Two Part Wood Bleach on Birch Butcher Block

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Forum topic by cloudbase17 posted 02-08-2018 02:39 PM 1423 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 955 days

02-08-2018 02:39 PM

Topic tags/keywords: butcher block wood bleach white wood countertop kitchen question

Hello all! I’m in the middle of building an apartment over my metal finishing shop. The kitchen is an L shape with an island, and the range is in the island. I’ve got a sweet end-grain block floor and black Ikea cabinets, and I’ll be pouring white concrete countertops for the L shape of the kitchen. I would like to have a butcher block for the island, because it’ll more than likely become my main prep space. However, I don’t want a traditional looking butcher block because I don’t want the different wood tones/colors/grain competing with my floor (it’s a very dramatic blue-stain pine end grain – pic attached for your consideration). I was considering getting a baltic birch butcher block from the big box store and using two-part wood bleach (or mixing my own – incidentally between my metals shop and my husband’s taxidermy, I have industrial strength hydrogen peroxide and sodium hydroxide and the facilities to use them safely) to turn it as near-white as I can get. The idea would be to make it look like the concrete counters from a distance, but have the functionality and knife-friendliness of a butcher block.

So, three questions:

- How truly white can I really get wood with two-part bleach?
- Will using the wood bleach cause issues with the glue holding the block together?
- What food-safe finish will least darken/affect the white color once I’ve achieved it?

Thanks in advance!

1 reply so far

View LesB's profile


2598 posts in 4290 days

#1 posted 02-09-2018 06:31 PM

I have used bleach to take stains out of wood and to lighten the color but not to the degree you are looking for and not with the glue joints a butcher block will have. If it is a commercially made butcher block they are usually glued up with a glue catalyzed by heat and pressure (I think it is a resin blue) so it could be more resistant to the bleach than the glue used by most wood workers. If a resin glue is used it would resist almost anything.
Mineral oil would add no color to the wood and most processed walnut oil; not the food grade but that sold in wood working stores would have similar results. I would prefer the walnut oil because it does cure to a dry state in about 72 hours, where as mineral oil virtually never dries out. Both can be reapplied to refresh it. I think you would need to test it on the bleached birch. Unbleached birch does darken slightly with the application of oil….about as much as it would if you applied water or alcohol. One way to test the color change in wood is to wet it with alcohol which leaves no residue and evaporated quickly.

-- Les B, Oregon

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