Q. We have some doors made of cherry that we shipped and we put cardboard corner protectors on the corners and also wrapped it in plastic for shipment with a label on the plastic and a tight fitting band around the door to hold the wrapping in place. When we had the customer unwrap the door a few months later, it looks like something in the cardboard corner support and also where the label and the band were placed got into the wood and made it lighter in color than the rest of the door. How can we get rid of this chemical and the color bleaching?

A. I do believe that you have approached the solution from the wrong angle. Here is what I think has happened. Wood that is exposed to air and light, especially sunlight, will turn darker, especially cherry and walnut. So, I suspect that your doors, when you first made them, were a bit lighter in color than they are now. With time and exposure to light, most of the wood turned darker except for the areas protected from light--under the corner protectors, under the sticker and under the band.

As the darkening is only skin deep (couple of 1/100 inch), you could sand the door lightly to restore the color to its “original” light color. Or you could expose the entire door to sunlight and the light areas will darken over a week or two of exposure and “catch-up” to the rest of the door color. You could also try a strong oxidizer on the door (like ammonia) which should darken everything really fast, but I do not know what residual effects this treatment would have on subsequent finishing.

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