Differences in cherry color


I bought some curly cherry at a lumberyard about 3 hours away.
After planing I find one piece is significantly lighter. I am pretty sure it is heartwood like the rest; it is just lighter. I don't have enough wood to not use it, and sure don't like the idea of a full days trip to pick up one more piece. (sure, I should have bought a surplus, but the stuff is expensive!)
Should I expect it to get closer to the rest over time, or will it remain lighter. I could put a light stain on it (I have done that with walnut sapwood) but don't want to if it will blend naturally.
Thanks.
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When fresh cut, Cherry has a white sapwood that turns almost as dark as the heartwood as air & light get to it, so probably it will mellow. The heart & knots are darker & will stay that way, but the difference isn't nearly as severe. Usually it turns during the drying process, but it is very light sensitive. If you can wait a week, I'd put the board in a sunny place & see if it doesn't change some more. - Jim
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Well.... the sapwood is indeed white, or nearly so, when it's fresh, and it *does* darken over time. But to say that it becomes "almost as dark as the heartwood" is a bit of an exaggeration. I have a cherry bookcase built almost 18 years ago on which the sapwood on the sides is still clearly visible.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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Doug Miller notes:

the heartwood" is a bit of an exaggeration. I have a cherry bookcase built almost 18 years ago on which the sapwood on the sides is still clearly visible.<<
Yes. And I discovered not too long ago that cherry from different areas is a different color. Recently, I gave a friend some 10/4 cherry to use as feet on quilt racks. He built most of the rest out of 4/4 Pennsylvania cherry. The Pennsy cherry was substantially darker than our Virginia cherry. Both woods were freshly machined. Something to do with soil content, I guess.
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Depends on whether you've done your once-in-a-lifetime set of ball and claw. Made mine from Marlowe's book about 25 years ago, have never even wanted to go back.
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You've hit it right on the head.
I've got a set from a c. 1780 Philadelphia Highboy that I want to copy - but I'm pretty sure it's wrong for my situation.
Kinda like wearing Florsheims below denim cutoffs.
(watson - who's wondering if his wife would tolerate a ball and claw foot cutting board in the kitchen - nah, prolly not.)
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On Tue, 29 Mar 2005 12:40:20 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

I do not use a lot of Cherry ...mostly because of the coloration changes...
Sunlight will darken the wood over time... BUT as the above poster mentioned wood that is not expossed to sunlight will take forever to naturally darken...
Bob Griffiths
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I'm talking about the *outside* of the bookcase, where it *is* exposed to sunlight - the sapwood is still noticeably lighter than the heartwood. It does get darker, yes, but it will never get quite as dark as the heartwood.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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the sun for a while. Good Luck.
Mike
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I've found that in freshly planed cherry, the sapwood is sometimes hard to tell from the heartwood. They're both pretty light in color - particularly in kiln dried lumber. I've built pieces that I thought were all heart only to see the aging process expose the sapwood. The sapwood will NOT darken anywhere near the color the heartwood will over time - in my experience the aging proces of cherry just makes the sapwood more noticeable. If you're not sure you have sapwood in a piece, expose it to sun for a few days and you'll see some noticable color differentiations. In flatsawn lumber, the sapwood is sometimes confined to just one face of the board and some careful use of the board may hide it. You can often do some nice things with sapwood by carefully incorporating it into the design of the piece. I've seen some beautiful designs that really highlight the difference between heartwood and sapwood coloration.
My 2 cents - Gary in KC

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toller wrote:

Someone at a wood supplier once mentioned to me that steaming cherry (lightly I presume) will darken the heartwood/sapwood.
I have never tried to to verify the information. If someone has an appropriate piece of cherry and is set up for steaming maybe they can do a quick test and let us know...
--
Will
Occasional Techno-geek
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Hmmm... never heard that about cherry before. Works for walnut, tho.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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