile


172 posts in 3236 days

#4 posted 06-11-2009 07:39 PM

Keep in mind that walnut lightens as it ages so if you dye it, your light spot may turn into a dark spot. Maybe try fuming it (or a scrap with the same coloration) to see if it evens out. If the color does even out, put it in the sun for a week or two and see what happens to the color.

-- Steve, Webster Groves, MO "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4898 posts in 3922 days

#5 posted 06-13-2009 10:44 PM

Steaming will even the color but will reduce the character of the wood. I let the wood speak for itself. As WibblyPig posted, gradual lightening is the nature of walnut.


View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3547 days

#6 posted 06-13-2009 11:32 PM

it sounds to me as though it might be quite nice as is could you post a few pics please?Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View AaronK's profile


1506 posts in 3426 days

#7 posted 06-14-2009 02:58 AM

probably shouldve done this right off. anyway, here are pics.

without flash

with flash:

The leftmost piece is a regular more uniform sample for reference. the lower part of the two long are lighter by several shades from the rest.

View a1Jim's profile


117060 posts in 3539 days

#8 posted 06-14-2009 03:57 AM

I think I would go with some thinned down walnut color dye and sneek up on it’

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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