The lighter coloured hardwoods can be treated in various ways to change the hue, contrast and intensity of the colour. This is achieved through different processes such as staining, bleaching and smoking. Colours are usually applied to delivery but can be applied subsequent to fitting. The range is immense: from off white, through glowing tints, to a deep rich black. The effects are achieved in different ways: oils and lacquers may be applied before or after fitting. Alternatively, there are exciting effects the are created by fuming, ammonia or oven treatments which can only be achieved before fitting.
White – the colour can be bleached out of the wood by degrees so you retain the character of the wood but alter the shade from natural to virtual white.
Grey – Turning hardwood from its natural colour to a grey or near grey is achieved with a lacquer or natural oil. Oak responds best to the treatment as they are naturally neutral in colour to begin with but oak produces an interesting and very attractive shade.
Red – Merbau’s natural colour is a delightful brown/red and therefore needs no special treatment to enhance the colour further. The timber is available fairly readily.
Light produces a lovely honey coloured hardwood and is produced by a combination of mild bleaching and staining with lacquer and oil. This process has to take place before the wood is fitted.
Coloured boards or blocks enable delightful patterns to be assembled. The colour is determined by oils that soak into the wood grain.
Dark colouration is usually achieved by lacquers, oils and waxes before or after fitting. Fumed treatments come as supplied.
Black and shades of black depend a fuming. This process involves a fuming oven where heat or ammonia are introduced to the wood after the oven is sealed. The intensity of black is determined by the duration of the process – from a few hours to a few days.
As in all art and craft, texture has an exciting part to play. A variety of textures adds to the beauty, it all depends on the overall effect required in any particular context. Ways to create eye-catching finishes include the direction the wood is sawn, across or along the grain, the treatment the surface of the wood and complimentary contrasts that can be integrated into a floor for the final flourish.