Exotic Wood Color

November 22, 2021

Bloodwood, Padauk, Purpleheart, Yellowheart, Osage Orange, Cocobolo, etc. What do all of these species of hardwood have in common? Amazing color!! But wait...hold on...do they really retain their color? Sorry, Charlie, but they don't. Over time, due to oxidation and things that I am not smart enough to understand, these colorful species of hardwood lose their luster, not totally, but they do tend to darken and fade. How do I know this? I've got pieces containing all manner of hardwood all over my house from years of building, turning, and constructing. I've seen incremental changes in the colors of the wood. It doesn't happen overnight. Sometimes it's years before any obvious changes happen.

A local gallery here in Tulsa displayed some of my work a few years ago. These pieces were placed on displays right by the front door. Every afternoon our Oklahoma sun streamed through their big windows and lit everything up. Those pieces that had colorful, exotic woods faded a little, not a lot, but a little. The color change is gradual, not overnight. After a few months of this, I asked that they move them to the back wall. This was an obvious example of what UV rays can do.

So...if you've got one of my pieces and want your Purpleheart, Padauk, Bloodwood, etc., to retain that fresh-cut look...well, I guess just lock it up in an airtight safe and literally never let it see the light of day. That's no fun! How do we stop it? We don't. Embrace it! My favorite wood in the entire world is domestic Cherry! Oxidation is Cherry's best friend...in my honest opinion. Some of my favorite pieces using Cherry have darkened over the years resulting in a B-E-A-utiful patina.

To help prolong your piece's marvelous color, display it out of direct sunlight but somewhere you and everyone can see it EVERY DAY! Final answer!