Q. The redwood beams and posts in our house have been stained and varnished. Although the grain of the wood is prominent, the color is dark. We could like to return the redwood as closely as possible to its original natural color. How? Robert M. McNab Fresno, Calif.
A. Well, it can be done but be prepared to exercise plenty of elbow grease. And don't be impatient if you want the finished product to look well.
First, apply a commercial heavy-duty paint remover.Many such removers tend to bleach the wood at the same time they remove the finish. Thus, this process may be all that is required prior to refinishing.
After removing the existing finish, and if the wood still appears too dark for your taste, apply a commercial wood bleach which can be obtained in most paint and hardware stores.
Caution: When using wood bleach on redwood, you may end up with a color that is lighter than the original reddish cast of new redwood. If so, apply a lightly pigmented semi-transparent stain to approximate the original redwood color.
When all the above is completed, you may leave the beams as they are or apply another coat of varnish over the top, depending on what suits your fancy.