An old dressing table has been stripped of a very dark stain but it is still dark and blotchy. Will it take hours and hours of sanding to get an even look? What will bleaching do to the wood and will it help? My customer wants a light to medium stain. I am an artist and faux-finisher. I could just lime it and do my thing but I was trying to stain it and paint a pretty flower design in an area or two as requested by the customer.
You can bleach the wood using a 2 part hydrogen peroxide designed for removing wood stain. This will remove a lot of the wood stain, but you will have to do some sanding before refinishing. The parts that will give you the most grief is the carved areas on the legs. It might be impossible to completely lighten those areas.
2 part hydrogen peroxide is a very strong chemical, you need to be careful and use heavy rubber gloves. Make sure to follow the manufactures recommendations for application, dwell time and rinsing. You can always reapply for an even lighter look. Bleaching will do more than remove the old stain, it will actually lighten the wood itself.
You should be able to find it in your area, possibly at a specialty store. In my area there is a store that carries only specialty products for refinishing and repairing furniture or musical instruments. Maybe you have a store like this in your area.