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Thread: bleaching wood

  1. #1
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    bleaching wood

    Well, I need to bleach some wood for the commission so I have been playing with different methods. The first method I tried was to use Oxalic Acid. It didn't do anything. Today I was able to locate some sodium Hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide. The method is to put the sodium hydroxide on first and teen minutes later use the hydrogen peroxide. Here are the results of two identical pieces the one on the right is unbleached. the wood is soft maple.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_1621.JPG  
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
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  2. #2
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    You got a good thing there Don. Nice process. I just use the 2 part wood bleach little strong but same result. Then place the wood in the sun which whitens the wood even more.
    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.
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  3. #3
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    I also use the 2 part stuff. It has always worked real well for me.

  4. #4
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    I have used plain household bleach (sodium hydroxide?) with moderately successful results.
    "Folks is funny critters."

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    I have used plain household bleach (sodium hydroxide?) with moderately successful results.
    Sodium Hypochlorite, Frank. Sodium Hydroxide is Lye.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DeLaney View Post
    Sodium Hypochlorite, Frank. Sodium Hydroxide is Lye.
    I got a 'C' in chemistry.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  7. #7
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    Hey Don, I've got a piece of ash I want to bleach, so I have a few questions. OK, a bunch of questions.

    Where were did you find the sodium hydroxide? Apparently pure lye drain cleaners aren't as easy to find as they used to be, ever since the meth heads started using it in the kitchen. Did you find something local, or did you order online? What ratio did you mix it with water? For the hydrogen peroxide, did you use the typical drugstore concentration, or did you find something stronger?

    Thanks. If this project works out, it should be worth the effort. (Fingers crossed.)
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  8. #8
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    Don't they still sell the Red Devil Lye? Or is it like TSP where they've changed the formulas?
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Dowell View Post
    Don't they still sell the Red Devil Lye? Or is it like TSP where they've changed the formulas?
    From what I've been reading on the Intarwebs, Red Devil Lye is getting harder and harder to find. Lot of rumbling on the soapmaking forums about how hard it is to get anymore. (That said, I'm gonna hit up a couple local small hardware stores later and see what might be in my neighborhood.) Some of the other lye-based drain cleaners also have aluminum particles in them, and I suspect that might mess things up for bleaching wood.

    I did do a test with Clorox on a piece of scrap, and that looks like it will work with ash, but I'd need to soak the piece pretty heavily. Ideally, I'd like to only bleach the outside of the piece (a bowl), but not the inside. If that's not possible, I do have a Plan B.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  10. #10
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    Guess I better covet that old bottle of lye I'm sure I have/had 'lyeing' around somewhere then...
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


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