restaining cabinets darker without stripping

HappyladiFebruary 9, 2008

I want to stain some honey oak cabinets darker and I don't want to strip them. I was all excited about the Minwax Polyshades but the reviews on them are bad. I don't mind some sanding but don't want to have to strip them.

Is there anything else that would work? Has anyone had any luck with the Polyshades?

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remodelfla

I have the same question for natural maple cabs that I may want to just "wash" with a slightly darker stain without doing to whole stripping sanding process. They have just a slight satin type finish on them now.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 10:36PM
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never_ending

Check into gel stain. It can go over your existing cabinets without sanding, is not runny, and is easy to use. I went over my own cabinets with them and was very pleased with the outcome, thrilled actually. You will need to use a poly on them to seal but well worth the effort.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 12:28AM
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Happyladi

Never ending, what brand did you use? I have heard they are hard to use because they dry so fast...can you share how you did it?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 12:52AM
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kitchenkelly

And how about some pics :-)

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 8:25AM
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jessie21

celticmoon is the resident expert on staining old oak cabs with darker stain without stripping. she used general finishes gel stain.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 8:30AM
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jessie21

she may drop in herself again but just in case....on this thread, someone called for her help. scroll way down to see what she did for her cabinets.

Here is a link that might be useful: celticmoon's cabinets are in here

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 8:35AM
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never_ending

I used Minwax, I did not find it dried too fast. Basically you are using a painting technique so it has approximately as much time as when you paint. I consulted a professional painter before I tackled this project. The main info I came away with was to think of gel stain as a glaze, translucent and workable. It can be rolled on, brushed on, wiped on, wiped off, it layers darker with each coat. Regular mineral spirits thin the product slightly and give it a longer working time.

Although my cabinets were painted, I did no prep work and I definitely would have if I needed to.( As a long time DIY'er I never would want to re-do something over due to poor prep work...too lazy I guess :))

Regular stain will be too thin and runny, and will not have enough color pigment to darken. Do you have a color your aiming for? The thread jessie21 listed shows my pic's. Here they are finished.

They were taken immediately after re-hanging the doors, it is still a work in progress.

Here they are before. Originally they were walnut, painted off-white, re-painted red, now a cherry mahogany color.

Close up

Anytime you an re-use your existing materials to get the look you want is so satisfying. I would be more than happy to answer any specifics.

Basically I cleaned my cabinets and doors.

Took down my doors and took off all hardware.

I did a layering process on mine but I would recommend doing a bit of pracice on some old boards just to get a feel of whether you want to wipe on, brush on, etc. I also had the counter help at the store dip the stir'ers in the gel stain so I could take the different shades home and look at them there, yours should be pretty easy to decide on since you are not working with color as I was.

As you are working if you do not like what you are seeing simply wipe the gel off with mineral spirits and start over, it is that "easy".

I think that as with paint it would be much better to do two coats to acheive the color you are looking for than one thick one. ( of course one coat may do it ) I found that drying time was about 24 hours til ALL the tackiness was gone.

When doors and cabinets were dry and I was happy with color depth I brushed on poly, let dry overnight, put on hardware, and re-hung doors.

From start to finish- 3 days.

WAY worth it!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 11:57AM
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napagirl

bump

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 1:36AM
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pettiford

I am interested in restaining my Kitchen cabinet a darker colors, so you are saying that I can use a gel stain that is darker than the color I have--and that is the only thing I need to do. I also, want to stain my bathroom cabinets that are painted white--so can I just use a gel stain of my choice of color. Please let me know. Thank you

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 5:55PM
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dana_0001

Hi Guys

this might be useful for our cabinets and the cabinets at your new house Jane. In case you want to stain them.

Clara

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 10:58PM
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vivianne

I have tried restaining cabinets with gel stain. I tried first with the back of a door, but it didn't come out very well. I have oak cabinets, and bought brown mahagony since I wanted it just a little more reddish, which didn't work at all.
Oak has a very lively pattern, and the pigments filled in the pattern so it looked even more lively. I think it only works on more even woods, like maple etc., or you have to stain them so dark so they almost look like painted.
I will skip that, and just clean the cabinets and put on a layer of the satin topcoat instead.
I just have to tell myself I like yellowish oak...
Anyway, I'm changing the countertop and all appliances and the handles, so I'll see what it looks like when that is done. If I don't like it I will paint the cabinets white instead.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 6:49PM
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jwestmorganti_yahoo_com

I have the ugly honey oak cabinets from the early 90's and I HATE the color...they are solid oak, and I am going to try this...I only want them slightly darker so I am hoping this will work. Thanks for the posts and I will let you know how it works>

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 1:24PM
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gurlygurl7_gmail_com

I also have that ugly 1990's golden oak woodwork syndrome - I am going to try a primer then the gel stain can anyone offer me any advice? Thanks :-)

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 3:46PM
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