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Thread: Finishing Padauk - Fade Resistance

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Norwich NY (Near Binghamton)

    Finishing Padauk - Fade Resistance

    Hello all. This is my first post to the forum.
    I am preparing to finish a dresser made from Padauk. I think it is pretty well known that Padauk has the potential to fade from a orange/red when first cut to a walnut brown with prolonged (?) UV exposure. I would appreciate any suggestions on how to delay fading of the red color to the extent possible. From what I have read, a water-based finish would be the most suitable. I have heard that spar poly has UV resistance, but my understanding is that this is intended to prevent breakdown of the finish, not to protect the underlying wood. At this point, I have not decided whether or not I want an "in the wood" finish versus filling the pores and going for something glossy - so any thoughts would be appreciated. One restriction - I do not currently have the capability to spray. Appreciate your help/advice!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Always a tough one Don...

    AFAIK, all UV protection is provided by additives in the finish that absorb the UV before it gets to the wood, so it'll still provide as much fading protection as any other finish. I think fading can also be caused by chemicals in the wood oxidizing over time, so a film finish would probably be better for that too. Sikkens Cetol has an excellent reputation (my local Benjamin Moore store carries it, borgs do not, IME). Not sure if you have to spray it or not. They also make a spar varnish, which you could almost certainly brush on.

    There are lots of options depending on how you're willing to do the finishing, so it sounds like maybe some testing is in order.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Odessa, Tx
    Don, I truly don't know the answer with Padouk, but I can relate one experience with it, (and I still don't know why the color lasted like it did).

    In the spring of 1960, while in College and for extra shop project credits , I threw together a small footstool for my dad one morning, with an upholstered top, and used some Padouk scraps for the legs. I sanded them and then sprayed them with "Sanding Sealer", resanded lightly and then sprayed them with clear Lacquer, (water based Lacquer wasn't even available then). In 1990, they were still "Almost as orange/red as when I made them. By 1995 they had finally started losing the orange color, and today, they are still not real dark, but just a reddish brown. Whether this was because they were in a darker area of the room and not exposed to direct sunlight or something, I don't know, and have honestly been amazed by this, as have many others that have seen them, that have a knowledge of Padouk. I have no idea though, whether I could duplicate this result again using the same finish procedure or not.

    Note; The Padouk I used had been planed and cut only a few days before I used it in my project, and it had already turned much darker, so that was the reason I sanded it to bring back the orange red color before I put the finish on it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Central NY State
    Don, I can't help you with the Padauk. I've finished it with Watco, and it did turn quite dark. But I am not far from you - and I want to welcome you to FW.

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