Color uniformity in bird's-eye maple

Bleaching, tinting and staining to give bird's-eye maple boards a uniform color. December 12, 2000

There is a fair amount of color variation between the boards of birdís eye maple I am using. Iím considering bleaching the wood so as to level out the color. I plan on using 100 vol. peroxide because it is fast and highly controllable. Does any one have any suggestions?

Forum Responses
Have you explored the possibility of a prestain or a tinting/toner stain? Both of these stains are used to equalize woods.

The prestain is a dilute NGR. The tinting/toner is along the lines of Mohawk/Star/Behlen/Hood's Bleachtone. Bleachtone is a very dilute lacquer-based white or off-white spray stain. You apply one coat. You can make your own tinting/toner.

These stains are a lot easier, safer, and cheaper than working a bleaching operation into your finish schedules.

I suggest the bleaching. Bleachtone is a pain if you have not worked with it before, and it will muddy your end result. I worked on a lot of bleached birdís eye maple in the Weston Hotel in Denver when it was built and it looks awesome.

If you are going to stain this wood, use dyes as much as possible. This way the finish will stay nice and transparent. Some guys will also run a thin stain to "pop" the figuring in the wood before dyeing. This is done by staining the wood and then sanding it back.

Bob Niemeyer, forum technical advisor

The reason I suggested to steer clear of bleaching was not the effects of bleaching, nor was it the effects of the tinting/toner equalizing stains like Bleachtone. But I was told by the executive in charge of the finishing for a big furniture manufacturer that they had to drop their bleaching operations because both OSHA and the EPA were just too much to deal with. My suggestions came from a standpoint of safety.

Many large users that once did lots of bleaching arenít anymore, for the reasons you stated. I feel itís another farce of government over-regulation. They say a pine forest emits more VOC than most production plants.

Bob Niemeyer, forum technical advisor

The use of a dilute aniline dye to pop the curl and equalize the differing coloration of the bird's eye boards would result in a good finish. I would not sand the surface after staining it. A blotchy finish could result.