Freshly cut Osage orange (bois d'arc, bodark, Maclura pomifera) has an unusual and beautiful yellowish color that soon darkens, often to a boring brown. Does anyone have suggestions as to how I can arrest this color change? I need to be able to sell my pieces without concern that the customer will return later with a complaint that the color and contrast that caught their eye to begin with has now faded away. Is it UV related? If so, can someone recommend any UV blocking finishes that can be applied easily in the small shop? Or is it a chemical reaction, perhaps with oxygen in the air, or with an ingredient in the finish? Thanks for any advice.
(Furniture Making Forum)
From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
There is no way. The color oxidizes immediately upon exposure to air and light accelerates the process oftentimes.
Take note that whatever you use to fill any nail holes, cracks, etc. will also need to be able to change color or they will be more upset about that in the future. I mixed fine sifted sanding dust with the lacquer that was used as a finish for all the filling. The two best suggestions I can make is to keep some aged wood on hand to show the client to avoid complications down the road, and second is to use UV additive in the finish to help slow down the process.
Comment from contributor K:
The color change in osage is completely UV related. You can stop the color change by using some UV repellant finishes or by simply using very high SPF sunscreen. I made a work bench out of 2 - 12' x 18" x 8/4 and it hasnít even begun to change color.