Darkening wenge cores

Q. We process wenge. When we re-saw it to make two thinner pieces, we see a distinct yellow hue in varying shade tones within the core of the lumber. We know that it does eventually turn dark. Is this normal?

A. Yes, it is normal for some of the darker colored woods to have a color in the core that is different from the surface. However, exposure to light (probably UV light is more influential) will quickly darken this core wood.

Oftentimes the initial difference results because the surface was dried slowly and at cool temperatures (air drying perhaps) while the core was dried at hotter temperatures. Differences in drying produce differences in color. Therefore, it is a general rule that if the lumber is being air-dried, it does need to be completely air dried before it is put into the kiln and not just partly air dried.


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Gene Wengert

Gene Wengert, “The Wood Doctor” has been training people in efficient use of wood for 45 years. He is extension specialist emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.