Cheaper way to get hand-painted look on cabs in Boston?

marcoloApril 11, 2013

I know everybody raves about modern catalyzed varnishes, but I just can't see a vintage 1920s kitchen covered in plastic. I don't think it will look "not ideal." I think it will look stupid. The same finish that looks wonderful and crisp in your modern or transitional kitchen will look like a Parisian bistro at Epcot in mine.

So, the plan has been for the cabinetmaker to spray the primer and the first coat of the finish color, then to have the GC's painter hand-paint the second coat. One coat. Turns out, the painting allowance comes in at the same price as just painting the cabs. One coat, two coats, no diff.

OK, so why not tell the cab guy not to paint the first coat at all? Should save money, no? Well, that's the downside of a reasonable cabinet guy. He doesn't charge much to paint in the first place, so the savings are minimal.

What the heck do I do here? Should I involve some completely unrelated painter? The cab guy says it's OK if I send a painter to his place, but the GC says the cabs should be painted in place after install.

Assuming any of this reno ever happens, at this point, anybody have any ideas?

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Having reviewed POC vs other (hand paint, pre-catalytic spray paint, other...) I fully get what you are saying.

I'm not sure why your GC is saying they must be painted in place after install. It's a difficult job to get all those nooks and crannies without thicker paint or drips, as well as to hand paint in place in general (been there, done that).

I'd vote for your painter going to your cabinet maker, making as dust free a space as possible, and spraying first coat, hand painting second there with as great a layering paint product as possible (Muralo is great btw). Then hang and touch up.

Love brush stroked cabinets. You're on the right track Marcelo. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 9:01PM
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I'd have them spray the 1st coat, since it's SO much faster. I am thinking that's why, anyway.

Then, I'd have the cabinet maker's man brush them. Why involve someone else? You haven't mentioned why if cost isn't the issue. And you're the first to know cost is important, but quality...

Having built, hauled, painted, installed, changed out, and rehung my own cabinets, I guess they figure painted in place would cover and nicks or scratches that might happen during transport and install. I know I am sure glad I have touch-up paint. Now if it just didn't turn turquoise in the natural light... I digress.

Is your man assembling in the shop, I assume?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 10:53PM
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The cabinetmaker doesn't do the handbrushed finish, period. So somebody else has to be involved.

Painting in place means the crown and cabs can be caulked in, etc. just like old-fashioned cabs.

Just wondering if any local GWers have some terrific yet reasonable paint guys in their back pockets.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 11:37PM
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I painted mine myself, for my 1929 kitchen. The new/reproduction cabs were easy to do. The hard, hard part was sanding, priming, sanding, painting, sanding, painting the original cabs. It took a very long time for me to do those. I used BM Impervo--amazing paint--in Barley.

Here are some old progress photos from several years ago.

Repro cabs:

Orig cabs:

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 12:27AM
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bayareafrancey, when you see my kitchen, you're going to laugh. "Hey! Those are mine!"

What's in that tall original double cab? Ironing board?

I'm afraid to do it myself. I've always been a pretty good painter, but the ole eyesight ain't what it used to be. Plus this is in the middle of a bigger reno, so time will be limited.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 12:48AM
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what a beautiful kitchen bayareafrancy.

marcolo, I was going to recommend that you hand brush the last coat yourself also. I painted our kitchen cabinets (all the coats by hand). It was a big job, I grant you. But hand brushing one last coat on it is a picnic by comparison. If you're a good painter, you can totally do this. Use reading glasses to get up close and paint the details. I do appreciate the time factor and everything else. But it's just one coat, not all three....have the first two sprayed on as planned. Would that help?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 6:54AM
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And hand painting the last coat (by yourself) could really be the last thing done. So you could take your time at it and it wouldn't hold up any other part of the project.

Your eye doc can write you a prescription with the best focal length for this job. I wear Varilux lenses in my regular glasses. But for detailed, close-up work I have a pair of single vision, fairly close focus lenses. I need them for cutting in when I paint.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 8:35AM
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Circus Peanut

M, I have someone fabulous up here in P'land but I'm not sure he'd be available. I'll check and give you a holler. You want to be looking for "finish painters", not painters proper, a vital distinction I only learned about in the course of my own painting travails.

My instinct would also be to do it myself, not trusting the average schmoe a contractor would hire. The fact that you know about caulking before painting already puts you miles ahead of most.

It's really not about the money saved so much as not wanting to be disappointed in the final result. But I understand the hesitation.

Francy! My idol, my inspiration, my fellow OKM cherisher! Long time no see. How's the soapstone?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 9:36AM
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Marcolo: The double cab is a deep pantry in back, and ironing board in front. We did the standard remove-the-ironing-board-and-make-spice-cab.

Hi peanut! I still lurk, so I love seeing your "new" house. soapstone is fine. After 5 ish years of hard living, it fits right in with the old stuff.

marcolo: Handpainting the final coat might be fun! Especially since you wouldn't necessarily have to do every inch and edge. those are the time consuming parts!


    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 11:56AM
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