I think I screwed up my cabinets, please help.

chibear1986November 26, 2010

I currently have 8 year old maple kitchen cabinets with a lite finish, however, I recently decided to stain them a darker color to match the rest of my furniture. I did some research and applied the following steps:

cleaned with mineral spirit, sanded with 180 grit, and finally 220 grit. I used General Finished gel stain, however, the cabinets ended up looking very blotchy after two coats;I think this may have over sanded the cabinets when prepping which maybe the reason for the blotching?. Anyways, after doing some more research, I saw that dying the cabinets could solve my problem. I went out and bought some trans tint dye, mixed it with water and applied it on top of the dried gel stain. Unfortunately, the cabinets still look pretty awful. I'm have a freakout right now because I think i may have destroyed my cabinets. I can't really afford to buy new ones, so I'm praying someone can provide some options to salvage the cabinets. Please help!

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I think you're pretty much looking at stripping and starting over.

The first step you describe is using the gel stain as a glaze. You only need to scuff sand to give the surface some tooth. One coat at a time. Stain as very little binder in it and should not be applied too heavy. If you sanded too much, instead of just laying on the top like a glaze, it's penetrated the wood like a wood stain.

And a glaze can only change the color in small amounts, not from going from light to dark.

The Transtint should either be applied to raw wood (again a stain), or you can add it to some finishes to create a clear colored finish, known as a toner, Toners almost always need to be sprayed on to look good.

Either glazes are toners are good techniques, when applied properly. The mistake you made was jumping into the process without running some trials, say on the back of the doors or drawer fronts.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 7:45AM
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I would agree with Bobsmyuncle, you're looking at stripping the cabinets and starting over.

Glazing only achieves slight changes in color and tone. Dyes and stains require raw wood.

If stripping isn't an option, you might want to think about paint.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 8:11AM
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The other complication is that your cabinets may have a conversion finish. These often will not take any top coat well, are not very repairable, and strip with difficulty.

It may be less expensive to get pre-finished doors and drawer fronts and replace them. If the cabinets are face frame, you'll have to re-veneer and finish them, too.

Here is a link that might be useful: how to book

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 11:12AM
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First of all, get a small can of lacquer thinner and put a few drops on a door or drawer to see if it will lift the finish. Let us know if it does or does not.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 1:53PM
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Paint sounds easiest, likely with a good primer first.

Matching is overrated anyway :-)


    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 12:24PM
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