Thursday, 11 July 2013

Experimenting with wood bleach...

All righty roo, I just know you're all desperate to know how the wood bleach is working out. What do you mean, you're not? You're reading the wrong blog then. Because this is what I have discovered thus far!

I bought a 2 part wood bleach as apparently this is best for taking the natural colour out of the wood. There are other products that are more suitable for removing wood dye or water staining.

Here's what I'm using:

 Because my table is old and has been well used, I have had to thoroughly remove any wax from the surface by scrubbing it with fine wire wool and white spirit. And then I had a little panic and did it all over again. Just to make sure.

The problem I have is that there are some grease marks which have not lifted out. They have penetrated into the pine.

Can you see them?

I wanted to see how the bleach would work on these areas, so on the table leg where I removed the wax, I smeared a fingertip dipped in olive oil. 

Then I applied part A of the bleach.


(This leg will be painted over so it's perfect to experiment on.)

Bleach part A is on the darker areas of the picture. I left the middle dry for a colour comparison. At this point the bleach treated bits look darker because they're wet. I didn't apply it as liberally as I might on a flat table top as it was running. I let that sit for 10 mins. It said 10-20 mins but I'm impatient.

I did the second coat with part B and saw an almost immediate lightening. You're supposed to leave it for 2 hours. After one and a half hours I wanted to go to bed and the wood didn't seem to have lightened any further so I cleaned it off with a cloth and water.

Here's the result when it dried:


As you can see, the oil spot hasn't bleached. Hmm....
There is a difference in the bleached areas. It's not as big as I was hoping for. This could be because I didn't apply as liberally as the instructions suggested. Also the picture is not great as it was taken at night.

The picture below might be better to show the lightened areas. 

This picture might be just as bad actually.

So what to do about those grease spots? After 5 mins of net surfing I read that lighter fluid can get them out. Tracking that down was a bit tricky.
And really, I think I may have killed a few brain cells, even though the window was open wide, but I can't see much difference after using that. If any.

So I'm embracing imperfection and going ahead with the wood bleach anyway. Apparently you can even do it twice if it's not light enough the first time around.

So stay tuned for the next gripping instalment of 'adventures with wood bleach' and I should have a pale scrubbed pine table top to share with you next time.

If you think I'm being a bit half arsed and slow about this, let me tell you I am not! The white spirit needs a couple of days to disappear before you can apply the bleach. And the quest for lighter fluid delayed me further.

Plus I have been living with a great fear that the TV people will phone and say, ''Can we pop round tomorrow?'' so I have been painting the hallway furiously to remove all tiny hand prints and  even painting skirting boards! Because telly folk care about these things. Probably.

 Linking with Funky Junks Party Junk




13 comments:

  1. Have you tried oxalic acid? I've used it with success, but it's laborious. You have to use it with hot water and scrub it in (goggles and protective clothing are a must), then rinse it off and repeat as necessary.

    Jackie

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    1. Hi Jackie, I read that that one was best for lifting water marks or black marks out and I don't have those. Wonder how it'd work on the grease spots though! Plus it sounds like an outside job and the table won't fit through the door! x

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  2. fascinating reading - looking forward to the next pics. ♥

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    1. Bless you Teri! Fascinating for some of us! x

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  3. I suspect you won't see the grease spots when the whole thing is done. But then you're probably more meticulous than slap dash me. Good luck and looking forward to seeing it in all its finished glory. xx

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  4. I quite like mini imperfections on furniture, especially if its old. I have never tried bleaching wood, I've gone through various waxing/painting phases but never that....well, I suppose there is always a first time! I cant wait to see how it turns out.

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    1. I agree, but there's imperfections and imperfections! I love the imperfect look of milk paint but a pale table with orange spots doesn't grab me!

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  5. Yes, the oxalic acid is definitely an outdoor activity.

    Not sure about removing a deep seated grease spot - you could always make it into a faux knot and get busy with some stain pens:-)

    Jackie

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  6. I wouldn't even have noticed those oil spots, that's how unobservant I am! I am sure the table will look fabulous when you've done. And I bet the house is looking great in readiness for those telly folk. Now - are you going to reveal which telly folk they are? You're on the cusp of fame and fortune, Emma Kate! xxxx

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    1. The house is a huge mess! We're (I'm) moving all the furniture around. Again! xxxx

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  7. Wow, that wood bleach really works - big difference! I didn't even know there was such a product, so it's good to know. Best of luck with the grease spots, wish I had some suggestions you could try, all I can think of is with clothes and grease spots you can put brown paper on top and iron the spot to make the paper absorb the grease. Probably not a good idea to iron a table though, with wood being combustible and all! (Although I did try it, carefully, when trying to melt veneer glue off a dresser top.)

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    1. Yes, someone recommended that online but after the lighter fuel I thought it a bad move!

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