Does all wood darken with age? Cherry, of course, is an example of
such a species. Do other woods behave in the same way? One would
think that most color would fade with exposure to light, and that
cherry is an anomaly.
What time frame are you talking about? I suppose if you wait long
enough the wood would turn into oil, so yes, it would turn black. But
there's plenty of wood lying around this place that isn't continuing
to darken. I have some unfinished pine window trim that has been
sitting in the sun for years and it isn't getting noticeably darker.
If anything it's lightening up some after the initial darkening.
Well, I have unfinished softwood that has browned significantly over the
last ten years or so.
I've paid attention to the effect of time on softwood and hardwood
furniture built in North America in the 1600's - 1800's shown on
And I've seen first hand how wood from 1000 years ago has turned black
as charcoal (without an intermediate oil stage, AFAIK).
That's called "charcoal", Morris... :)
I don't see that at all, though, at least w/o moisture. Cedar, most
pines, cypress, etc., will eventually get a gray outer layer and from
then on are essentially stable as long as don't stay wet.
I'm not thinking on same lines as you; obviously you're not thinking
along same lines as I...
My experience is that light woods darken and dark woods (walnut, mahogany,
etc.) lighten. Teak too lightens. I used to have a sailboat with an
African mahogany trunk cabin and a teak transom. Both became noticeably
lighter within a few months after sanding and varnishing.
Much also depends on what finish if any. I made my wife's desk of heartwood
hickory with sapwood hickory trim. The heartwood was medium, sapwood quite
light. The desk was finished with linseed oil, all parts became a medium
brown within a few months due to the oxidation of the oil.
Also, freshly cut wood color is different from that exposed to air for a
while; e.g, freshly cut walnut generally has a purplish cast, teak a
Every species has it's own characteristics. Pine will yellow and brown
if it is indoors and covered with a varnish of some sort but will Grey
and black if outdorrs and exposed to mositiure. Red oak will usually
lighten, agin unless moisture is present than it will black, etc. etc.
Most of the reference books I've read agree. The only question is the
I particularly remember a book on turning that emphasized form because no
matter how pretty the wood, it'll all be black eventually. And yes,
eventually was in the 100s of years.
Of course, one could always use paint and bury the stuff in a desert
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw
Thank you all for your responses. The wood in question is curly maple
finished with rock hard table top varnish. Sounds like the answer is
We have a Maple wood floor in our master bathroom . A mat sets on top of it
in one spot near a window. The wood has darkened from direct sunlight.
Under the mat it is a lighter shade.
I turned a bird house out of an oily wood - name escapes me now -
and my beloved put it on a shelf (not for birds) that caught an hour
or so a day. It bleached and dried out and needed oiling to help it.
Might have been Cocobolo - but I can't recall - been 10-12 years ago.
[ wood used for bearings ? ] Hum
Walnut will lighten? Does that work the same way as cherry darkens? Make
sure it gets sun exposure and leave it there to lighten up.
I have a walnut bowl that seems a bit dark and if all I have to do is
put it by a southern exposed window, I'd like to see how light it gets.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.