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  #1  
Old 10-18-2019, 10:45 AM
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Default Woods changing color with age

I've been practicing Intarsia because it holds some promise for application in my guitar building. In this process I came across this handy little reference chart of how woods will change color with age. I thought I'd share it for those that might find it helpful:



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Old 10-18-2019, 10:55 AM
merlin666 merlin666 is offline
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Thanks, that is a nice chart. Though I can't find Koa, is this not used for intarsia? I think Koa may actually lighten with age.
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
Thanks, that is a nice chart. Though I can't find Koa, is this not used for intarsia? I think Koa may actually lighten with age.
You're welcome. I don't see Koa either. It has been my experience that Koa darkens a bit with age. I suppose it could go lighter if it is exposed to more light than the guitars I've made were.
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:30 AM
LemonCats LemonCats is offline
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huh i dont see birch listed there
I have a birch harmony stella from 1969 that almost looks orange now

Maybe its an aging toner? Maybe its the birch?
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by LemonCats View Post
huh i dont see birch listed there
I have a birch harmony stella from 1969 that almost looks orange now

Maybe its an aging toner? Maybe its the birch?
It could be the finish too. Nitrocellulose changes color with age.
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark Hatcher View Post
It could be the finish too. Nitrocellulose changes color with age.
Ah I think you're right about that! The inside wood isn't nearly as orangey as the nitro finished outside
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:11 PM
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The chart says of walnut, no change. That's not been my experience in using it for over 30 years. It generally starts as brown with a hint of gray and develops reds and yellows over time, and is one of the few woods I've used that can actually lighten a bit.
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Old 10-18-2019, 01:02 PM
merlin666 merlin666 is offline
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The chart says of walnut, no change. That's not been my experience in using it for over 30 years. It generally starts as brown with a hint of gray and develops reds and yellows over time, and is one of the few woods I've used that can actually lighten a bit.
Indeed the walnut entry is confusing as in North America we have Black Walnut in the East and Claro Walnut in the West, which is much lighter in colour.
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Old 10-18-2019, 03:28 PM
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Even allowing for the colour variation between these pictures (different cameras) you can see how much the Italian Alpine Spruce top on my 2011 Martin JDP II has darkened. (I treated the bridge with F-One in the last shot)
The wedges in the rosette have also changed colour.

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Old 10-22-2019, 08:56 AM
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My Martin GCPA 4 with spruce top, about 10 years old, has a cedar-like hue, with a touch of honey, very very nice. My 48 year old oak floors are quite a bit darker but gorgeous too. I won't touch the finish on either despite wear spots. Anyone else have input on how spruces age (not on chart).
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Old 10-22-2019, 09:38 AM
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I never heard of the term intarsia, learn something every day I suppose.
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Old 10-22-2019, 10:22 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redir View Post
I never heard of the term intarsia, learn something every day I suppose.
In the guitar world, some "inlay" is, essentially, intarsia.

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Old 10-22-2019, 11:28 AM
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The chart is dead wrong re Pernambuco. P darkens and becomes less fluorescent.
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Old 10-23-2019, 11:40 AM
Alan Carruth Alan Carruth is offline
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The color change of the wood can differ depending on the finish as well, irrespective of the change in the finish itself. Much also seems to depend on light and air exposure. I've seen varnished mahogany that turned lighter over time when out doors but out of direct weather. Purple heart tends to bleach out in the sun under shellac, as does blood wood.

Rosewoods often turn lighter with age, sometimes by quite a lot. I remember seeing a hundred year old piano lid with the light imprint of a window in it's otherwise dark BRW veneer. I saw a BRW clock in a museum that was as orange as a pumpkin. Again, this may depend on the finish.

I'll vouch for how dark Osage orange can get. I once did a 'sunburst' rosette on Osage and walnut, and after a few years the values had reversed: the osage 'sun' was darker than the walnut 'background'.

One of the best pieces of advice I've seen about inlay was the point that all woods turn brown with age. You can't count on those purple heart mountains to stay purple for any length of time. If you think in terms of grey scale, with your lightest wood being 'white' and the darkest being 'black', you can construct a picture that should make sense even after the woods have changed color.
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Old 10-26-2019, 08:46 PM
ruby50 ruby50 is offline
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Duplication
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