Need Refinishing Opinions/Suggestions
I'm in the process of stripping (methylene chloride stripper) and refinishing a built-in china cabinet in our dining room. Unfortunately, unlike the rest of the woodwork in the house (antique heart pine) that has shellac as a base coat, the cabinet doesn't appear to be original (I'm guessing 1940s) and was painted as its original finish.
Also, just to make things really fun, the cabinet isn't heart pine and I'm still not sure exactly what it is. The wood is rather fine-grained and very pale -- I'm thinking maybe poplar or birch. The inset panels are plywood (the first clue the cabinet wasn't original to the house). Oh, I'm only stripping the exterior of the cabinet, drawer fronts, and cabinet doors; I'm leaving the interior, shelves, etc., painted and will repaint the inside when I figure out the final color scheme for the room.
I can sand down to bare wood on most of the surfaces, but won't be able to get all of the residual paint out of the crevices and details. So I'm trying to figure out how to finish the cabinet so that the residual paint (why does it always have to be white??) is obscured as much as possible and it'll blend with the rest of the antique heart pine woodwork in the room. Yes, as a last resort I can just repaint it, but I really love the look of natural wood so I'm trying to avoid repainting.
So what would you suggest for my cabinet refinishing process? I'll be going back to shellac (a combination of kusmi and bysakhi button shellacs) for the heart pine. Any chance I could use a combination of products (sealer, gel stains, shellac, wiping varnish -- any or all) to get the cabinet to mimic the heart pine? (Casey, I have your "recipe" for getting the heart pine look with new pine. Would those gel stains mask the white paint remnants?)