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A-B Bleach

wood finishing

by Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher



A-B bleach is a combination of sodium hydroxide (A) and hydrogen peroxide (B). When mixed together a third chemical, sodium hydroperoxide, is formed which is very aggressive or "highly reactive."

Bleaching wood is sometimes necessary to remove unwanted stains, even out the color, or to remove the color of the wood completely to create an effect. When it becomes necessary to completely remove the color, two part or "A-B" bleach is the right tool for the job. Here are some tips:

  1. Always wear rubber gloves and goggles. This stuff is caustic.
  2. A-B can be applied separately or mixed together before application.
  3. I use spray bottles and cheap brushes to apply the bleach and spread it around.
  4. When applying the bleach to a vertical surface, always start at the bottom and move up, keeping the surface wet as you go.
  5. It is best to NOT bleach just one small area. Always wet the entire area.
  6. After all is dry, wet the bleached wood with clear water to check the color.
  7. Never apply the bleach more than twice.
  8. Rinse with clean water and let dry before continuing with any finishing schedule.
  9. As with any project, always work in a well ventilated area using scraps to get started.


Visiting Atlanta? Attend one of Alan's upcoming highly informative Highland Woodworking wood finishing seminars:


November 9, 2013   Spray Finishing

November 13, 2013   French Polish Workshop






Visit Highland Woodworking's Online
Wood Finishing Supplies Department




Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at anoelfurniturere@bellsouth.net.


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