How to lighten wood

We have oak kitchen cabinets that are stained to a medium dark color. I would like to keep those but change the color to a bright birch-like tone. What I have tried is applying a refinishing solution (Minwax refinisher) which removed the varnish and some grease. Next I added two coats of AB bleach resulting in a pale whitish appearance- texture looks bland but brightness is okay. Then to finish it I put on some Minwax Rub-on-poly. This,however, seems to undo 80% of the bleach so I end up with wood that's just a tiny bit lighter than what I started out with. Before that I tried some other rub on finish which completely undid the bleaching. How then can I get lighter wood that looks nice and has a finish ?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

pretty much the same after as it did before; while oilbased will, depending on the wood, darken it considerably.
How do you use Minwas refinisher? I have a post a few down from you about stripping a black coating from bamboo...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yes, it is oil-based. I used some water based polyurethane in a previous project and had similar darkening happen. But I will give it another go.

How did I use it ? According to the directions- I cleaned the wood, then rubbed the finisher in with steelwool, followed by another round of wiping it off with clean steelwool and a tack cloth.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

ANY varnish, oil based or water based is going to darken the wood. Plain WATER will darken wood. Sprinkle some water on and see. Typically oil based varnishes will add an amber tint to the surface that you are covering. Water based varnishes tend to not add the amber color but as you have witnessed will darken the wood. Better refined oil based varnishes will look clearer in the can and have less of the amber tinting effect.
If you want the wood to stay light colored I suggest no stain and or perhaps a pickled/milk paint finish and then be prepared for it to darken some what with what ever finish you use, oil, water, or alcohol based.
Look for a better product than Miniwax. I recently used an oil based gel varnish made by Lawrence McFadden. For an oil based varnish it does not tint the wood as much as the lesser quality oil based varnishes.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 13 Aug 2007 20:15:55 -0000, " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"

Have you tried the Minwax Polycrylic? On my can of Minwax Poly, in very fine print, it reads "Slight ambering may be experienced when polyurethane is applied over light-colored wood surfaces." Then is says "For light-colored wood surfaces we recommend protecting with Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish." I haven't tried it but it sounds like the Polycrylic may solve (or at least lessen) the ambering that's normal with the poly. Of course ambering might not be the problem if there is still some color remaining in the cabinets. At any rate, the Polycrylic might be worth a try.
Mike O.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

1. Take some light colored oil paint and thin it 50/50 with thinner.
2. Wipe the paint mixture onto the wood then immediately wipe off all you can.
3. Top coat with whatever. Water based poly has no inherent color, nor does lacquer.
Be sure to get the paint mix onto all of the wood...if you miss a spot that area will be colored (darkened) by the top coat. The paint mix keeps the wood light not by being a light color but by sealing the wood and preventing it being wetted out by the top coat; not to worry, the top coat will stick just fine.
The final wood color will be very similar to that of the raw wood; however, the wood will darken some with time just as would the raw wood.
--

dadiOH
____________________________
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

See the following link...
http://antiquerestorers.com/Articles/SAL/Bleach.htm
--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Wow- so many great suggestions. Thank y'all !
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.