My friend who is a woodworker in custom furniture had this to say
about your wood fading questions:
Of course I've heard of it, nearly all woods change color
somewhat as they age. It's only a problem if you don't like what
it changes into. *grin* Take cherry, for instance. Turns a lovely
rich dark red with age, hence all of the "Antique Cherry" color
stains on the shelf for people who don't want to wait 75 years.
any rate, he is correct in that it is UV, or oxygen, or both.
Unfortunately, I doubt he'll be able to completely stop the
process, but he can at least retard it somewhat. I'd recommend
trying an oil or polyurethane that has UV blockers in it. For
oil, try Outdoor Oil by General Finishes. It's available in quart
sizes at Rockler and Woodcraft, and perhaps decking supply stores
would have it in gallons. For a polyurethane, look at a type of
spar varnish. Spar varnish is designed for use on boats and to be
out in the elements. It's similar to standard polyurethane,
except it has more oil so that it can flex better with the wood
as it contracts and expands, and also has UV blockers in it. For
this, I'd go directly to a marine supply store, for that's where
the really good stuff is at. Perhaps a decking store as well.
Don't go to the Hirshfields/Home Depot counter and buy the cheap
Minwax stuff, for it won't work as well. As for sealing it
completely, epoxy is about the only thing I know that will retard
air and water movement the most. I'll have to look it up in a
book I don't have here, but I'm pretty sure that's the top
finish. Are you familiar with the 1/4" thick plastic looking
coating on bar tops? That's epoxy. Generally, one builds a "dam"
around the edges, pour it on (it self levels), wait until it
hardens, then tear off the dam and sand the edges nicely. He'll
have to do it before he sets it, and do all sides of his piece.
Dunno how you'd do a small piece for jewelry - maybe the bottom
first, that won't be seen, then pour a bit over the top of the
piece and finish off? shrug Test with pine. If you go the epoxy
route, soak it in Outdoor Oil first for the UV protection.
I hope this helps you somewhat.
BBR - Sandi Graves, Beadin' Up A Storm
Stormcloud Trading Co