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Color changing wood

Tall clock with 2 different colors
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For years, this Mission-style
tall clock endured the full brunt of
direct exposure to sunlight, draining
the fade-prone dye finish of its
color and bleaching the white oak.
A pigmented stain would have held
its color better.

That purpleheart plank that was the perfect shade of violet when you bought it suddenly displayed a dull gray cast after machining. But a few days after you set the nondescript board in the corner, the violet came back, more vibrant than before. Now several years after you used the board to make a jewelry box, you find the purple has faded to a drab brown. What happened?!?

Opinions vary on the exact reason some wood species change. But most experts agree that two main culprits speed color transformation: oxidation (exposure to air) and UV (ultraviolet light) exposure. The purpleheart plank encountered both. Over months and years, an exposed project will darken, lighten, or change colors, depending on the wood.

But you didn't get into woodworking so you could vacuum-seal your projects in a dark closet. Here's how you can slow, prepare for, or even use those color changes to your advantage.


Continued on page 2:  Slow and reverse color changes

 

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