My husband made a bench from a catalpa limb we lost in a storm some years ago. The wood is very light colored and I would like to keep it that way. Is there a finishing product that might act like a “sunscreen” to keep the wood from getting darker with age? – Hanna Hofer
Tim Inman: Air and light, especially UV light, are your opponents. Even with your best efforts, in time, they will win and your wood will discolor. There are good products such as spar varnish, that are labeled primarily for “exterior” use, and they will help slow down the process. These products typically have good UV blockers in them. Nothing I know of will stop the wood from aging and taking on the resultant coloring.
Chris Marshall: The good news is, this darkening process generally happens slowly — so much so that it’s often hard to notice. Keep the bench out of direct sunlight (remember that not all window glass offers UV protection), and you’ll enjoy your bench’s light color for as long as possible.