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shop: sun-tanning wood

I recently acquired a large load of lumber on the cheap.  I was told it was white is not.  It is red oak.  I don't dislike Red Oak, but am not particulary fond of the pinkish color.  Because of the vast difference in pore size between earlywood and latewood, the highly contrasted arches of  flatsawn oak (example) is very difficult to avoid.  I don't dislike it...but it was not the look I was going for on my bookshelf project.  I wanted the wood slighly darker that it's native color, but did not want the high-contrast grain pattern.  Since sunlight has such a dramatic effect on cherry, I decided to try it on oak, even though I've never heard anyone talk about it.

I covered this scrap piece with with a paper bag on the left side...and left it in the sun for 3 days (~6 hours of direct sunlight per day). Then I finished one side with shellac (super-blonde).




Curious about the UV-protection properties of shellac, I tried the experiment again. This time I finished the entire piece with shellac and covered half of the piece with a paper bag. I left the piece in the sun for 6 days. It is difficult to tell the difference. Granted, it was only 6 days...but it was outdoors in direct sunlight. Indoors, very little UV makes it through the windows. My conclusion is that shellac does provide UV protection, but not 100%.