Darken Cherry With Sunlight

Q:

In your opinion, what is the best way to darken cherry? I’ve heard that I can use a steam iron or leave the wood out in the sun to bring about the change.
—Lance Williams, Mesa, Ariz.

A:

Even in indirect light, Lance, cherry will darken over time. But if you want to speed things up, place your project in direct sunlight for several days, where it won’t be exposed to harsh weather. Be sure to turn your project regularly so it gets even exposure. Keep a scrap of the cherry unexposed to the sunlight as a point of comparison. The photo above shows a board that was partially covered by an overlapping board for several weeks. After several days, you should see noticeable darkening. This darkening will continue even after the project is brought inside, with the most change occurring within the first two years.

If you need still faster results, then it’s time to turn to stains or dyes.

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