Kitchen Cabinet Staining/Faux Painting

sandhNovember 21, 2010

We are remodeling our kitchen cabinets, currently stained a pickled gray color. We would like to change the color to a wood-grain medium brown. We've been told we must essentially "start from scratch" -- i.e., sand down to the bare wood and then stain the desired color, if we want to achieve this result. However, we've also been advised that there is a faux painting process that allows one to simply do a light sanding, and then apply a gel stain in sufficient coats to achieve the desired finish.

If anyone is aware of this latter technique and can explain how to use it, your help would be greatly appreciated!

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What you are describing is a glazing process. I use glazes a lot, but there is a limit how far you can move a color before it starts to look opaque and painted. So yes, you could get it "medium brown" but you will probably need enough "sufficient coats" to loose most of the "wood grain."

You can also do graining with a graining tool. This requires an opaque base coat and a darker graining coat. While it looks good from a distance, up close you can usually tell it's not wood grain. If the cabinets are already oak, you are going to be fighting the oak's natural pore structure.

"Sanding down to bare wood" is an extremely poor way to strip finish unless you are doing a floor and taking off significant wood. It will go through a lot of sandpaper, risks sanding through veneer or obliterating details, and will not uniformly or completely remove the old finish. IF the cabinets are anything but all flat, you will have a hard time getting into details. And it will literally take hours and hours. Better to use a chemical stripper.

Here is a link that might be useful: glazing

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 7:18PM
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bobsmyuncle, thanks for posting that link. I have a bookcase I'm thinking of glazing, and I didn't realize that glaze had to be applied on top of a sealant, to keep it from acting like a stain.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 12:17PM
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Another quick tip from the finishing guru, Bob Flexner

Here is a link that might be useful: Strip, don't sand

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 6:09PM
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