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Yes, you can lighten wood with bleach. Remove the old lacquer or urethane surface with a light sanding ... then start with mix of 50/50 water and bleach, then make it stronger as needed. It will sometimes bring out the grain and sometimes reduce it. I did a cool "fade" refinish of an old coffee table a few years ago by bleaching the first two or three inches of the edges and it came out great. Take your time and practice with some similar wood if you have it.

Note too that the effect will vary from wood to wood.
 

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oxalic acid is the old chem for bleaching wood.
 
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