finish sanding, staining, sealing maple cabinets

lindamarieNovember 18, 2009

I have new maple cabinets, maple ply sides, solid maple doors and drawers. I have access to Ferrel Calhoun, Sherwin Williams, Cabot or Minwax products. Please suggest a stain color that will tone down any red or yellow look. I am hoping for a soft brown color like Honey Maple or Infused Honey. What stain manufacturer, poly oil varnish? I bought a Wagner's airless sprayer to finish the cabinets with. I plan to practice on a outbuilding first.

I have been sanding. I do not see any appreciable difference, except a few marks and fingersprints removed. What am I looking for?

THANKS for any replys

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Return the Wagner's. The only thing it is worth painting is the outbuilding or a fence. A good airless system is going to cost several hundreds. Graco is a very popular brand among professional painters. Never use the same spray rig for water based as for solvent based. You can switch betweed lacquer, shellac, varnish, or poly with the same rig, as long as you flush it out completely with the proper solvent(s) between products. Use a separate rig for latex paint and other water borne finishes. Airless spraying takes some practice. It is way harder than using an aerosol can, HVLP, or cup gun. The airless delivers a heavy coat which will run terribly if you are not experienced.

I think you will get a much better finish by hand. Use a brush to achieve a thick coat or a cloth to apply several thin coats.

For maple, a thin cut of shellac helps seal the grain before staining. The plys and solid wood will take the stain differently so practice on scraps of each.

After you get the right color, seal again with a heavier cut of shellac; allow to dry, sand, and you are ready for the topcoat of your choice: Poly, varnish, lacquer, or other.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 11:45AM
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Just a point---use blond(white) shellac. Normal(what most places carry in shellac) is orange shellac, which will add an amber tone.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 7:25PM
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In addition to what Aidan says, if you ever spray oil-based poly, you will wish you hadn't. Unlike faster-drying finishes that dry when atomized, then settle as dust, oil-based poly will settle while still wet and then dry, leaving little specs everywhere.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 9:26PM
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How disappointing! I was so hoping the sprayer would make this job more professional.

No advise as to which brand stain or sealer to use?

I have a gallon of wood conditioner and sanding sealer. Now, I should use shellac instead?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 11:03PM
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The secret to a good finish is light coats and sanding between coats. If you want, you can thin down an oil-based varnish about half with mineral spirits and make your own wiping varnish. More coats, but faster work, so it evens out. It's about as fool-proof as it gets.

Forget the sanding sealer. Most (stearated) sanding sealers reduce the water-resistance and will turn white with an impact. The exception is Seal Coat, which is really just amber shellac that happens to have "sanding sealer" on the label. Also some finish coats (e.g., Polyurethane) are incompatible with some sanding sealers and will not stick.

Things sold as wood conditioners don't work very well either.

Both these products are best left on the shelf.

"Honey Maple or Infused Honey" really have nothing more than a hint of a color in some marketing person's brain. That is, there is no industry standard for colors names like this. Even if there was, every species of wood can look different.

As far as brand, there are much better choices of stain than Minwax. Just about any. You might also think of using a gel stain to help control staining issues common with maple.

Remember the first rule of finishing : before trying anything that you are unfamiliar with, run a decent size sample board using the same wood and materials in your project. Work the kinks out on scrap before you risk ruining a large project.

The second rule of finishing is to beware of any finishing advice dispensed by a person wearing a bright-colored vest or apron. Once you get away from latex paint, most of them don't know what they are talking about. You may find a gem, but the odds are against it.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 8:21PM
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I have finished sanding and staining my kitchen cabinets. Should I seal before I poly them?

Have received conflicting advice.

Any help appreciated - Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 9:12AM
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The poly is the sealer. That is the major purpose of finish.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 10:18AM
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Yes, the first coat of finish serves as the sealer. I usually thin poly down 50-50 with mineral spirits and apply two light coats. Then sand and start to apply a less thinned version. Third coat is about 2 parts varnish to 1 part thinner and subsequent coats 10 parts varnish to 1 part thinner. I have found most varnishes too thick right out of the can to apply and flow out well. They do that to avoid VOC issues, and tell you not to thin so you remain in compliance. Problem is, it makes very difficult product to apply well then.

Other important techniques:
- Sand lightly between all coats to remove imperfections.

- Brush on smoothly, not slapping around like you are painting a barn,.

- Apply as little finish as possible but still provides complete and even coats.

- "Tip off" each section of finish (e.g., a door) by removing excess finish from your brush with a rag, then holding the brush nearly perpendicular to the wood, brush a light even stroke starting about 1" from the edge and continuing off the other edge. This will feather out the finish, cut down thick spots, fill low spots, and improve brush marks.

(Stearated) Sanding sealers generally weaken a finish to water and impacts. Choosing the wrong sealer for your top coat can also cause adhesion problems. So they really do little good and have a lot of potential for doing harm. It's just another way to get you to part from your money by having to buy another product. They (maybe) do make sense in a production environment, but have little use for the DIY.

An exception to this is a product called "Seal Coat" that is marketed as a sealer, but is really just 100% dewaxed shellac. It is great for sealing resinous or oily woods, overcoming silicone (Pledge(tm)) contamination, sealing smoke or other odors, and adds great depth and luster (chatoyance) to just about any wood. I buy this stuff by the gallon.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 11:32AM
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Sorry, old thread, but I'm singing the same song.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 11:33AM
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You can get an HVLP spray setup for a reasonable price. I don't know if you have visible plywood, but if you do, the plywood will stain a different color than the solid wood. You will need some large pieces of scrap to pratice on to get the colors to match. I spray on analine dye for the color and then three coats of Hydrocote Resisthane Plus.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 4:22AM
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