Matching Maple Veneer to Sawn Maple

      A furnituremaker's problem: dealing with a color difference between solid sawn Maple table legs and the birdseye Maple veneer top. January 19, 2012

I'm about to venture into the world of vacuum bagging veneer. In this case, it'll be bird's eye maple on some doors, but I'm putting it next to legs that will be regular maple. The bird's eye is pretty white, but still seems more yellow than the regular maple I come in contact with. The color differential adds some interest, but I'm afraid the legs will look pale and weak alongside the pretty darn spectacular bird's eye panels. I'm going to put some finish on both to see where I am, but expect to be disappointed with the effect of the two together. Maybe I should consider a very light toner on the legs? Any input?

Forum Responses
(Furniture Making Forum)
From contributor L:
Why not make it easier on yourself and use a different, complimentary or contrasting wood for the legs rather than try to match or tint?

From the original questioner:
I appreciate the response, but the design has been submitted and accepted.

From contributor R:
The veneer is more processed, so it is probably more aged. Take some of the leg material and stick it in the sun for awhile. I'll lay odds that it will yellow pretty quick. If that will work to match, do the work and stick the light parts in the sun and watch them carefully so they don't go too far.

From Professor Gene Wengert, Sawing and Drying Forum technical advisor:
The color in maple is whitest when the wood is dried quickly at low temperatures. Lumber is often dried this way, but veneer logs are heated and veneer driers are hot. Hence, veneer is not white compared to lumber.

You can often bleach the veneer to make it whiter, but you will often lose grain definition too. So it is best to change the leg color to get it to match the veneer. Short sun exposure will change the surface color quite a bit. However, subsequent sun exposure of the veneer will change it's color too, and a contrast can develop again.

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