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Exposing cherry to UV light?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Jisch, Feb 18, 2016.

  1. I have cherry in my recent build. It's nice wood to work, very hard, but it's not so hard that it's impossible to form. It's pretty much pink in color, but I've read that if you expose it to UV light it turns brown. A friend of mine said it turns back if it stays out of the sunlight, I don't think that's true based on what I've read, but curious if anyone has experience? I would rather that it was brown, so I'll be exposing it to UV once I get it all put together. I presume that if I expose it and then sand it, it will go back to pink. I guess I'm looking for any experience with exposing wood to UV expressly to change its color.
  2. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    No experience with cherry, but most non-oiley woods with red in them seem to be affected by UV.

    If you're using a clearcoat that's not UV resistant it'll gradually keep getting darker, to its limit, as well as the clearcoat may yellow over time, besides.

    I've got some seagrape (it's pink, that gets very dark red) that's like some mahogany that starts lighter, then can get pretty dark w/o UV protection.

    I've never seen a UV darkened wood get lighter after being taken from UV exposure w/o sanding some of the darkened surface back.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2016
    Jisch likes this.
  3. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    No, the wood will not turn back. It will photodegrade naturally with sunlight. It depends a little on the board but in general it will turn a caramel color. Just watch out for tan lines.
  4. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Yeah, it's permanent. Had a client who left cherry cabinets unfinished in a sunny room, darkened the ones exposed. I saw a box maker at a craft show who makes cherry boxes, leaves them out in the sun with various stencils, twigs, leaves, etc superimposed. Leaves a lighter colored "shadow" of the stencil, then he finishes in UV resist varnish to make it permanent. It's hard to get it to take chemical stain evenly in my experience.

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