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Walnut photo sensitivity6/25
We've had quite a few Walnut jobs come through lately....veneer and solid. I guess I either forgot or hadn't noticed how sensitive this wood is to light. I left a piece of cardboard on a project and now there's a 2" diagonal stripe of a different shade. I don't think sanding helps and it doesn't seem to mellow and blend after a few days of being exposed to light over the whole piece. For that matter does this happen when the piece is finished? Can one fix this.
Walnut is very light sensitive, both in lumber and veneer form.
It's not likely to sand out easily, although that may help a little. Over time and exposure to more light, it will even out and the stripe will blend in. In a year, you probably won't notice it any more (that's not a promise).
The only way I can think of "fixing" it in the short-term is try to reverse what you did. Cover the rest of the chair, but leave the stripe exposed to the light for a while, checking it often.
Walnut is light sensitive even after finishing. I believe you can get UV inhibitors in your finish, which will help, but not cure the problem.
Personally, I'm not a fan of bleaching, but I know many folks do that. I would try staining just the stripe, lightly fanning out the stain into the face.
Honestly, I've never tried it, never been in a situation where I had to, but at worst, you can always fall back on bleaching if staining only doesn't work.
I believe that "a few days" is not long enough to even the color. The reaction is encouraged by light and air. Moisture helps too. The more exposure to light, the darker everything will get initially, but after a while, the darkest will stop or slow and then the light area will catch up.
Can you use a stain to make it even? How about a very small amount of oxidizer, like household ammonia cleaner on the entire surface?
4 days of sun and still not quite even FYI