While you are probably familiar with the pigment and dye-based stains available on the market, you might not be aware of a whole other class of stains known as chemical stains. Instead of depositing color particles on the wood, these stains create color via a chemical reaction within the wood itself. The effects can range from mild to dramatic depending on the wood species and chemical used.
Woods contain a molecule known as tannins and some species have more tannins than others. The more tannins, the greater potential for color change. Woods like mahogany and cherry are great candidates for chemical staining with baking soda but a wood like maple doesn’t have much change, as you’ll see in the video.
The baking soda mixture is simple: 1 Tablespoon of baking soda in 1 cup of water (distilled if possible). Paint the material on the wood and let it dry. Keep in mind that the water will raise the grain so it’s a good idea to pre-raise the grain prior to using the baking soda.