Stripped cabinets, now question before restaining
I am stripping all of my kitchen cabinets. They are ash, built 1983. This is the side of the pantry cabinet, plywood, and the bottom half used to have a backsplash where the lighter color is.
After it dried from the first round of stripping, it was lighter than it is now. I just put on more stripper and went over with some steel wool, but I don't think any more stain came off. Being wet makes it a bit darker, and also highlights a cut across the grain at the top of the lighter area.
This is the front of the cabinet, also wet at the top from just removing the stripper.
I'm not sure how to proceed and make this look good. The only options I see are to stain the lighter, bottom half with a light stain, let it dry completely, and then go over the whole thing with the darker stain I am using.
Or I could apply a veneer to the whole side.
Rip out the cabinet and rebuild it?
Then there's the cut. It doesn't show up much when dry, but it does now that it's wet after using stripper and mineral spirits on it. Should I try to use filler on it and then faux the grain back on top after staining?
Is there another option I haven't considered?