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I know Tri sodium phosphate (TSP) will take the black water stains out of oak somewhat, but I don't what it would do with other woods. There is also oxalic acid which is supposed to bleach wood, but I've never used it. Maybe the maple is spalted which is a kind of fungal decay. I don't know if that can be removed. 



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Mark: You can bleach wood (I've done it in the past).  The problem is that the end result is somewhat unpredictable.  With dark woods especially, but I suspect even holly and maple won't "bleach true" and will come out splotchy.  Do a test on the maple and see what you get.


Kurt: Good point about the spalting.

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Don't forget to neutralize it when your done bleaching. I believe baking soda is the preferred neutralizer.


Rebecca Whitman's book "Brightwork" recommends a thick paste of oxalic acid crystals in hot water.


But I've given up on bleaching wood. My new toerails are iroko. I'll post pics when I get them installed.



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Thanks for the reminder, Harvey.  I'm looking at the wood pile and might have enough holly that is clear for what I want.  I'll do some testing on the 'morrow to see if the rest of the pile is salvageable.  I'll also test the maple as that's my fall-back if I don't have enough holly. 

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As a general rule, to get Holly that has not been infected with Blue Mold, it must be harvested in Winter and immediately billeted and  moved to a kiln.

Depending on the tree, the wood would then be near white or yellow.  The mold infected wood is light blue or grey.  If the color is not a problem,

the wood is otherwise sound and fine to use.  This is not the situation with Apple.  While far less invasive, Apple that has been attacked by fungus

is mealy and crumbles.  It runs in streaks and is a much lighter color.  I am thinking that for a working vessel as opposed to a showcase flagship, a grey

Holly may be more realistic that the white Holly or Soft Maple, which is close to white.

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Rather than using a destructive chemical reaction - bleaching - why not cheat ?

For $6 you could experiment with a dilute tint.  Try it in 91% Isopropyl rubbing alcohol.

Dries fast -does not raise the grain.  Given scale effect - less intense is better -

something a bit more than a hint of white.  Hard Maple or Holly should do well as the



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I never thought about hydrogen peroxide.   I'll get some and test.


Luckily.. I found a sheet and a half of 1/32 holly that's clear hidden in my wood stash.  I'll use that for now and test the not so good stuff maybe next week.  Just have a bit too much on my plate suddenly.  

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Hydrogen peroxide is available in several concentrations:

3%  is available in pharmacies - wound care and such

6% - 9% - 12%  ( 20 vol - 30 vol  - 40 vol )  is used for hair care

85-96%  is used as a propellant for rockets, torpedo , etc.  readily

decomposes to steam and oxygen - violent and dangerous in the extreme.


I wonder if 3% would have much effect at all?  My guess is that 40 volume

will have the best chance of success but will also damage the structure of

the wood it contacts.

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