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Really hoping someone can help.

Posted by anon_girl (My Page) on
Thu, May 19, 11 at 8:36

I have hand built kitchen cabinets. They were built by the original owner of my home about 20 years ago. I have very little information on my cabinets. I do believe they are pine. They are stained, but I do not think they are sealed. I notice when I clean them some of the stain comes off on the rag (a bit of soap and water) you can not tell on the cabinet though that some stain came off. They are a matte finish.
They are 20+ years old, and need a good cleaning, and I am hoping to put some sort of sealant on the wood. I have no idea what to do. So I poly them? Paste wax? Clear coat? How to I tell what to do so I don't do damage to the wood?
Thank you in advance if anyone can help.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Really hoping someone can help.

If the previous occupants smoked, what you are seeing after washing may be nicotene residue, not wood stain. Of course, grease residue is another probability. Either can be washed to remove.

20 year old cabinets have to have been finished with some kind of finish or the wood would be cracked. warped, and/or shrunken enough to be obvious.

What kind is the problem. Varnish would be my first guess, but that is only a half educated guess since many builde4rs used varnish. The other finish used a lot is lacquer. Which one kind of depends on who built the cabinets. Varnish is rather easy to apply, lacquer is more difficult.

What you use to add protection depends on several factors. Your ability/experience in applying wood finishes, for instance. That is nothing like painting walls/etc. Whether you can spray on the finish or need to apply by brushing/rolling. The look you want makes a huge difference. Water based finishes are easier to apply, but do not change the color. Oil based add the 'warm amber' tone many people expect or desire. Water based have very little objectionable odors, while most oil based finishes do. Lacquer needs to have ample ventillation(power venting, not just an open window or two) and a respirator when applied.

Shellac is not usually used since it dries so quickly it is difficult to get a decent finish texture.

The scale of ease might be as follows:

Water based poly
Water based varnish
Oil based varnish
Oil base poly


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