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 Post subject: Bleaching Walnut.
PostPosted: 12 Jan 2017, 19:44 
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Hello,

I made a blanket chest from American Black Walnut a few years ago, all finished except for the polish. Just after I'd done, I moved out of my workshop and with one thing and another, the chest got sidelined and never polished. At some point, the frame of the frame and panel lid got irreparably damaged. Now as we know, ABW does tend to lighten and become yellower with a bit of age and also, I suspect it was of the steamed variety, which seems to fade a bit. I liberated the panels and fitted them in a new frame, but the new walnut is darker. Probably kiln dried as it has the slightly purple tinge ABW gets when dried like that.

I'm thinking that a controlled application of Rustin's 2 part wood bleach will help to blend the frame in with the rest of the chest. I have used the bleach before a few times, but not for many years, and I do seem to remember that it has a yellowing effect on dark wood, which I want, and the loss of a little depth of colour. Does anyone think this is a reasonable plan? Obviously I'll do a test on some scraps, but am I on a hiding to nothing, or is it worth a shot? Should I just wait a few years for the frame to catch up with the rest? To my eyes it sticks out like a sore thumb!

Mike.


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 Post subject: Re: Bleaching Walnut.
PostPosted: 12 Jan 2017, 19:51 
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Wouldn't it be easier just to darken the panels maybe with some van dyke crystals?


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 Post subject: Re: Bleaching Walnut.
PostPosted: 12 Jan 2017, 19:59 
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Woodmonkey wrote:
Wouldn't it be easier just to darken the panels maybe with some van dyke crystals?


Hello,

I thought of darkening, but there is an awful lot more to darken than there is to lighten. There are 8 panels to the chest, and their frames and the 4 posts as legs! It is still an option,but there is a slight complication. I previously finished the panels before I fitted them in the frames #-o TBH it is was the correct thing to do, as there is nothing worse than the panels shrinking a bit and exposing unfinished edges, but it makes it a pain in this situation.

Mike.


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 Post subject: Re: Bleaching Walnut.
PostPosted: 12 Jan 2017, 20:23 
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Tricky one that, I'm not sure I've ever bleached ABW, but I'd be concerned that a two pack bleach would remove pretty much all the colour and take it straight to drift wood. Plus, whenever I've had those "blending in" jobs I always seem to get better results when there's at least one step in the process that's applied to the entire piece, or at least if it extends some way beyond the patch or replacement part. It just seems to unify things that bit more than I can usually achieve working purely on a single section.

Good luck and let us know how you get on.


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 Post subject: Re: Bleaching Walnut.
PostPosted: 12 Jan 2017, 20:31 
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Mike, I suspect you might find it easier to blend the existing walnut to the new by dying rather than trying to bleach the new to the old. A/B bleaching isn't something I've ever been able to 'control' as you put it. In my experience, it either goes the whole hog and works, or it doesn't coming out patchy, therefore needing a second application.

However, if you took the route of doing a full-on bleaching job with the new material you'd end up with a uniform yellowish off-white which you could then colour up to match the existing older faded walnut: that might be as good a route as any, and probably the one I'd aim to attempt, after conducting an experiment or two on some scrap samples of course. Slainte.

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 Post subject: Re: Bleaching Walnut.
PostPosted: 12 Jan 2017, 21:08 
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Hello,

OK, I think I might have to get out the sander and take everything back to bare wood. Leaving the shellac in the panel edges probably won't show, they'll be in shadow, so the paler timber there shouldn't matter.

I'll gently stain the rest to try and get a match. Staining ABW seems contradictory to me, but I don't think I have a choice.

Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Bleaching Walnut.
PostPosted: 12 Jan 2017, 21:44 
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ABW stains very well, I've done it plenty of times to blend in sap. I'd rather use unsteamed ABW with noticeable sap but lively colouration to the heartwood, than use steamed ABW with less noticeable sap but flat, dreary heartwood. You can build up to the colour you want with multiple applications of dilute dye and ABW takes colour a treat.

Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Bleaching Walnut.
PostPosted: 12 Jan 2017, 21:59 
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Hello,

Dying the wood doesn't frighten me, as such, just that I made sure there wasn't any sap when I made it, so I wouldn't need to!

You are right about the steamed stuff being dull, though. The timber merchant that is most amenable to me seems to have that as a rule. However, I got a batch recently, the stuff I'm using for this repair and for another job and I was feeling a bit saucy and asked for Super Prime as they call it. I suppose I should have asked, but I just assumed it would be the steamed stuff, but with more of the sap graded out. (I used to be able to pick through the stacks there, but they don't allow it now and I have to let them pick for me to collect). Now if I'm not mistaken, I do believe it is kilned rather than steamed as it does seem clearer in colour and the very little sap it has, doesn't have any colour to it. It also has the purple tinge to it that doesn't appear with air dried or steamed ABW. It seems a much better buy, despite it being dearer.

Mike. I


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 Post subject: Re: Bleaching Walnut.
PostPosted: 13 Jan 2017, 10:16 
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Just read this month's Furniture & Cabinetmaker, there's an amazing piece that uses bleached Walnut, it's like bone or ivory.


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 Post subject: Re: Bleaching Walnut.
PostPosted: 13 Jan 2017, 14:05 
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custard wrote:
Just read this month's Furniture & Cabinetmaker, there's an amazing piece that uses bleached Walnut, it's like bone or ivory.


Hello,

Interesting, I'll look out for that.

I suppose if you had a lot of very sappy walnut, it could be a good way of harmonising everything.

I was thinking of making a sideboard from American ash and bleaching that, as I really don't like the way it yellows over time. I don't suppose I'll do it now I'm not a full time maker.

Mike.


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