From contributor W:
You can bleach the walnut and you will get walnut with light color. Just make sure you do the right procedure of bleaching. But the bleached result is never consistent if used to make color finish. You may need to combine the bleaching process with the stain application to get your finish.
From contributor C:
The original French walnut finish did not use two part bleach. That is a more modern method. It will lighten the wood too much, compared to the earlier method. One part potassium permanganate to two parts distilled water, followed by 8 ounces of sodium hypochlorite (the lightener). This will give a lighter affect to the wood than the 2 part. Rinse with distilled water and rags once process is completely dry (overnight or longer), sand, and go from there.
From contributor M:
My old books also say to apply a rabbit skin hide glue wash before you start applying your finish. Works well to lock in the base tone before you apply the clearest shellac you can find. The other thing that we do in replicating parts is to switch from southern black walnut to clara (California) walnut. The sapwood is almost the right color.
From contributor T:
I once ran a project through our shop in butternut. When the project came to a close, the butternut ran a little short for the moldings. I used off the shelf Sav-o-Gran(?) wood bleach (2-part) and was able to bleach black walnut very light close to 1/8" deep. The solution requires neutralizing with vinegar after bleaching. Years later I tried the same product on poplar to get rid of some poplar green for a project. No go.
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