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Refinishing cabinet doors #7590594 08/27/19 05:27 AM
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CharlieCTx Online Content OP
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We have some very dark brown (espresso is the color) kitchen cabinets that given their color, show scratches and the like, very well. I'd like to give refinishing some a go, doesn't seem to o difficult, but metal is my preferred medium, never done much with wood. I do have an electric orbital palm sander and air-powered dual action sander.

Can some of you woodworking types provide some advice on sand paper grit and the process? I'd guess a 400 grit followed something like an 800. Coat of stain or two, then a coat of satin clear? A couple will require a full panel sand as the clear layer is what is damaged (came off with painters tape??). Others are scratch repair of varying sizes, I'm hoping I can get away with some spot repairs vs having to sand/refinish the whole panel on most.

Thanks
Charlie

Re: Refinishing cabinet doors [Re: CharlieCTx] #7590718 08/27/19 12:32 PM
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Prayers up.


Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill


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Re: Refinishing cabinet doors [Re: CharlieCTx] #7590902 08/27/19 03:23 PM
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Not sure of the age of your cabinets. Mine were 25 yrs old with dark oak stain. I used mineral spirits with scotch brite pad and a razor blade (gasket scraper from the auto parts store) to strip off the old finish. I only took off what would come off and left the rest. I then went back over it with a color matched stain. While not perfect, they look 10 times better than they did. Only took about 20 min per door.

Re: Refinishing cabinet doors [Re: bill oxner] #7591417 08/27/19 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by bill oxner
Prayers up.

Amen brother!


Originally Posted by JESmith
Not sure of the age of your cabinets. Mine were 25 yrs old with dark oak stain.

These are only 4 years old maybe, just wanting to clean up the appearance and fix the couple of spots where the clear coat came off in a big way.

Charlie

Re: Refinishing cabinet doors [Re: CharlieCTx] #7591839 08/28/19 02:15 PM
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you need to check in some hidden spot to see if polyurethane will work, they are most likely finished with lacquer and the 2 do not mix, wrinkle finish will occur.

best way is strip the finish off, sand wood smooth then stain and refinish. sanding will almost never look right since it is hard to feather out the edges of the finish. there are some excellent strippers that are really easy to use and should cut down on time it takes to get r done.




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Re: Refinishing cabinet doors [Re: CharlieCTx] #7592756 08/29/19 01:00 PM
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Might give Homer Formbys refinisher a try.
I’ve had some excellent results with this product.


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You`re walking on the fighting side of me. (Merle)
Re: Refinishing cabinet doors [Re: CharlieCTx] #7599626 09/06/19 04:32 PM
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Prayers are not needed gumption however is!

Last edited by SouthWestIron; 09/06/19 04:32 PM.
Re: Refinishing cabinet doors [Re: CharlieCTx] #7599924 09/06/19 10:28 PM
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Post picture of doors

Re: Refinishing cabinet doors [Re: CharlieCTx] #7600147 09/07/19 03:24 AM
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Agreed, A picture would help.
I have refinished many doors. If they are aren't flat slab doors, put the sandpaper away, it is only good for the flat surfaces. Getting into routered edges and panel corners will require stripping.
Paint thinner (mineral spirits) and steel wool are the best bet. Some finishes may require lacquer thinner or stripper.
Depending on the door size you may be able to put the doors in a pan and submerge them and allow them to soak for a few minutes. The finish may begin to wrinkle and fall off, a putty knife to scrape off the old stuff is handy.


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Re: Refinishing cabinet doors [Re: CharlieCTx] #7601060 09/08/19 05:33 AM
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The doors are a nicer raised panel,solid wood door, not flat and haven't been up more than maybe 4 years or so. I tried an iPhone pic but given the Espresso-type color, it was pretty pointless. I'm not looking to pull them all down and refinish, just touch-up some areas for example that have some wear from not having had pulls/handles installed for most of their years and some scratches and the like.

I'm trying to correlate this to paint repair on a car for example which I know how to do, so I'm over-thinking this... I think the steel wool approach is likely my best bet for most of what I have to do, the worst cabinet probably needing some sanding with a steel wool feather. I do have a can of the original stain so I can get the original tint.

It does have a satin type finish which must be a clear coat given some of the chipping I want to address.

Do I put the stain and clear on with a pad, sponge brush or brush?

Thanks!
Charlie

Re: Refinishing cabinet doors [Re: CharlieCTx] #7601134 09/08/19 02:00 PM
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One thing - if you decide sanding is a viable option, 400-800 grit is likely way too high. It will take forever and could burnish the wood. GRANTED, most of my sanding is with bare wood, NOT trying to REfinish stained / lacquered wood. I would use 120 to quickly remove the finish, then 220 to finish sand. You could go up to 300, but with bare wood, there is no need to go any further than that. Stain or touch up the stain as needed and recoat with clear poly or lacquer, depending on your need/preference.

Re: Refinishing cabinet doors [Re: CharlieCTx] #7601136 09/08/19 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by CharlieCTx


Do I put the stain and clear on with a pad, sponge brush or brush?
Charlie


For the stain, it shouldn't matter, since you will wipe off the excess and not let the stain dry on the outside. Just make sure to go with the grain as much as possible.

[If you are touching up rather than doing a full re-stain, use a tool that will help you target only the required area. There's no reason to create unnecessary mess.)

For the clear, ideal would be to spray it on, if you have access to that equipment. Otherwise, whatever tool you use, take care to avoid creating air bubbles in the finish. I've used all three methods. If you want to put on a very - very - thin coat, a clean, nicely folded rag is pretty useful for this.

Last edited by jdk1985; 09/08/19 02:06 PM.
Re: Refinishing cabinet doors [Re: CharlieCTx] #7601211 09/08/19 04:45 PM
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Thanks for the input, I'll tell my wife you guys told me how to do it. 😀

Charlie

Re: Refinishing cabinet doors [Re: CharlieCTx] #7601583 09/09/19 12:08 AM
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We, the wife and I, recoated some old cabinet doors. They were going to be very tough to actually refinish, so we tried a different approach. We found a gel type stain/finish to try. We wiped down the doors with mineral spirits and alcohol (covered all bases) and applied the gel coat in a color only slightly darker than the original finish. They came out great.

But no way I can remember exactly what we used. I suppose I’d go to a pro type paint shop, like Sherwin Williams, and discuss options.

As a woodworker, I’d rather build new cabinet doors than do the detail work to refinish recessed Panel doors.


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Re: Refinishing cabinet doors [Re: CharlieCTx] #7601719 09/09/19 02:17 AM
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I did this last fall and it sucked. The end result was worth it but sanding is a complete PITA. All the nooks and crannies suck to get to and there just is no easy way about it. We stained and applied the poly with foam brushes. 2 coats stain and 4 coats water based poly and it really turned out great.


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Re: Refinishing cabinet doors [Re: 603Country] #7603368 09/10/19 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by 603Country


As a woodworker, I’d rather build new cabinet doors than do the detail work to refinish recessed Panel doors.


A lot of truth to this.

Re: Refinishing cabinet doors [Re: CharlieCTx] #7608215 09/16/19 08:39 PM
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If what you're wanting is to just repair scratches I'd go with something like this. https://www.amazon.com/Vanitek-Total-Furniture-Repair-System/dp/B0759MYP7X/ref=asc_df_B0759MYP7X/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=216559542401&hvpos=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=7036496566448351117&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9027279&hvtargid=aud-801381245258:pla-369194408382&psc=1. this will allow you to specifically target the scratches. If you go the sanding route, as someone said 400-800 is way too high. It will burnish the wood and not allow the stain to penetrate into the wood. For stain you don't want to sand any higher than about 180 grit.

To repair the clear coat you really need to know what it is. Here's a decent write up on how to tell. https://www.hunker.com/13402238/how-to-tell-if-a-finish-is-lacquer-or-polyurethane. If you have lacquer the you can just spray on another coat. the original lacquer will dissolve into the new lacquer and it should smooth itself out. If it's poly then I'd just thin it about 50% with mineral spirits and apply to the affected area with a rag or sponge. Sand in between with 350-400 grit sand paper and apply more coats, gradually increasing the size of the area until you cover the door. This will give you the best look. But if you only apply to the area that needs it you most likely won't be able to tell. Especially if it's only a scratch.

Last edited by soonerdg; 09/16/19 08:39 PM.
Re: Refinishing cabinet doors [Re: CharlieCTx] #7608246 09/16/19 09:08 PM
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Your're probably right about the marker/cover-up thing for the small stuff, I hadn't thought about that. I am left with one door with two big scratches the fridge repair guy graciously left and the area around our pull-out trash can thing, which has worn from there previously not having a pull on the door.

Thanks!
Charlie

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