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I've done that too...

John in NM
Works well on cherry and mahogany, probably on other woods as well. It won't equalize lighter wood (like sapwood) since it's not a stain, but to me it provides a more natural aged look.

I've also used it to change the color of ferric acetate on maple from green to brown. Ferric acetate is steel wool dissolved in vinegar. It reacts with tannins in the wood leaving the iron behind as a horrible green stain. Lye turns the green to a darkish brown (it helps oxidize the iron I believe), and if you apply hydrogen peroxide while the lye is still wet on the wood, it turns to a very nice amber brown.

The nice thing about lye is that you can make it as weak as you want, neutralize it with vinegar if you feel the need, or just pour it down the drain.

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