Altering stain on cabinets

pbrisjarOctober 27, 2008

We're remodeling our kitchen and due to budget reasons, are refinishing the existing cabinets rather than getting new ones. The boxes are done and the problem is that I absolutely HATE the color. We did all the testing, etc. but what Hubby didn't tell me was that on the test piece, he didn't take the sample down all the way to bare wood. Some of the old, really dark stain was left on which gave the doors a completely different look - one I actually liked (though didn't love - Hubby vetoed the color I loved).

We also suspect that part of the issue is that we didn't use exactly the same stain that we used on the test piece. We tested with Minwax oil-based cherry and wound up using the Minwax low-VOC oil-based cherry (came in the bigger (cheaper) can and we didn't notice the labeling saying it was a different formulation).

I've tried really, really hard to be OK with the color but I just can't do it. So my question is, how hard do you think it would be to fix it and what should we do? There are 3 coats of stain and either 3 or 4 coats of wipe-on poly on the cabs right now. My goal - make it more brown and less yellow/orange.

This is the best pic I have of the test piece and what we got:

From Kitchen

The background is what we have. The test piece is the one propped up against it. The stain color to the left of the purple paint is what we were aiming for. The color to the right is what I really wanted but got vetoed.

The cabs are made of Ash. Doors and drawer fronts have not yet been stained.

Help? Hubby did a really, really good job with the finish it's just not a color I think I can live with.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pics of the kitchen in progress here

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You can use a glaze to tweak the color. To kill orange, you use blue. To kill yellow, you use purple. I would probably start with a "cordovan" oil-based glaze and try it on a sample. "Cordovan" is one of the standard finishing colors. If you get a funny look from the guy behind the counter, find another paint store.

To apply a glaze, sand your surface and dust off the sanding dust. Apply the glaze with a rag or brush and manipulate to your liking. If you don't like it, wet a cloth with mineral spirits and wipe it off before it dries. Let dry overnight, then continue with your finish, adding at least one more coat.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cordovan

    Bookmark   October 27, 2008 at 6:31PM
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Awesome. So I assume I'll have to re-apply the poly after the glaze, yes?

Making the steps:
(wash rinse repeat...)

    Bookmark   October 27, 2008 at 6:37PM
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You don't need to glaze twice, but you can. The nice thing about glaze is that you can manipulate it to your liking. Cordovan will have a bit of blue in it to kill some of the orange.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2008 at 9:32PM
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Gotcha. Thanks for the advice. Now off to experiment. I'll update when I have something.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2008 at 4:01PM
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Benjamin Moore makes a poly that you can tint. Goes on great and you could use it right over your other poly.
It's called Benwood Stays Clear and it comes pretinted in certain colors and you can have them formulate it to what you want also. Comes in lowlustre and a gloss.
We have cabinets that are more of a cherry color and the rest of our house is done in sort of a pine/oak color. Love it!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2008 at 11:52PM
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Just be very careful and practice / trial. Tinted polys are notorious for being hard to brush apply without streaking.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2008 at 1:33PM
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