BrandonD

Cherry darkening with sunlight

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I'm working with cherry for the first time on my largest project -- queen size Murphy bed with a couple bookcases. I cut out most of the (cherry veneered) plywood parts and had them stacked in the shop for a couple weeks. As you can see some of the parts darkened from UV where they weren't covered by another. How do I address this? If I put all the parts outside will it even out or will it all just get darker at the same rate?

I am going to be applying several coats of Arm-R-Seal. Will the cherry continue to darken even after it's finished? I hope so... I like it darker, just not unevenly...

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Even unshaded sun is best. I had a tree shadow mess up a panel I was sunning in the parking lot, spun it around and evened it out. When I have a stack of cherry parts I keep a packing blanket or a sheet of brown paper over them to keep out the light.

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If you want the really dark look of old cherry, you can treat the raw wood with a weak solution of lye and water. It darkens almost instantly.

Test on scraps first, to see if you like it.

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I've been using Potassium Dicromate to darken Cherry and Magogany for more than 20 years.  It comes in a powered form you mix with water.  Wear a good mask and gloves it's toxic while wet. It reliably and unaformly ages the wood.  I'll often use 4-5 coats of  Liberon Furniture oil for the top coat.  The combination created a nice luster and pops any figure you may have

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On 11/26/2018 at 4:42 AM, estesbubba said:

 

Indoor LED grow lights are great for darkening Cherry and mahogany. Left under for 12 hours does a Great deal.

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Lives in California, has grow lights..... I can see it now

" I need some of those LED grow lights to darken my cherry furniture that I m building ". Right, Sure whatever you say buddy.

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All of the above info is good.  I’ll add that another way to get a darker color faster, and add some depth and richness and durability along the way, apply boiled linseed oil.  Let the wood soak up as much as it can, not unlike how you’d treat a cutting board. Wipe away the excess, then forget your project exists for two weeks to let the linseed oil cure.  Topcoat it with an oil-based finish like wipe-on polyurethane.  In my experience, the first top coat of poly will dry very slowly, but subsequent coats will behave normally.  

 

A year and a half ago I was discussing this issue with a former board member (Eric) who didn’t believe me, so I posted this demo on YouTube:

The small pale board has wipe on poly without any BLO.  The rest is BLO with poly on top.

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Flexner ("Understanding Wood Finishing, p86) also suggests this method.  I use BOL on all my wooden tool handles and on steak knives (without the top poly); it certainly darkens that wood.

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On 11/30/2018 at 8:46 AM, wdwerker said:

Lives in California, has grow lights..... I can see it now

" I need some of those LED grow lights to darken my cherry furniture that I m building ". Right, Sure whatever you say buddy.

It all legal now, no need to come up with weenie excuses like I need grow lights for "fine woodworking" :D

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On 11/30/2018 at 8:46 AM, wdwerker said:

Lives in California, has grow lights..... I can see it now

" I need some of those LED grow lights to darken my cherry furniture that I m building ". Right, Sure whatever you say buddy.

Well they are already on for 12 and 18 hours a day anyway. Why not utilize them.

I can set up up Steve. My wood darkening rooms are super energy efficient. 

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