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Thread: Ideas to removing dark walnut stain

  1. #1
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    Ideas to removing dark walnut stain

    I had new walnut veneer added to some JBL cabs but the walnut stain makes them look too dark. Any ideas for lightening the dark stain? thanks

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    Senior Member quindecima's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vmax700 View Post
    I had new walnut veneer added to some JBL cabs but the walnut stain makes them look too dark. Any ideas for lightening the dark stain? thanks
    I think you are pretty much out of luck except for sanding them down again.

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    Senior Member rdgrimes's Avatar
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    It might not take a lot of sanding to lighten them up some, depends on the stain used and how long it was allowed to soak. Only one way to find out. As they say: try it in an inconspicuous area, like the bottom.

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    Senior Member SEAWOLF97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post
    As they say: try it in an inconspicuous area, like the bottom.
    for sure..standard procedure.

    I have rubbed toothpaste into plant pot stains , it does seem to lighten the wood (and the speakers smell minty fresh too )
    “If you think that’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard,
    just wait a couple minutes!”

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    Senior Member DavidF's Avatar
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    I don't have a single idea on this and would have to try different things myself. I would get some additional veneer and stain them as you have done with the cabinets and try different ideas on sections of the separate veneer. Have a good supply of shop rags on hand, too.

    I wouldn't go right to sanding first, though. Much of what you might try will require re-sanding and you want to have a good amount of material left for finish sanding.

    Was it oil stain or water based? For oil based, things to try include liberal uses of mineral spirits with a plastic scub pad or very fine steel wool. This will remove some of the surface stain but not the down-in-the-grain coloring. It could well lighten up the finish to a good effect. If water, or if you used a stain with a finish mix included you might try denatured alcohol. Don't use a lot of pressure, you only want to get the solvent down through the surface a bit.

    Sometimes household bleach diluted with some water will serve to lighten the stain. Trick is you don't want the bleach to dry out on the wood and you want to follow with a water sponge bath. You need to be careful with bleach spatter on your clothes and such. This will really raise the grain so this where you need to follow with a good finish sanding.

    Lastly, you are down to a paint/stain remover. I wouldn't use a scrapper but rather the very fine steel wool (wear gloves, glasses and work out doors, of course). Clean up the wood with cloth wipes and mineral spirits. Maybe several times. Then some light sanding with 120 grit stepping up to 180 and then 220.

    So try things out on the spare veneer- both for the stain removal and for the new finish- and see if anything works for you.
    David F
    San Jose

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    Senior Member tjm001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vmax700 View Post
    I had new walnut veneer added to some JBL cabs but the walnut stain makes them look too dark. Any ideas for lightening the dark stain? thanks
    I'm just wondering why you used a stain at all let alone a dark stain. I've worked with walnut off and on over the past 50 years and the only time I ever had to use a stain was to match sap wood with the natural dark heartwood. Heartwood is what 99% of all the veneer I've ever seen is made of. It gets quite dark with just an oil finish and no stain at all. I'm guessing you'd be best off to start over by replacing the veneer.

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    Post pictures if possible, we can't tell what you have.

    If you used an oil based stain, you can remove some of it with 100 % mineral spirits and 00 steel wool and microfiber cloths.

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