Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Finishing kitchen cabinets

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Finishing kitchen cabinets

    Hello all.

    I have a question on finishing kitchen cabinets. We are going to be getting new unfinished door and draw fronts for our cabinets. I think we are going to go with a cherry or oak. I am going to sand the cabinet frames then lightly stain the frame and the doors the same.

    My question is after the stain is it best to put on a Polyurethane to seal it or is there something better to use?

    Thanks for the help.

  • #2
    Re: Finishing kitchen cabinets

    IMO poly is the best in terms of cleaning, unless you have the equipment and know-how to spray lacquer.
    ken
    Poplar Branch Wood Crafts

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Finishing kitchen cabinets

      I presume that your cabinets are going to be red oak. I'm not sure if you've done this kind of project before, but I suggest you try your stain on a scrap before you proceed.

      We just put finished red oak cabinets in our kitchen. I had originally considered buying unfinished cabinets and doing the final myself. The kitchen had red oak wainscote all around, but it was pretty beat up. We had taken most of that off the walls with the idea of refinshing it to match the new cabinets, once they were purchased.

      After some consideration, we decided that timewise, we'd be ahead if we just purchased the cabinets in a finished state and then just put our efforts into dealing with the red oak wainscote. So, we picked out the finish we wanted and I decided to experiment before we actually bought the cabinets. Using one of the existing wainscote boards (1 x 4 red oak), I decided to make an example that I could then take to the store, for a match. I'm really glad I did, because trying to stain the red oak was a real challenge!

      I was able to easily remove the old finish as it was only a light coat of varnish. But when I went to stain the trial board, I discovered how porous red oak can be. I did have experience refinishing old furniture that was made with white oak, cherry, maple, and even walnut; but the results of this stuff proved that I had never worked with red oak before.

      Using a penetrating stain, I quickly discovered that the porosity of the wood lends itself to an abundance of bleedback. I had read about this, but this was the first time I experienced it. Applying the stain, I waited 10 minutes and wiped it off. Too much seemed to come off, so I figured I would undoubtedly have to apply a few coats. But before I could apply the second, I noticed "splotches" as the previously applied stain bled back out of the pores.

      Bottom line was that with just one application of MinWax oil-base penetrating stain, I got bleed-back for days. Even after five days of sitting in the sun (this past summer), that one board continued to bleed. So I wiped it down completely with mineral spirits, let it dry and then resanded it... only to find the stain deep in the pores. That particular board was useless. So, maybe it was the brand, maybe it was the wrong stain for the application.

      To make a long story short, I found the most recommended stain for red oak is a "gel-type" stain, which sits on the surface. The oak should be sealed first before applying the gel stain. The gel stain poses some further challenges as application of a top varnish by rubbing or brushing can lift or smear the gel stain, so care needs to be taken. Because some of this wainscote was still on the walls, applying a finish with my spray gun was out of the question. So, a bit of reconsideration was in order!

      I ended up buying "natural" finish cabinets (actually what the mfg, called "Golden Oak") and then giving my waincote a matching finish, applying four coats of oil-based polyurethane. The first two coats were cut to 50% and the last two coats were 80/20 (20 being the thinner). The thinning is required because the appication was with a brush. Otherwise, you'll get air-bubbles, no matter how careful you are. I used the oil-based poly because it will darken with age. The end result was great and my wife is quite happy.

      So obviously I am no expert here, but I thought it should be mentioned just in case you have the same illusion that I had. I'd hate to see you buy these new cabinet doors and trim and discover the problem after you've already applied a color or darkened stain. From my experience that would be difficult, if not impossible to recover from.

      You could go with a stain/poly mixture (like MinWax Polyshades), but I'm sure the wood would have to be sealed first. The best thing to do is see what kind of advice some of the more experienced guys have to offer and even then, try it out on a scrap or on the back where a mistake won't be noticeable.

      Good luck on your project,

      CWS
      Last edited by CWSmith; 02-13-2007, 01:24 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Finishing kitchen cabinets

        Yep, RO is a pain to stain, which is just another reason to not use stain, let the natural beauty of wood be enough. Sorry, I just don't like to see beautiful wood discolored with stain.
        Enough of that. Zinnser Sealcoat (dewaxed shellac) is excellent for sealing porus wood. The directions say that it can be stained over, but obviously I haven't tried that. Poly over Sealcoat works fine. Another benefit is that after a couple coats of Sealcoat, it takes less coats of Poly or other finish to give the finish coat, since the first couple coats of Poly arent soaking into the wood.
        ken
        Poplar Branch Wood Crafts

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Finishing kitchen cabinets

          Thanks for the help CW and Ken. I have never done this type of poject before so I don't want to mess it up to bad. I usually have trouble with my finishes so I will take any help that I can get.

          We were thinking of using some rough cut white oak that I bought at an auction. My brother has a neighbor that makes cabinets so we would give him the wood to make the doors. It would be cheaper that way.

          I think the cabinets that we have now are hickory. They have a slight yellowish tint to them. I have never worked with hickory before, does it finish up easy?

          Again thanks for the help.

          Leif

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Finishing kitchen cabinets

            Wow, it's always tough when you mix woods on a job. If you have Hickory cabinets, neither red oak or cherry will match up well. Hickorys grain and color variations are very unique and "may" not go well with those two choices.
            With that said, from a color standpoint only, Red Oak would be my choice. I'm not sure how red your red oak will be, but here in Arizona, what we get is not the bright deep red that i've seen in other places. Most of the RO I get is almost blonde in color with a hint of red.
            My suggestion is to make your choice and then experiment with stain on scraps that most closely match all your RO.

            As far as finish, I've tried the "gel" stains and do not like them at all.
            For a stock color, just about any oil stain (minwax) will do nicely. Brush it on, wipe it off. Period! Leaving stain on the surface is asking for delamination problems when topcoating. It must be dry too.

            After staining, If you really want durability, polyurathane is the way to go. (i'm talking your basic oil base polyurathane, not the water crap.)
            It WILL yellow over time so take that into consideration too.

            For speed and finish, I shoot lacquer on all my jobs. Poly is just too slow and messy for me.

            You can ck out a natural red oak kitchen I recently did on my web site.

            Mark

            http://www.wonders-in-wood.us
            Congratulations to Mr. "the sky is falling" Al Gore, nominated the new Village Idiot!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Finishing kitchen cabinets

              I find the best way to stain wood is to use a cheese cloth and apply sparing , applying 2 or more coats of stain to achive the depth of color you are looking for .then clear lacquer satin or gloss .
              rent a hlvp machine from hd the learning curve is fast .


              retired pro painter

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Finishing kitchen cabinets

                What is an hlpv machine?

                Meister you do nice work! Really like those Entertainment Centers.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Finishing kitchen cabinets

                  Hi Parker. Thanks. Been at it a long time! LOL

                  HVLP is "high volumn low pressure". It's a spray system that uses a LOT of low pressure air to spread the pattern instead of using lots of pressure. It came about years ago to help with polution. Less misting. While the finish is very nice, it takes lots more coats to get a good build up on the wood. And it's kinda klunky with the big garden sized hose. I'd like to try it again on a car and see how it goes.

                  I have one and rarely use it. I use an airless for lacquer and have a conventional gun for quicky stuff.

                  Mark
                  Congratulations to Mr. "the sky is falling" Al Gore, nominated the new Village Idiot!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Finishing kitchen cabinets

                    Mark,

                    Did you make all of the items on the website? If so that is amazing, great work!!

                    --JMD

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Finishing kitchen cabinets

                      JMD....everything with the exception of the first kitchen. I built the island for that house. She got a smoking deal on the cabinets but had me install them. She wanted a different island that she could not put together from the store boxes. I"ve done a lot of work for them over the years and she refers lots of people to me too. Other than that, it's all from me.
                      I'm a one guy shop and build, finish and install all my own work. Working by myself, i'm not getting rich, but manage to pay the bills, along with my wife working too. If I had to hire someone or rent a building, i'd fold up in a month. My shop is at home, 800 sq feet converted garage. It seems to work for me.

                      Mark
                      Congratulations to Mr. "the sky is falling" Al Gore, nominated the new Village Idiot!

                      Comment

                      Working...
                      X