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Kitchen Cabinet Tinting / Toning with Tinted Lacquer

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Project by pintodeluxe posted 03-28-2012 06:41 PM 10669 views 4 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is a project where we tinted our cabinets a darker shade. The existing cabinets were the typical honey oak color (last picture), and had turned a bit yellow / orange in the sunlight. The color I wanted was more of a medium mission brown, so I applied two coats of pre-cat lacquer tinted with universal colorants. My recipe was 1.5 teaspoons of raw umber plus a dab of burnt sienna per quart of lacquer. I sprayed vertical surfaces unthinned to prevent runs, and added a splash of lacquer thinner to the doors and drawer fronts which were sprayed horizontally. I found that two even coats worked best. The finish became high gloss after the second coat, so I waxed them with #0000 steel wool and Howard’s Walnut Wax to bring it back to the intended satin sheen. New appliances, sink, trim, roman shades, and travertine backsplash complete the look.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush





17 comments so far

View KMT's profile

KMT

591 posts in 1382 days


#1 posted 03-28-2012 07:13 PM

That looks good. You sprayed them in place? That must have been a lot of prep.

-- - Martin

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3513 posts in 1533 days


#2 posted 03-28-2012 07:16 PM


you’re not kidding about the prep work.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

2707 posts in 2432 days


#3 posted 03-30-2012 04:16 AM

Willie,

That looks like as much work as building them from scratch . . . but they certainly look great! Thanks for sharing.

L/W

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Rick's profile

Rick

6753 posts in 1753 days


#4 posted 03-31-2012 09:03 AM

Very Nice Project! Thanks For posting!

-- If there was any Logic in this world .... it would be Men riding Side Saddle, Not Women!

View rickolds's profile

rickolds

5 posts in 743 days


#5 posted 11-11-2012 06:03 PM

The wife and I are getting ready to “attemp” to darken the woodwork in our home. As of now it is light finished Maple. The wife would love to get close to an Espesso color.
We have investigated the transformation packages from home improvement stores, but I am not happy with the final results.
I have been thinking, why cant I just tent some lacquer to obtain the tone we want, and clear over the top for protection…..then I happen to find this board and thread.

I would love to know what brand products you guys used to mix with the lacquer…..I have been told by all the paint stores that it cannot be done.
You guys just proved to me that it can.

Jonathan, I love to know the recipe for the color you show in your photos.

Any help is appreciated greatly,

TIA,

Rick

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3513 posts in 1533 days


#6 posted 11-11-2012 06:59 PM

I used Pro Line Universal colorant in the raw umber color. This created a medium mission brown cabinet. For a darker color just choose a darker universal colorant. These are available at any paint store. I have also used Japan colors to tint lacquer.
I recommend covering the lid on your sprayer with a rag and rubber band. This will prevent any drips onto the cabinet doors.
Also try to apply the lacquer in several even coats. It is a mistake to try to achieve a dramatic color change in one coat. I recommend satin finish, because several coats of semi-gloss can begin to look too glossy. In the end if it is too glossy, you will need to buff the cabinets with wax and #0000 steel wool for a nice satin finish.
You want to avoid runs because they will appear as dark streaks in the finish.
I know what you mean about the home center refinishing kits – they don’t look too appealing.
Tinting is usually used to darken by a shade or two. Since you are aiming to go from light maple to espresso, you may encounter additional challenges.
Good luck.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View rickolds's profile

rickolds

5 posts in 743 days


#7 posted 11-11-2012 11:22 PM

Thank you very much for the info.
I have been playing around with the Minwax Polyshades and also Rustomleum has a tented poly product, but you are limited to just what they offer color wise.
I personally think lacquer would be easier to work with as well.
We had a rep from the N-Hance franchise (promoted through Home Depot) come and give us a bid…...it was close to 5k. Thats when I decided to tackle it.
I will apply it with a HVLP spray system, and I have learned the hard way that 3-4 light coats are much better then 1 or heavy ones.

The color that Jonathan has posted looks very close to what the wife would like to see.

When people ask me what color is this, and what color is that…..my standard answer is….the color is called “yes dear”

Thanks again,

Rick

View jonpcar's profile

jonpcar

2 posts in 492 days


#8 posted 07-20-2013 01:55 AM

Wow…nice project…the final result looks fantastic !! I am in the process of researching whether I want to attempt something similar myself or hire some professionals. So much to learn.

I have a few questions if you don’t mind. Do you remember the exact brand of lacquer you used (you mentioned the tints already)? How does it seem to be holding up over the last year and a half? Finally, I am sure you are much more experienced than I am but, how long did the project take to complete?

Thanks for sharing your end result.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3513 posts in 1533 days


#9 posted 07-20-2013 04:54 AM

The lacquer brand is Valspar, which I purchased from Miller paints. It is #60 sheen, which is somewhere between satin and semi gloss.
It is holding up perfectly. No scratches or visible wear of any kind in 1-1/2 years.

Time wise, I guess it took us a long weekend with my wife helping me mask etc.

Professional bids for this sort of thing could be in the $5000 neighborhood. Or if you are comfortable doing it yourself, spend $100 and a weekend to get a different look. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, but if you have experience with a spray gun you should be fine.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View jonpcar's profile

jonpcar

2 posts in 492 days


#10 posted 07-22-2013 03:08 PM

Willie, thanks for the reply ! During the last week, my in-laws had their cabinets refinished at a cost of $3000. I only watched/saw some of the process but that crew did NOT tape as well as you did and overspray/mist was a disaster that needed to be cleaned off the floor at much effort.

That crew claimed to use the following process but I can’t verify as I was only there for short periods: lacquer, sand, seal (said it was necessary for oak), sand, lacquer again, sand??, top coat spray finish. My in-laws’ cabinet doors are still at the shop so I haven’t seen them yet, but I am a bit concerned about the finish lasting on their cabinet frames. I don’t know what top coat the painters used…if at all.

Based on your results, Howard’s Walnut Wax might be the easier and better route.

Anyway, I will be evaluating my options for the next few months; it’s too hot here in Phoenix for me to try to spray outside or in the garage until then and other projects are conflicting. Also, before resurfacing, I am going to replace hinges with hidden ones. Once again, Thanks!

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3513 posts in 1533 days


#11 posted 07-22-2013 03:25 PM

My cabinets had lacquer as the existing finish. I just wiped them down with mineral spirits to clean them up. Then I sprayed 2-3 light coats of tinted lacquer until the color was right. I didn’t use any other sealer (lacquer is its own sealer). The only reason I used wax was that the finish became a little too glossy after multiple coats. Waxing with #0000 steel wool brings it back to a nice satin sheen.

Best of luck

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View mbs's profile

mbs

1476 posts in 1660 days


#12 posted 10-24-2013 02:31 AM

I like the way the cabinets turned out. I may do the same with mine after I get better with a spray gun.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View chris39's profile

chris39

2 posts in 278 days


#13 posted 02-18-2014 11:25 PM

My wife and I like how your cabinets turned out and would like to refinish ours using your recipe(1.5 tsp raw umber, dab of burnt sienna) and technique. We are having a difficult time locating the Pro Line burnt sienna you mentioned. Is it a dicontinued color? Would raw sienna change the color drastically?

Thanks,
Chris

View Bev77's profile

Bev77

3 posts in 278 days


#14 posted 02-18-2014 11:37 PM

OMG….I have been trying to figure out how to change the looks of my oak cabinets. I love the cabinets but they r 10 years old and the sun and years have turned them yellow/orange UGLY color. A friend told me to use tinted lacquer and I thought he was mistaking. So, I started googling and found this blog and Wow here it is. This explained exactly what I am dealing with and what I wanted. My husband said it could not be done because I kept saying I didn’t want to paint them because father were beautiful wood that I had custom made.

I had done lots of research and my question is did you buy the colorant yourself and add it yourself or did you have the paint store mix it for you. I have found the colorant online by the 16 oz bottles, so I know that it available.
Thanks, Bev

View chris39's profile

chris39

2 posts in 278 days


#15 posted 02-19-2014 02:25 AM

Bev,
Would you be willing to share the website information were one can purchase burnt sienna as I can only find raw sienna?
Thanks,
Chris

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