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color change of Cherry sapwood and maple?

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color change of Cherry sapwood and maple?

Postby Bryan Bear » Fri May 17, 2019 2:15 pm

I am gathering materials for a project and trying to decide where I want to go. The back set is straight grained cherry with lots of medullary rays. I plan to have the sapwood jointed in the center (no center strip) and have a vision of carrying that color variation up the neck and tail wedge. I'm thinking of a cherry neck with a lamination down the middle that will match the width of the sapwood line at the heel and a tail wedge that matches the width at the tail. I"m quite sure I won't be able to find any cherry boards with enough quarter sawn sapwood to allow me to get the neck lamination. I also accept that the demarcation between the two colors will be organic on the back and a straight glue line on the neck and tail but I till think the idea has merit.

I'm currently thinking of using perfectly quartered maple for the lamination so the rays will carry the theme from the back. My hope is to find a board that is comparable in color to the sapwood of the back. I know I will never find a perfect match. My question is what happens to both the colors over time. Does Cherry sapwood darken considerably like the heartwood or can I expect it to stay close to where it started? Anytime I have used cherry the contrast between the heart wood and sapwood has enhanced over time but I don't have a great feel for if the sapwood is just darkening less or staying the same. What about the maple color change?

I'm willing to accept that the cherry sapwood will be a bit darker than the maple at first but will they continue to get further apart years down the line?

Or, do you all have a better suggestion on how to get where I'm going?
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Re: color change of Cherry sapwood and maple?

Postby Chuck Tweedy » Fri May 17, 2019 4:42 pm

Bryan, here is a picture of some cherry with sapwood I have scraped a section clean. There is actually very little difference due to scraping - not sure if the oxidation is deep or if it's just not changed color much. I do not have much experience with cherry ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Next to the cherry is a gleaming white piece of maple - this picture shows the color difference pretty clearly.
If i were you i would just use cherry sapwood for the center stripe - quartered or not.
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Re: color change of Cherry sapwood and maple?

Postby Bryan Bear » Fri May 17, 2019 4:53 pm

Thanks Chuck. I too scrapped the set I have and didn't notice too much change in color of the sapwood but I don't know how much exposure to light it had in the first place. It has been folded up in the stack for a long time.

I have some maple that is a better match than your picture but I'm worried that will be temporary. I suppose I'll have to start picking through the stacks at the lumberyard to find an adequate supply of sapwood. maybe if I'm lucky I can find a board to make a two piece neck from jointing sapwood and end up with the organic demarcation up the neck shaft. That would look really cool!

Keep the conversation going in case I don't find what I need. . .
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Re: color change of Cherry sapwood and maple?

Postby Chuck Tweedy » Fri May 17, 2019 5:20 pm

I intentionally used a super-bright piece of maple to emphasize the color tone difference between the two. The cherry (at least this piece) has a distinctly green hue making the sapwood a khaki/olive tone. Maple is much more yellow/golden hue, so the two do not go together - to my eye at least.

I'd offer up this piece of cherry, but it would not do. The sapwood is at far too steep an angle where it hits the edge, so there's not enough to make a neck from.
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Re: color change of Cherry sapwood and maple?

Postby Randy Roberts » Fri May 17, 2019 11:02 pm

Brian,
I've used a fair amount of cherry, (5 pieces of furniture, and redid the bathroom in cherry, and a couple guitars), and really love the stuff. But it darkens unpredictably so I would make your ascetic choices on the other characteristics, like your quartersawn rays, sapwood pattern, etc.

My experience has been every tree ends up darkening differently. The bathroom has had quite a bit of sun for over 8 years and is still as light as some raw boards I've seen. On the other end of the spectrum, a rocking chair I made about 5 years ago sits where there isn't all that much light, and has become so dark you would think it was walnut if it wasn't for the deep red to it.
I would recommend trying to get everything out of one board (or one tree) if at all possible to do so. An almost imperceptible difference in two boards as raw wood can end up glaringly different with age.

I may not be understanding your "I'm currently thinking of using perfectly quartered maple for the lamination so the rays will carry the theme from the back.", but if I'm picturing it right, I think you will loose the rays in the neck wood as soon as the curve you carve in the neck profile is off quarter. Your neck surface will only be 90 degrees (quartered) down the midline. So I don't think I'd worry about the neck laminations being perfectly quartered for the visuals of the rays. I would try to book-match the neck laminations that are off quarter though, for stability.

I would definitely put sticking to the same tree as a far higher priority verses finding different boards perfectly quartersawn.
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Re: color change of Cherry sapwood and maple?

Postby Bryan Bear » Sat May 18, 2019 8:55 pm

Yeah, I didn’t explain it too well. I would have the outside laminations be cherry and the center lamination would be quartered maple or sapwood or. . . Sort of like the picture:
064353DC-42BA-4161-8EE0-5D28B62B59C4.jpeg

I could live with this color variation if it didn’t change too much over time. The line down the center is a pencil line not a terrible joint. . .

I went to the lumber yard today but they didn’t really have any cherry with sapwood because the cut it off before they dry it. The only option was to buy a live edge table slab.
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Re: color change of Cherry sapwood and maple?

Postby Bryan Bear » Sun May 19, 2019 12:02 am

I found this picture of a cherry guitar I made recently. I kept it in a window getting full sun to darken it before I did the finish. The finish is z-poxy (which adds a bit of Amber) and French polished Royal-lac. The maple binding is not too far off from the color of the sapwood at the tail. I should contact the owner to see if it has changed much.
C9937C3E-0D11-4D94-A3AA-FDB606A5E56D.jpeg
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Re: color change of Cherry sapwood and maple?

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Mon May 20, 2019 8:09 pm

Hi Bryan,
I built some kitchen cabinets a couple of decades ago and what was sapwood now is closer to fresh planed cherry, and what was heartwood is a dark natural cherry color. You can still see the difference, but the sapwood has darkened nicely.
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