I went out and bought some hard maple for my desk. I've already glued the boards together to make the tabletop, but I noticed some variation in color between the boards. Two of them are somewhat dark, a few are white, and the other is half white half yellow. The white part was being covered by another board in the lumberyard, so I am assuming that maple yellows over time when exposed to UV light. This is not an issue for me, but I wanted to know if it is possible to even out the colors across the boards, and how. Will keeping the tabletop in direct sunlight help? Hopefully they can all have that nice golden-ish color.

  • The dark ones, surely you could have just flipped the boards over and used their (undoubtedly paler) undersides?
    – Graphus
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 16:07
  • But the processing of the boards from their rough-sawn state should have substantially evened out the colour, as even a light planing of old wood can remove about 80% of aged colouring because it is so shallow (which is one of the reasons one has to be careful of sanding old furniture when doing restorations).
    – Graphus
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 16:08
  • @Graphus I thought that would work as well, but the underside was just as dark. Will leave it out in the sun a bit and see what happens.
    – atulw
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 16:58
  • "the underside was just as dark" Interesting! There is of course variation in the colour of maple, as there is in all woods, but rarely is it more than a dark cream sort of colour. Anyway, did your subsequent surfacing of the boards take off a significant amount of the darkness from some or all of the boards?
    – Graphus
    Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 8:27
  • Update: I used the desk unfinished and the color evened out. Recently decided to put a poly coat on and it looks great!
    – atulw
    Commented Dec 13, 2021 at 19:51

1 Answer 1


After flattening the top/ removing glue, leave the top out in the sun for a couple of days before applying a finish. That should even out the color.

  • Thanks for the answer!
    – atulw
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 18:28
  • +1, is likely the correct Answer. But perhaps you could add some details on how not to put the panel in the sun, so as to minimise the chance of warping from uneven moisture loss?
    – Graphus
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 16:05

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