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Old 11-17-2008, 04:49 AM   #1
JTG
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Cabinet Finish

Hey you Wood Butchers out there want to give me your 2 bits on refinishing the cabinets in my kitchen?

I'm going to sand them down and restain.
What products to you like for the stain and what do you cover the stain with for protection?

After years of making Mrs Smiths kitchen sparkle it's time to start on mine.
Patti J has picked out the granite for the counter tops. Think we are going to make the backsplash tile.

Thanks
JTG
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Old 11-17-2008, 05:32 AM   #2
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Personally, I'm partial to tinted lacquer. It gives some translucence while hiding some flaws, can be had in almost any color, sprays easy and dries very quickly. Perfect for remodeling.
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Old 11-17-2008, 06:05 AM   #3
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Jerry, are you looking for off the shelf Home Depot products, or are you willing to spend a couple more dollars for a more professional finish?

Lacquers give a nicer finish than the ol' Minwax Poly but there are different types out there, and some are not so hot for kitchen cabinets. Regular Nitrocellulose Lacquer doesnt hold up well to moisture, bumps, or the scotchbrite pad used to clean off last nights spaghetti sauce disaster. The catalyzed finishes are the way to go, but not really recommended for the average DIY'er. Plus, they stink like hell, and I assume you're refinishing these cabinets without removing them.

There's a company on the west coast called Target Coatings. They manufacture waterborne finishes that comply with all the California restrictions. I used them for the first time a few weeks back for some garage cabinets I built for a customer, and I was truly amazed with the stuff. It covers well and levels off nicely, doesnt smell bad, won't blow your house up because it's non-flammable, and sprays great right out of one of the cheapie $39 gravity feed spray guns. They compare it's durability to Pre-catalyzed Nitro Lacquers.

I've used ML Campbells PolyStar which is a solid color waterborne laquer also, and again, I'm amazed at how well the waterborne products work.


Using shaded lacquers are difficult to touch up if there's an accident. Also, they can be difficult to spray without getting darker/lighter stripes. The recommended way to achieve a color is using dyes and stains, and only a toner (shaded lacq) if you need to tweak the final color a tiny bit.

Now I'm off to the supplier for the mother of all cabinet finishes- Conversion Varnish... I built some kitchen cabinets for a customer, and today is spray-day.
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Old 11-17-2008, 06:13 AM   #4
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I hadn't even thought of spraying the coating on. Tell me some more about spraying. Do you wipe on the stain and then spray?

Figured to take all to doors off. remove glass, sand, stain, apply finish coating all with a brush.
Mask off the room and then do all the faces.
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Old 11-17-2008, 09:24 AM   #5
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Jerry,

Short of shoting your cabinets, I find sponge brushes or a rag works great for applying the stain. I dont worry to much about the quality of stain though, whats most important is what you put over the top. I chose a high quality clear indoor/outdoor polyurathane and go over the stain at least 3 coats using a sponge brush with a light sanding of 22o between the coats.
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Old 11-17-2008, 01:37 PM   #6
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Jerry...... like you.... I don't do this work often but..... when I do.... I try and make it easy on myself.

I had to build a cherry wood cabinet in my house and it had to match (clear coat) other cabinets.

I found a new product in the paint section of my local hardware, clear coat (Minwax I think) in a spray can.

I prepped the wood, rubbed the color stain in and off by hand with a rag.... let it dry... cleaned the surface.... then used the clear coat spray.

Now.... the trick to an absolute gorgeous finish is a bit tougher..... Jeremy said it above.... its sanding with mucho fine paper between multiple clear coats that have been allowed to dry.

I, however, use mucho fine steel wool... like 0000 grade..... lots easier for me than sand paper.

Spray clear, dry, steel wool, clean, spray clear, dry, steel wool, clean, spray clear, dry, steel wool, clean, spray clear, dry and done.

Course you already knew all this didn't you :---)

PS: I also have resorted to "wet sanding" between clear finish coats but..... now its really sounding like work. :----)
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Old 11-17-2008, 02:16 PM   #7
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I sometimes end with steel wool if I'm looking for a soft (not shiney) surface finish.
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Old 11-17-2008, 04:07 PM   #8
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what's on the cabinets now? if you are left with a residue from the old finish a new stain might have trouble penetrating evenly - be sure you test it. I've heard the gel stains can work well on these surfaces. Not necessarily my choice for new wood, but refinishing sometimes limits your options.
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Old 11-17-2008, 07:57 PM   #9
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Alex is right, my bad, not all lacquers are made equal. But the reason I like it for remodeling is it gives you a bit of translucences, but covers some imperfections (like residue from old finishes) , and it dries really fast.
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