Color Changes from Exotic Woods: Info from a Lumber Yard in Houston

One of the main appeals of exotic woods is that they tend to have unique colors we cannot find in more common woods such as ash, pine, aspen or maple. Many woodworkers are drawn to these types of woods in hopes of creating colorful projects that will last for years to come. However, it is important for woodworkers to understand that these colors can slowly fade to browns and grays over time, even if they initially look fantastic.

The reality is this: every piece of wood has a brighter color when it has been freshly cut, and a color that it “settles” to over time. Most woods get darker over time until they reach this “settled-in” color. Since many woodworkers only see this initial color of the wood, it can be difficult to anticipate what that settled-in color will be.

Dealing with the inevitable color changes

Now that you are aware of the reality that is color change in exotic woods, there are a number of things you can do to either avoid or at least somewhat prevent these changes, beyond just accepting that your beautifully colored project will darken over time and lose some of its luster. Here are some tips from a lumber yard in Houston:

  • Choose woods that age well: If you are bothered by the idea that your wood will fade over time and you want to preserve its intended color for generations, the best idea is to choose a type of wood that will actually get better with age. Some examples include cherry, mahogany and oak. While these types of woods are not as exotic as some woods with purple or orange hues, they definitely have beautiful colors of their own to display.
  • Choose woods that have interesting grain patterns: If you do decide to go with bright and unusual-colored exotic woods, try to pick one that has an interesting grain pattern so the project still is aesthetically unique and interesting even after the color fades.
  • Use dyes: If you are adamant about having a certain color that you really want to exhibit in your project, consider using dyes. While it might not be a natural method of showcasing the wood, it can still look great, and it allows you to have a little more control over the color of your wood. Furthermore, if you use a high-quality dye, it will last for generations to come.
  • Use multiple coats of finish: You can delay the inevitable aging and decline of the color in exotic woods by using several coats of finish to block out as much oxygen as possible. The more coats of finish you use, the less the wood will be affected by regular changes in humidity levels.
  • Keep the wood out of sunlight: Direct sunlight causes faster fading of the colors of wood, so do your best to keep the wood out of sunlight if possible.

For more information about how wood color can change over time and how to preserve that color, contact us today at our lumber yard in Houston.