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Refinishing cabinets?

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  • Refinishing cabinets?

    I want to refinish and lighten up some kitchen cabinets. A friend of mine used a 2 part method of stripping, stain removal and sanding. OOps I guess that's 3 part. His turned out very well. I'm wondering about those sloppy chemicals. Is it that much easier or would sanding do just as well? The cabinet doors are solid oak.
    Any suggestions?


  • #2
    Chemical strippers are unquestionably a nuisance to use. However, unless your cabinet doors are simply flat, you may find sanding to be a bit of a challenge. Raised panels are a challenge to sand so that everything is evenly down to the bare wood. Add to that, the chances of sanding away the details of the molding would make the task prohibitive to most power sanders, etc.

    Some strippers offer less odor. Even so, I think I'd remove the doors, drawers, etc. to work outside, in the garage, or whatever. Obviously the frames would have to be done in place, unless you're going to the trouble of removing everything from the kitchen.

    Let us know how you make out. I just put new cabinets in our kitchen, but the LOML wanted to keep the old pantry and "China" cabinet. They are slightly darker than the new cabinets, and of course show some age. I hadn't thought about stripping them for a refinish, but now you've planted the thought.



    • #3
      Originally posted by CWSmith
      Some strippers offer less odor. CWS
      boy isn't that the truth ,sorry i just could help myself
      9/11/01, never forget.


      • #4
        Although it's been many years since I did this, I still remember well the failed attempt at sanding. After the first half of the first door, we went out and got some stripper. She was cute and finished the sanding in half the time....har har just kidding....had to get that in before OSC hopped in and edited it for me!

        Seriously though, sanding just won't work. Get one of the newer types of chemical stripper and do the stuff outdoors as much as you can. Make sure to lay newspaper EVERYWHERE....that stuff is insidious! If you're using it indoors, make sure to leave windows open and put newspapers on the counters and floors for drips. Small drips won't soak thru the paper, generally. It's best to wipe up what does drip onto a surface you don't want stripped though. Even if it's on the paper, it could damage the surface below.

        Good luck!!!! Get some before and after pics. You'll want to know all that effort was worth it!
        I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.


        • #5
          Some times it is easier to go to a local re-finisher and just pay them to strip the doors in their dip tank. I did a plain maple crib for a neighbour and that was plenty experience to know I would never consider trying kitchen cabinets with all the intricate details and corners where the rail/style meet. The gel stripper worked great but even out in the garage with a good breeze the fumes would get to you after awhile


          • #6
            i had a decent experience with the orange biodgradable stripper that Home Disappointment sells. Just make sure you get the most resilient chemical gloves they sell. the orange ones were insufficient, but the big thick blue ones work well.

            various sized stripping knives are handy, and try to get as much of the small, residual, coagulated paint--which gets over the gloves and dries hard-- towards the end.

            let the stripping solution sit for ample time, and you will be amazed how much sanding labor you will save.

            at the end, let it dry so you can sand it smooth.

            also, a dremmel tool comes in real handy


            • #7
              Thanx guys,

              I think I'll experiment with the strippers and the sanding. The doors are flat with a couple of V-grooves which I can deepen with my router.

              Any ideas about the effect of strippers on a pergo type floor if I'm too messy?


              • #8
                I'd test on a piece of scrap if you have it, but I'd be very careful either way. Get some heavy drop cloths, tape them down and continueally check to make sure you don't eat through and damage your floors or step in the drippings and track them into other areas. This stuff will eat through all but the strongest gloves, rapidly destroy plastic handled brushes, etc.

                Seriously consider removing the doors and taking them out of the house for stripping. If you don't have a garage, at least do them in the back yard or somewhere that you have good air circulation. Stripper is real nasty stuff.



                • #9
                  Striping cabinets

                  Here's how I do it. I prefer to use Savogran Stripeeze semi paste stripper, it is a water wash off type. Remove door & drawers do them outside or in garage. I put a coat or 2 on and then scrape off, another coat to act as a wash coat. I then remove some of that coat with steel wool and brush if needed for corners. I'll have a solution of hot-warm water with TSP in it, another brush drip and brush washing off the stripper, if I can I rinse with a garden hose. I'll use a rag and clean water where I can't spray. I then towel dry the wood asap and do anything else to speed drying. Approximately the same process for the cabinets inside. Taping off areas I'd like to protect I use duct tape and then masking tape & plastic. If you can take off a 1/4 round like by a pergo floor that can help too.


                  PS. I've done some where it would have been more cost effective to buy new unfinished doors and just strip the cabinets