Glazing Kitchen Cabinets... good or bad idea?

kbkbOctober 13, 2005

I have natural maple cabinets in my kitchen, in good condition, only 6 years old. I am interested in making them darker ... something slightly lighter than a traditional cherry look.

We talked about replacing doors and resurfacing the frames, but there are so many doors that it was close to $10K for this option, which isn't in my budget. My cabinet maker suggested glazing, which I am unfamiliar with. He brought over a couple of samples, but I am concerned about the quality of the finish. The sample I like looks a little "cloudy" and the color is a little uneven. Here are my questions...

1) Is it normal for it to look cloudy? Is this a feature of glazing, or is it possibly not a great sample?

2) Is it normal for the color to be uneven? Again, is this a feature of glazing, or is it possibly not a great sample?

3) What is the durability of glazed cabinets vs. stained?

4) My cabinet maker is also putting in NEW cabinets in other locations in my home. We are going with Alder, because it takes a stain well. Again, the color we are after is slightly lighter than a traditional cherry. Will the glazed kitchen cabinets match my stained family room cabinets? I have one big open area which is kitchen, nook and family room. So, the cabinets won't be right next to each other, but they are in the same vicinity... about 15 feet apart.

Thanks for your help!

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Glazing a light wood like maple to look like a dark wood is going to impart cloudiness and or uneven color. Glazing doesn't harden, it dries a little, but mostly keeps a surface that can be moved around. Therefore, after glazing, I like to spray a finish on instead of brush or apply by hand.

To answer your questions, first, it depends how much glazing is left on the surface if it looks cloudy. I like to use glazing to antique a piece, not as a stain. When I glaze I want the color uneven. I want corners, edges to look darker, like they've seen more wear. If you're using glaze as a stain, its difficult to apply over a finished surface as a stain without it looking as you describe. Dry brushing helps I've found.
Durability of glazed cabinets is the same as any other. The glaze offers no protection, its your finish, lacquer, poly, varnish, whatever that provides the durability. Alder is a great wood and is the cherry of the west. A great wood that can be made to look like many others. I have no idea if it will match. Glazing maple cabinets to look like cherry, using Alder to look like glazed maple cherry cabinets... The problem you're going to have is he is applying stain to new wood, how the Alder takes the stain you'll only know once its applied. After the new cabinets are to your liking, then I'd mix the glaze on a maple finished sample (similar to your current cabinets) to match the Alder new ones.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2005 at 8:23AM
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Just remember, glazing is just another form of antiquing, and you will get some variation in the finish because of the manual nature of both the glazing process and the mixing of the glaze itself.

Here is a link that might be useful: Glazing kitchen cabinets info

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 1:54AM
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Glazing is just a way to make it look dirty.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 3:54PM
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I'm not sure about that... Glazing is one of my regular techniques. More things leave my shop glazed than not. While one technique is to, as it's known, "Dirty up," there are other applications:
* Increase richness and depth
* Accent molding, carving, grain and distress marks
* Faux graining
* Faux aging
* Blend dissimilar colors
* Alter hue or color (add or neutralize colors)
* Subdue stain color
* Control splotching

Most often, I employ them to 'tweak' colors to get a good color match when I'm either trying to match something or I'm only stripping part of a piece or part of a set.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 6:01PM
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Kitchen cabinets made in the last 15 or so years are candidates for having conversion or 2K finishes on them. These are tough-wearing, but most, if not all, finishes (including themselves outside a very right "recoat window") have a very difficult time adhering to them. If you have one of these finishes, post-factory glazing may not be an option.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 6:04PM
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