I have decided that I want to brighten up my kitchen by lightening the very dark wood cabinets to a white birch finish. Firstly since there did not appear to be any veneer/varethane finish, I TSP'd the cupboards and then applied wood bleach - nothing. Next I tried furniture stripper which removed a very small bit of a waxy substance but not much. I then washed with TSP again and applied wood bleach. The wood bleach was only left on for about 10 minutes but did not penetrate the wood at all - does it need longer? I was afraid the moisture would raise the grain too much. Any suggestions. Can I apply the white birch stain after washing the cupboards and get some lightening effect. Is there a paint that can be applied and wiped off to lighten the wood. My alternative seems to be painting with melamine which is not my first choice since I like the woodgrain. I know there is an effect of woodgrain that can be added afterwards but this really does not appeal to me.