Changing the Color Of Wood From Red to Brown
Taking the Red Out
My Client likes the grain of mahogany a lot and wants to use it for their new cabinetry, but they want the color to match their floors and mahogany is just a little too red. They want the wood to be less red, but they don't want it darker.
The solution goes back to something we learn about in art class, and mostly never see again.
The Color Wheel.
Colors on opposite sides of the wheel cancel each other out.
Across the wheel from Red is Green.
And sure enough, if a little green dye is put into the lacquer used to finish the mahogany, it reduces the red, and creates a more neutral brown.
Lacquer with the addition of green dye will shift the color of the wood away from red.
Here is a piece of Sepele Mahogany that shows the effect of shifting the color away from red by the the process of toning.
The section on the left is raw wood, it has no finish at all.
The middle section has only clear lacquer and it shows the true color of the wood.
The section on the right was toned with colored lacquer.
The trick is not to over do it. If too much dye is used the wood starts to look blotchy, or can even start to look green. A small amount of color is used, and is built up gently with several coats of lacquer.