While being a long way from a furniture maker and only dreaming of having the amount of skill (and tools) needed for beautiful wood working of that caliber I did find the courage to take on a project that seemed very difficult but was in fact relatively easy but came out really nice (especially for a first attempt at real woodworking as opposed to simple carpentry).
Putting in a new kitchen was simply not in the budget but something needed to be done with our 35 year old cabinets and kitchen. While researching how much it would cost to replace the cabinets and completely redo the kitchen, we saw many advertisements for refacing them. Looking carefully at how that was done, I decided to give that a try on my own.
The refacing was very simple – careful cuts of strips of oak luan paying attention to the direction of the grain so when it was glued into place it looked like wood as opposed to wood ply. With careful cuts using a jig to keep perfectly straight and ample clamps to hold in place while it sets laminating the old cupboards was relatively fast and very inexpensive. A 4’ x 8’ sheet will do a lot of cabinets and while I used oak, it is available in many different wood finishes. Since all the cabinets on top and bottom were same height many pieces could be cut at once then simply put on like a jig saw puzzle very quickly.
The doors and drawer fronts are the only part that required any actual wood working skill despite the whole project appearing very detailed. I chose simple basic joints and very basic router bits. With greater time and better selection of router bits, you can easily make very ornate doors if you chose but for the first try I wanted them to look good and it is easier to get good results if not trying to get too fancy.
Adding a couple coats of stain and super fine sanding between coats makes sure the finish is perfect. After the pictures I did also go back and add a coat of lacquer for a harder and glossier finish as well. While not fine furniture that I dream about making someday, my very modest wood working shop and skills yielded a result we are happy with saved many thousands over having new cabinetry installed. For the bathroom I will go with new cabinets- but I intend to try to build the cabinets myself instead of simply refacing those.