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TIP: Metamarism

The light source makes a big difference for how your finished wood projects appear. It’s important to be aware of this if you are working on a project in your shop under one light source and then moving the project to another light source.

Look at the four accompanying photos of stained mahogany. I set the white balance on my digital camera for daylight and took the first picture outdoors in the shade. Then, without changing the white balance, I took additional pictures indoors under the cool-white fluorescent lighting I use in my shop, the full-spectrum fluorescent lighting I use in my finishing area, and finally the incandescent lighting in my house.

Notice how the cool-white lighting brings out more green in the stained wood, the full-spectrum lighting produces a color that is closest to natural daylight and the incandescent lighting brings out more red tones. This is what you should expect when you move furniture from one light source to another. The phenomenon is called “metamerism.”

The Same Wood Finish Under Different Lighting
The Same Wood Finish Under Different Lighting


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