Lugging - a way to lighten a wooden surface

05 of September '22

Any wood, especially light-colored species, will yellow or darken over time. We can stop this process by using lye , or agents that are based on sodium hydroxide. The effect of their use is to bleach the material and age it. So if we want to lighten or bring out the texture of the wood, it is worth using the lyeing method.

Rozjaśniony parkiet

Lightened parquet by leaching method

© Pexels

What is leaching?

Leaching is a process in which we change the structure of wood. The main component of the solution is caustic soda, which reacts with the wood and, as a consequence, etches the plant tissues and causes inhibition of their yellowing. The effect, therefore, is to whiten and age wooden surfaces, thereby highlighting the grain of the wooden surface.

Leaching can be done for both deciduous and coniferous species. The process looks similar, although for aesthetic reasons it is necessary to use a different preparation for this purpose. If you do not choose the right one, the result will most likely be a gray-green coloration of the surface.

Drewniana ścianka pobielona za pomocą procesu ługowania

Wooden wall whitened using the leaching process

© Unsplash

How does the leaching process work?

The first preparatory step for leaching is sanding. It is necessary to get rid of any residual paint or varnish in the process. The wood should be even and smooth. Suitable for this purpose will be sandpaper with a gradation of 80-100 at first, and then 120-200. In some places it is worth to make the work easier, using an electric sander or sanding the surface.

Next, the material should be thoroughly dusted off with a red pad, or a vacuum cleaner with a brushed tip. We can wash the surface with a damp cloth and wait until the water evaporates completely.

Then we proceed to lye the wood. Since lye is a corrosive substance, it is necessary to ensure the necessary safety measures during the process. So it will be necessary to wear protective gloves, a mask, goggles and appropriate outer clothing. It will also be fundamental to work in a well-ventilated room.

We can spread the lye using a brush with nylon bristles, or a paint roller. It is necessary to spread the product evenly over the entire surface. At intervals of several hours, repeat this activity at least once more.

After waiting a day, the etched surface needs to be gently sanded again. Finally, the material should be impregnated with a special wood oil or wax. This will protect the material from moisture and dirt and deepen its shade. We can choose a tinted wax paste, which will help create an aesthetically pleasing final surface.

Elaboration: Liwia Sus

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