Bleaching Anigre Veneer Panels

Finishers provide advice for lightening the color of a too-dark batch of anigre panels. November 25, 2005

I have a job with about 24 2' x 8' anigre veneer MDF panels. I made the finish samples on some leftover anigre from a previous job and got the color approved by the customer. But I've got the actual sheets in now, and they are considerably darker than what I sampled with and now I can't get the color matched (it's a slightly yellow, light color). I'm wondering if bleaching is an option with MDF core.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
I've never had luck bleaching, except on samples which don't look like the final pieces. It is not precise and turned the maple I was using greenish in places. I would exchange the veneer for lighter, yellower pieces. Anigre varies a lot, so pick them yourself. I am assuming you're laying up your own panels. Pre-made sheets may not use the lighter veneers. Call A&M Woods and tell them about your dilemma. They will know about anigre. Their anigre matches the anigre lumber I have bought - light, yellowy-pinky-creamy hint of grey colors. Not brown like some sheet stuff I see designers putting up everywhere - yuck!

Are these panels going to go right next to the panels you did before? If not, I would just submit a sample of the veneer you have finished natural and explain that different flitches of veneer can vary in color and grain.

Sure, you can. Most woods can be bleached. Rosewood, zebrawood, and ironwood are just a few that can't - just too hard. One of the best wood bleaches in the marketplace today is made by Wood-Kote company. In the old days, we called it Speedeway. It's a two part bleach that needs no neutralizing and leaves no residue on the surface, like the Jasco type bleaches. If I need to bleach something, I always do it in the hot blazing sun. I usually spray the bleach on through my pressure pot in which I have placed a plastic two gallon pot liner.

If you flood the wood, you have a possibility of burning the wood, so apply each coat sparingly. A word of caution about this burning thing I mentioned. Anigre has a hard fleck, kind of like the fleck in quarter sawn oak. This is the part of the wood that most likely gets burned if you push the bleaching steps. If you proceed with caution and care, you can get Annigre as white as typewriter paper. Another thing to keep in mind is that once you have finished bleaching the wood to your liking, you should let it sit for a few days prior to starting your finishing process.