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Thread: Wood Bleach on Ambrosia Maple

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    Ohio
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    Wood Bleach on Ambrosia Maple

    Hello,

    I've used wood bleach on Flame Box Elder before with good results. Has anyone used it on Ambrosia Maple? If so, how did it turn out?

    Thanks
    Ben
    I've got lots of practice at making firewood!

  2. #2
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    Jul 2016
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    Dallas, Texas
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    What is wood bleach and I am interested to see before/after pictures of the flame box elder.
    I have a very small stack of it and would like to know about bleaching it and why you would want / need to.

  3. #3
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    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
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    I thought Ambrosia Maple, Manitoba Maple and Box Elder were the same thing, just different local names. Iím happy to be corrected.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    Sparta Tn
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    On Ambrosia maple it bleaches primarily the non ambrosia and increase the contrast. Same with box Elder. the bleach doesn't penetrate far so it's very easy to do a test before you get it completely turned. If you don't like the look just turn it away. All woods bleach differently. Some it looks terrible and some really spectactular. I'm talking about the 2 part wood bleach not household chlorine.

  5. #5
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    Aug 2005
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    Peter,
    Manitoba maple and box elder are the same species (Acer negundo).

    Ambrosia maple is not a type of maple tree per se, but rather a normal maple tree that has been infected with the ambrosia beetle and its fungal coloring companions.

  6. #6
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    Ohio
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    Thanks John, yes I'm referring to the 2 part wood bleach. That's how I understand it Dick except it only affects soft maple.
    I've got lots of practice at making firewood!

  7. #7
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    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
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    Thanks Dick.

  8. #8
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    Jul 2016
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    Dallas, Texas
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    Similar patterns but different colors between ambrosia maple and flamed box elder.



    IMG_1190.jpg IMG_1196.jpg
    Ambrosia maple.


    IMG_0160.jpg
    Flamed box elder.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #9
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    Dec 2004
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    Cincinnati, OH
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    I just tried to remove black fungal stain from hard maple. The 2-part Zinsner wood bleach only slightly lightened the wood tone and had no noticeable effect on the black fungal stain.
    Rustic? Well, no. That was not my intention!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Darrah View Post
    ... That's how I understand it Dick except it only affects soft maple.
    I've always heard that too. Then I got a piece of cherry that has streaks and holes that look just like those in ambrosia maple. I thought that was odd and did some reading and found there are a bunch of species of ambrosia beetles in the US. One article gave a list of some of the tree species the beetles will chew on:

    Persea americana (avocado),
    P. borbonia (redbay),
    P. palustris (swampbay),
    Sassafras albidum (sassafras),
    Litsea aestivalis (pondspice),
    Lindera melissifolia (pondberry),
    Cinnamomum camphora (camphor tree),
    Carya (pecan),
    Prunus persica (peach),
    Diospyros (persimmon),
    Koelreuteria (golden raintree),
    liquidambar (sweet gum),
    Quercus (oak),
    Ulmus parvifolia (Chinese elm),
    magnolia, and others.
    Many ambrosia species will preferentially attack smaller trees , orchard or new plantings in particular.
    https://www.thetreegeek.com/problems/ambrosia-beetle/

    I don't know if the beetles release the fungal spores in all the tree species and generate the staining we commonly see in soft maples and if so, how common this is, but after reading a bit I was more inclined to believe I had a chunk of ambrosia cherry!

    JKJ

  11. #11
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    Feb 2018
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    Sparta Tn
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    Always do a test on scrap. Sometimes it simply doesn't do what you want it to. I bleached some Cedar the other day thinking it would lighten the colors so that when I applied the finish which usually darkens them terribly the lighter bleached colors would come back to what the wood looks like with no finish. Nope. Bleached it out to a tan and lost all those nice pinks and purples. Same thing with Osage Orange. I applied about 5 or 6 coats of bleach and it changed it from orange to barnwood gray. Nice affect but not what I was after. Often woods that have streaks or stains it won't affect the streaks or stains but lightens the main body of the wood.

  12. #12
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    color in cedar

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnC Lucas View Post
    I bleached some Cedar the other day thinking it would lighten the colors so that when I applied the finish which usually darkens them terribly the lighter bleached colors would come back to what the wood looks like with no finish. Nope. Bleached it out to a tan and lost all those nice pinks and purples.
    Big John,

    I experimented with some different finishes on (eastern red) cedar. Look at the difference between these two pieces from the same tree:

    penta_plates_comp_cropped.jpg penta_patter_cedar_IMG_7434.jpg

    The first one has nothing but beeswax rubbed into the surface with a cloth. The second is the best I've seen at bringing back some of the color - several coats of Watco "Danish" oil.

    For comparison, these also had beeswax only but melted with a heat gun until the wood absorbed no more. They have more color but not as much as the oil/varnish blend, although the little lid is close.

    cedar_bowl_figured.jpg cedar_lid_comp_IMG_7331.jpg

    This vessel is rattle-can lacquer, 6 coats.

    cedar_vessel.jpg

    I haven't tried bleach on ambrosia maple but I will now. I got planed 8/4 plank from Jeffery's a few weeks ago that had the highest contrast of I've ever seen between the insect stains and the rest of the wood. I wonder now if someone wiped wood bleach over the board after planing.

    JKJ

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Ohio
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    52
    Thanks guys
    I've got lots of practice at making firewood!

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