Chemical bleaching of wood: an investigation into the bleaching of mahogany, walnut, rosewood, padauk, and purpleheart

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Louise Herstedt; Marie Herstedt;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 62, Number 3, p.162-172 (2017)


This paper investigates chemical bleaching of wood to make species-specific practical recommendations for colour adjustment of veneer in furniture conservation. In more detail, chemical bleaching of Honduras mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla), European walnut (Juglans regia), Rio rosewood (Dalbergia nigra), padauk (Pterocarpus spp.), and purpleheart (Peltogyne spp.) is investigated using 11 different bleach solutions. Both oxidative (e.g. hydrogen peroxide and potassium permanganate) and reductive (e.g. oxalic acid and sodium bisulphite) solutions were used. The results show that the wood species react differently with the investigated bleach solutions. It can also be noted that not all investigated solutions were suitable for all wood species. Based on the results, wood species-specific bleach solutions are recommended.