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We just bought 4 oak chairs to go with our rubberwood table. Problem is they are too dark. We love the color of the table and so we want to make the chairs lighter. Is stripping, sanding etc the only option.
Thats pretty much the only option, unless you paint them
And after all that stripping and sanding, there is still no guarantee that you can match the light color of the table. It is very difficult to remove stain pigment which has penetrated into the grain. Wood bleach such as oxalic acid might help, but again, no guarantee.
You have to be really careful with wood bleach as often it can turn the wood a weird grayish color. If you can't match it exactly maybe try for a complimentary tone. staining refinished wood is really tough as you can never be sure what's going to happen when you put that first coat on. You can get minwax products that are the stain and top coat all in one. I really don't recommend these as they can be really difficult to apply and often turn out kind of splotchy.
Caustic bleaches such as household clorine bleach can cause graying, acidic bleaching with oxalic acid should not.