Finish My Own Cabinets?

rwagonerJuly 3, 2013

I just ordered my kitchen cabinets; the builder expects them to be done in about 2-3 weeks. They are unfinished maple; my wife wants no stain.

Would I be stupid to try finishing them myself? I am good with brush-on poly (I have made my own cabinets in the past along with some various furniture pieces and usually use poly); I do have a nice spray gun and a nice detail gun, but they are both from the old days before all the materials changed (1980s). Not sure if any current finishes would work in them.

And finally, what IS the best finish for kitchen cabinets?

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Sophie Wheeler

The best finish is a factory applied conversion varnish. The next best is a shop applied clean room conversion varnish. You need to find a different cabinet maker if this one doesn't finish them or have a recommendation for a finisher with a clean room. Site finished never approach the durability or the lack of trash in the finish that you get with doing them in an actual paint booth.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 11:56AM
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The cabinet maker does have some he recommends, but I was kind of looking forward to doing it myself. Bad idea?

I did my own cabinets at my old house (refinished the existing ones and built a few new ones as part of a mini-remodel). But that was just brush-on Poly.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 1:16AM
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I was also interested in finishing with my spray gun, but I think it is not compatible with modern wood finishes.

This post was edited by rwagoner on Sat, Jul 6, 13 at 1:18

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 1:17AM
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Not a bad idea, but if you want the most durable finish with the smallest amount of dust ... have the pro do it in the clean room with the correct finish.

This is one of the "you only have one chance to get it right" steps. Correcting a poor finish will be way more expensive than applying it on new cabinets.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 8:11AM
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I would say you can do whatever you want to do.

If you are concerned your spray guns won't work, why not try them and see. I don't see why they wouldn't.
You don't need a professional finishing room. I sprayed my old kitchen in my garage, back yard and sprayed the boxes hanging in the kitchen. Turned out great. It was sort of a nightmare experience but I got it done.

If you want a really nice finish, I'd spray with a post catalyzed conversion varnish. Or, a pre cat water white, non yellowing laquer such as ML Cambell Magnamax.
(which is what I sprayed my kitchen).
Get a good mask.

If you end up using an oil based poly (as I w assume you will), your nice maple will turn a horrid yellow. If you like that poly yellow look, then go for it. Don't know much about the water based stuff .

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 10:26AM
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