Aging Cherry Using Artificial Light? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-04-2010, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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Default Aging Cherry Using Artificial Light?

Has anyone tried using some kind of artificial light to simulate sunlight in aging cherry into its beautiful red color? I haven't experimented with cherry yet because I'm not keen on staining it but Alaska doesn't have very intense sun.. especially in winter!

I tried placing a piece under my wife's fluorescent grow bulbs and didn't see any noticable difference but then it was 8" from the bulbs or so.

I'm wondering if a floodlight, heat light, infrared light, metal halide or incandescent grow-bulb would work, without buying them to test. <g>

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2010, 07:22 AM
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Hey Jim...

Everything I've read or seen pretty much say the same thing. there is no substitute for "natural aging" of cherry. I might have thought that a UV lamp (tanning lamp) might work? However I've not seen or read anything that would support that consideration. I did run across something about the use of chemicals to speed up the oxidation process. The one process that appears to be generally agreed upon is to simply put the finished piece out in the yard and let it tan naturally in the sunlight. 1-3 days seems to be a good time frame to work with.

2 weeks ago, I finally got around to puttin' on the finish to the cherry/walnut dresser I've been working on. Long story short, there is no substitute for natural aging, however with a little work and alot of research one can pretty much mimic any "look" your after via any number of process's.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2010, 10:28 AM
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I came across this article in Finewoodworking magazine
It uses heat to darken the wood
Here is a link to the article

Heat-Treating Makes Wood Dark All the Way Through - Fine Woodworking Article

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2010, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TwoSkies57 View Post
Hey Jim...

Everything I've read or seen pretty much say the same thing. there is no substitute for "natural aging" of cherry. I might have thought that a UV lamp (tanning lamp) might work? However I've not seen or read anything that would support that consideration.
Bill,

While our sun gives a great tan in the summer, come winter our sunlight has nearly zero heat in it... it was a strange thing for this Alaska-born and raised ol' boy to feel the heat in sunlight in January in Denver when I lived there for a few years.

I'm looking for an alternative to putting my wood outside until about April.. <g>

I read the following rather interesting article Popular Woodworking - Adding Age to Cherry about using a tanning bed but wondered if anyone here had tried it.

It may sound ludicrous to some but if a $5 or $10 tanning session will "jump start" bringing out the beauty in cherry naturally I'd choose that over obscuring the grain with a pigment finish or spend hours and $$$ trying to simulate the effect with chemicals and still risking blotching.

I'd never hear of using a tanning bed to tan the cherry. If it works well I thought it might be very useful for professionals needing to finish a commission during rainy or snowy times all over. For those who dry fit, pre-finish and then assemble, tanning could be part of the pre-finish process.

My perception here may be skewed though, as tanning parlors probably aren't as prevalent in Tucson as they are in Anchorage. <g>

I'm just hoping someone here has already tried it!!

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2010, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RMilgie View Post
I came across this article in Finewoodworking magazine
It uses heat to darken the wood
Here is a link to the article

Heat-Treating Makes Wood Dark All the Way Through - Fine Woodworking Article
Interesting article, Rob... with the oven at 350*F - 415*F, you could darken your wood over dinner!! As a do-it-yourself you'd be limited on size but for the many (not I) for which mail-ordering wood is a cost-effective option, buying it pretreated nay be just the ticket!

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2010, 02:17 PM
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Try potassium dichromate. Supposedly it works great on cherry as well as Mahogany I have heard that it works extremely well to get the desired patina.
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It's really the short wave uv that darkens not only Cherry but all woods. A non filtered florescent would do the job very quickly and they aren't all that pricey, but extreme care must be used when working with unfiltered flo lights as the only thing coming out of them is short wave ultraviolet light which you can't see and thirty seconds of staring at the tube to see if it's working is that same as staring at a welding arc for five minutes.

As for the potassium dichromate or bichromate for that matter even if you could get it at some ceramics supply house and I'm NOT saying that you should, it will age the wood and it WILL kill you quicker than you can fall down if your not EXTREMELY careful. Then
try and get rid of whats left at your local dump site,lots a luck with that. In short it's nutz to put this stuff on anything that you plan on ever touching again. We used to use Potassium dichormate in the lab I used to work in and I can tell you that it's scary stuff. It's a heavy metal salt and I would really stay away from it.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2010, 06:08 PM
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HI

Danger,Danger,Danger,,, Will Robson

It is potentially harmful to health and must be handled and disposed of appropriately.
It is a crystalline ionic solid with a very bright, red-orange color.


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Try potassium dichromate. Supposedly it works great on cherry as well as Mahogany I have heard that it works extremely well to get the desired patina.



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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2010, 06:15 PM
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Jim..

Should you in fact decide upon taking the "tanning bed" route. Please, ohhh please take along a hidden camera. I'd just love to hear that conversation!!! *LOL* I can picture a big guy like you, walking in with an arm full of 4/4 x 8's, and the girl behind the desk asks "can I help you". Well probably not you'd replay, but my wood is looking a little pale.............. A nice sized piece of crotch wood with a speedo might lend some legitimacy to your request....

All kidding aside.. here is the schedule I used on the dresser and I must say I ended up with excellent results...

Frame (cherry) and side panels (curly cherry veneers) sand down to 400 then:
Zinzer Bullseye "wax free" shellac: one hand rubbed application. Applied liberally with a cotton rag and then 'buffed' it out with clean cotton rags. I used this as a seal coat but was totally surprised with how nicely it brought out the grain on its own.
2nd and 3rd coats were minwax Gel Stain: Cherrywood 607. Both applications were done with a balled up cotton t shirt, Lightly applied, let to dry then quickly buffed down.
4th coat was on panels only: Minwax Gel Stain: Mahogany 605. lightly applies as before then buffed down with cotton rags.
5th thru 8th topcoats were minwax wipe on satin poly. I really hated to use a poly on this piece, but given its intended use, it was the best choice. A lacquer would have been the ticket!!! (one of these days,i'm gonna sell off my golf club making equipment and invest in a good HVLP rig)

I ended up with a rich reddish brown look. Based on what I learned, achieving a more reddish hue would simply be a matter of the right combination of glazes. I experiment with well over a dozen finishes or combination of finshing techniques and found this to be the best. Absolutely NO blotching!! which was my biggest concern, especially on the side panels. I lost none of the reflective qualities of the curly cherry whatsoever.. (Dan,,, if you happen to read this, maple has the same tendencies to blotch) and given time, the wood will continue to darken naturally...

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2010, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swallow View Post
It's really the short wave uv that darkens not only Cherry but all woods. A non filtered florescent would do the job very quickly and they aren't all that pricey, but extreme care must be used when working with unfiltered flo lights as the only thing coming out of them is short wave ultraviolet light which you can't see and thirty seconds of staring at the tube to see if it's working is that same as staring at a welding arc for five minutes.

As for the potassium dichromate or bichromate for that matter even if you could get it at some ceramics supply house and I'm NOT saying that you should, it will age the wood and it WILL kill you quicker than you can fall down if your not EXTREMELY careful. Then
try and get rid of whats left at your local dump site,lots a luck with that. In short it's nutz to put this stuff on anything that you plan on ever touching again. We used to use Potassium dichormate in the lab I used to work in and I can tell you that it's scary stuff. It's a heavy metal salt and I would really stay away from it.
Outstanding bit of information Swallow... I didn't realize just how wicked that stuff could be.

thanks for the heads up...definitely something to research before attempting to try.

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