So I decided to dye-stain my desk cabinets ebony, which will still allow the wood grain to show through, but just darken the color to not quite black. One more round of dying on the 1st cabinet, then varnish; then do 2 more cabinets before I tackle varnishing the birch desktops.
Would love to bleach the birch tops whitish, but I found out the price for the 2-part wood bleach would probably be about $160, not including shipping, so that is out! Oh, well, natural birch color, it is, then. 🙂