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Thread: Osage orange color shift

  1. #1

    Osage orange color shift

    Has anyone had any success boiling Osage orange shavings that can be applied many times before finishing the wood and did the yellow/orange color of the wood last longer?

    After rough turning a piece of OO, I immediately placed the wood in several layers of paper and paper sacks and stored in the basement where there is seldom any light at all only to discover it to turn brown in just a couple of months.

    That tells me that the main vermin is not uv.

    Any thought you can share?

  2. #2
    Both Oxygen and UV will make the wood color go amber. The Osage is used as a fabric dye, and I have no idea how they get it to stay colorfast.

    robo hippy

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Atikokan, Rainy River district, Ontario
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    I never tried adding watered down color to the wood itself, what would it change other than maybe lighten the surface color if anything at all.

    Both UV and oxidation are the culprit in changing colors, though setting the piece in direct sunlight will speedup this process, like some do with Black Cherry, some wood will change very slowly when sitting without any or little light, not each and every kind of wood act the same.


    Have fun and take care

  4. #4
    I have no experience with osage orange (at least, not green), but my experience with other woods is that when they're cut green and dry slowly, the surface tends to change color dramatically in ways dry wood wouldn't. Tulip poplar heartwood (usually green in color) turns black if it's unseasoned. When dry, it turns a bronze color in the sun, but it takes a while and is much less pronounced. Pecan sapwood is usually white but will turn an amber at the surface when unseasoned. I don't know what the mechanism for this is for sure -- I think it's sun for poplar turning black and oxidation for pecan. But in either case it only happens when the wood is unseasoned.

  5. #5
    So, a uv protectant and lack of oxygen should prevent the color change. Therefore, if I were to turn a piece and seal it with a uv product, both causes should be eliminated. The finish would prevent circulation of oxygen and the uv product should take care of the color shift due to uv.

    But in reality this does not work for me.
    Is there more to the story?

    I thought after reading about how they make die from osage, perhaps making some and plashing it on several times as the wood dries may at least delay the process.
    Last edited by Bill Jobe; 01-07-2017 at 1:28 PM.

  6. Quote Originally Posted by Bill Jobe View Post
    So, a uv protectant and lack of oxygen should prevent the color change. Therefore, if I were to turn a piece and seal it with a uv product, both causes should be eliminated. The finish would prevent circulation of oxygen and the uv product should take care of the color shift due to uv.
    [snip]
    I thought after reading about how they make die from osage, perhaps making some and plashing it on several times as the wood dries may at least delay the process.
    Wood finishes would not provide an absolute oxygen barrier, and I don't believe there are any truly effective UV barrier wood finishes -- see, for example, discussions of trying to maintain the red coloration of natural staining in box elder. When used in dyeing, I would assume that the color from osage orange would be fixed with the use of a mordant, as many (most?) dyes.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Mountain Home, AR
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    507
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Henrickson View Post
    Wood finishes would not provide an absolute oxygen barrier, and I don't believe there are any truly effective UV barrier wood finishes -- see, for example, discussions of trying to maintain the red coloration of natural staining in box elder. When used in dyeing, I would assume that the color from osage orange would be fixed with the use of a mordant, as many (most?) dyes.
    I turned some box elder bud vases last year with plenty of red streaks that I didn't want to fade. I sprayed them with spar urethane and they've held color beautifully. Then again a bowl I turned from the same chunk has held its color fine as well. It was only treated with walnut oil, but has been sitting on a dark shelf. I think I can say with some certainty that BE fading is caused by UV.

    As for mulberry, I haven't figured it out yet. I've turned several pieces and almost all have faded. The only one that didn't was a bowl blank that sat on the shelf under my lathe for a year or more before I did anything with it. Scratch that - I just remembered that blank was one my dog adopted as a chew toy one day when I left my shop open and it sat out in the yard for a weekend before I found it. Plenty of oxygen and sunlight got to that one, but it never did fade. All I can figure is that dog slobber had something to do with it. Don't know that I'll ever find out for sure, but figured I'd share in case anyone wants to patent a new technique

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