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I need ideas for making some plywood attractive. Ideally I want to lighten it and then varnish it, so it ends up with a pine finish. Is this possible? Alternatively I might stain it with a diluted white paint before varnishing. Is this a good idea? I want to avoid a plain color: leave some visible grain if possible.

Edit: a hardware store suggested I try applying some bleach. I will try that on an offcut and report back

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I would use Oxalic acid (in deck "brightners") before using bleach. Bleach not only breaks down color, but accelerates wood deterioration.

Be sure to neutralize as directed; with borax diluted in water or bicarbonate of soda in water.

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