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For a reason known only to himself, my husband stained our 100 year old front door instead of oiling it. It is way too dark. Anyone know if there is any way to lighten it? Thanks!
Husbands do the darnedest things.
Use mineral spirits and a lot of elbow grease. Rub it out as best you can, the sooner you get to it the better so not to give the stain more time to cure.
You could even use a soft brush, the spirits (not the type you drink) and rags. I find terry cloth rags work best. Sanding is another option along with the mineral spirits. Just depends how far you want to get back to ground zero.
I'm sure you will lighten it up. You then can either stain with a lighter stain to blend it in or can even try bleaching. There are a few methods of bleaching wood and I'll let your fingers google that one.
You can use a methylene chloride-type paint stripper, which will break down the resin and loosen some of the pigment. Then rinse with lacquer thinner and a brush to clean corners and pores.
The next step would be a peroxide-type wood bleach system to break down the organic pigments that remain.
Then perhaps a cabinet scra-per to resurface the flat areas, and sanding everywhere you can't scra-pe. After all that, depending on what pigment was used, it still may not all be completely gone.
To go from a light stain to a darker stain - easy.
To go from a dark stain to a lighter stain - not easy.
It's a labor intensive process. Just keep the place well ventilated while you're doing it.
Send pictures, if you can.