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Help with painting some cabinets needed

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Forum topic by TomFran posted 09-28-2007 02:28 AM 1347 views 1 time favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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TomFran

2942 posts in 2650 days


09-28-2007 02:28 AM

Topic tags/keywords: painting cabinets lacquer

I have some cabinets in our kitchen that I would like to paint white. I was hoping that I might get some technical support on the project.

First of all, right now they have clear lacquer on them, which is in good shape. Since they have clear lacquer on them, I was hoping to just spray on some white lacquer without primer. The guy at SW paint store said that he thought that would work.

He said to:

  • scuff sand with 220 wet (so as to not raise dust in house) to insure adhesion.
  • Then spray the lacquer.

The thinking is that the new paint will adhere to the previous finish because it was a lacquer finish.

Any help would be appreciated as to the proper course of action.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28


17 replies so far

View edp's profile

edp

109 posts in 2616 days


#1 posted 09-28-2007 03:11 AM

You are fortunate in that lacquer will rewet itself. Clean and rinse the surfaces well first. Then all you need to do is buff enough to knock down the gloss. That will tell you that the surface tension has been broken. No need to raise a dust cloud or wet sand. I would be comfortable using a new piece of purple scotchbrite to prep the surface for a new coat. Keep in mind though that lacquer is quite aromatic. You will need plenty of fans and fresh outside air.

Ed

-- Come on in, the beer is cold and the wood is dry. www.crookedlittletree.com

View Don Niermann  's profile

Don Niermann

209 posts in 2628 days


#2 posted 09-28-2007 03:17 AM

You might also consider that lacquer is very explosive when sprayed. Fans will not get it since the motors spark.

-- WOOD/DON (...one has the right to ones opinion but not the right to ones own facts...)

View TomFran's profile

TomFran

2942 posts in 2650 days


#3 posted 09-28-2007 03:19 AM

Thanks, Ed! I knew I could get some help here.

My plan was to remove all the doors and spray them outside. Because it’s lacquer, I figured it would dry before bugs and dust settled in it.

As for the faceframes, my plan was to use some enamel on those, since I can’t carry them outside and paint them, and lacquer is no good for brushing.

I like the purple Scotchbrite idea.

What would you use to clean them with?

So, in your opinion, no primer is necessary, right?

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

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TomFran

2942 posts in 2650 days


#4 posted 09-28-2007 03:21 AM

Thanks for the warning regarding lacquer, Don. I always spray it outdoors, and I don’t use fans either.

I will also be using an HVLP gun which will minimize overspray.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2970 days


#5 posted 09-28-2007 04:21 AM

.....I’ve sprayed lacquer inside for years with and with out a fan…I understand the warning and the need for safety…still…I just don’t know….

View Aubrey's profile

Aubrey

43 posts in 2628 days


#6 posted 09-28-2007 04:51 AM

Never sprayed lacquer inside or out but if you decide to go for inside be sure to put the pilot lights out.

Tom, I would say that your biggest issue is going to be getting the surface clean. Kitchens are especially notorious for greasy film residues which will wreak havoc with your new finish.

I would recommend a mild solution of TSP (or similar) cleaner to clean the surface before and after scuffing with either the purple pad or sandpaper.

-- Jesus was a Jewish carpenter.

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TomFran

2942 posts in 2650 days


#7 posted 09-28-2007 02:05 PM

Aubrey,

Thanks for the advice on getting the surface very clean. I am going to work hard at accomplishing that because, I agree, that will be a key factor in assuring that I get good adhesion. Fortunately, the cabinets are pretty clean already, but I’m sure there is still lots of foreign matter on them which will need to be gone.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

1992 posts in 3061 days


#8 posted 09-28-2007 02:28 PM

Tom: I don’t really think the scuffing process is necessary if you are spraying lacquer over old lacquer. I would recommend cleaning the surface with a solvent to remove the kitchen grease. I would use Paint Thinner, or Mineral Spirits for that. If you wiped it quick enough, you could use lacquer thinner. I suppose the scuffing would help with the cleaning process, but raising the dust seems like a wasted step to me, unless the finish is rougher than you want to spray over.

If it were me, I would spray doors and drawer fronts outside, and brush the face frames in the house. Brushing lacquer over lacquer isn’t all that much fun since it is hard to pull a brush quickly enough to avoid it sticking and leaving brush marks, so you might want to switch to an Alkyd based paint for the face frames.

The Alkyd Paint won’t melt the old finish, so then, you would want to scuff the face frame, and I would wipe with a deglosser liquid.

I have painted old cabinets with an Alkyd based white paint before, and it is a dream to work with, although it does take a long time to dry. I have also sprayed it successfully, so you might consider that instead of spraying lacquer. Still, I wouldn’t spray inside of the house.

I do a lot of lacquer spraying in the shop with my expl. proof booth. If it is nice outside, I can spray outside as well, but I always seem to get a bug stuck somewhere. No big deal with lacquer, I just let it dry, and sand the little bugger out, and spray a touch up on his “spot.” This is not as easy to fix if you spray the Alkyd. A good reason to use the white lacquer in the spraying process.

There are many reasons I wouldn’t want to spray lacquer in a house: Danger, fumes, overspray, Danger, fumes, overspray, Danger, fumes, overspray, Danger, fumes, overspray, Danger…........

My last piece of advice, don’t rely completely on SW employees for advice. They are usually young, and not well experienced in paint, and have no experience in wood finishing. I figure out what I want to do, and then just tell the young guys at SW what I want to buy. Several other pros have had the same experience in different stores around the country. It seems to be the same no matter where you go. They offer good advice for the plain and simple stuff, such as ladies trying to paint their living room wall with paint, etc. but not experienced for the tougher stuff a professional stumbles into a lot of times. I have always found the kids to be helpful, friendly, courteous, but just not experienced enough to talk me out of doing what experience has shown me. There are some benefits to living awhile.

let us know what else you need,
Mark

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com

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TomFran

2942 posts in 2650 days


#9 posted 09-28-2007 02:52 PM

Mark,

Thank you, Thank you! I appreciate your comprehensive treatment of my project. Again, as I said in a previous post, I just knew I’d get the help I needed for this project from my “buds” at L J.

It’s kind of funny what you said about the SW guys. I’ve talked to several “paint professionals” about my project, and I’ve gotten conflicting advice from them. My hope was that I would find enough of what they said that was consistent to be assured that it was good advice, but that’s why I ended up putting up this post – I still wasn’t sure of what to do.

I have gotten a lot of good help here, and I really do appreciate all of you who have wei. By the way, I don’t have any pilot lights here, since out biggest challenge here in South Carolina is air conditioning – not heat.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

1992 posts in 3061 days


#10 posted 09-28-2007 03:09 PM

I think you have the right approach. I ask a lot of questions around also, and take what is consistent, and what fits my experience gut feel. I had to add, that I always ask my dad. He has forgotten more about woodworking and finish than I have ever learned. Also, for every way there is to do a project, there is also another way. I see that a lot in the “how to” books I read. The authors are sometimes better writers than they are craftsmen.

I think the advice you have gotten already has been sound, all of the methods that everyone has given will work I feel. For instance, using the TSP is a good idea, but it isn’t something I would have laying around my shop, whereas Paint Thinner is. You get the idea.

I gave a quote about 9 years ago to a lady that wanted her cabinets painted white. She about coughed out a lung when I told her what it would cost.

Several years later she told me that she did it herself, but it took a couple of years to do it all. She confessed that she had grown sick of the mess and the project by the time it was done, and she couldn’t believe how much work it turned out to be. And she added that she knew now why my bid had so many manhours in it. I looked at her work, and it was ok for an amatuer, but I would have made it look a lot better.

The devil is in the details, such as the filled cracks around the panels where they go into the frame, the brush marks all consistent and in a line, the smoothness of the paint work, making sure no door closes before it is completely dry so that it doesn’t stick and leave a “spot” on the face frame, etc.

Homeowners don’t think about those things, but not doing those things makes a big difference in how it looks. In all of the HGTV shows, the camera work is always far enough way and moving quickly, so that you don’t see all of those flaws when they show you what the cabinet painting work looked like after they did over the night before to finish up the kitchen in 24 hours. whew. Those shows make it hard for an honest craftsman to make a living these days, as they set up expectations that are not obtainable in real life.

Still it felt good to hear her confession, as I stepped over the stain from where her lung had hit the floor as I left her house. ha. (just kidding about the lung). I see a lot of “lungs” coughed out these days, makes me sad. I seem to continue to have that effect on people, even 9 years later.

I knew the time involved when I did the bid, as I had just finished up painting my Pastor’s cabinets for free the winter before.

Side Note: That Pastor took a better job and sold the house and moved about 3 months after I finished his wife’s kitchen. I learned a lesson on that deal. Still, I enjoyed the work and the service it gave them.

Take photos and keep us posted on your progress.

Mark

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com

View TomFran's profile

TomFran

2942 posts in 2650 days


#11 posted 09-28-2007 03:39 PM

Mark,

Thanks again for the input. If the project turns out good, I’ll post some pictures. If not, I’ll be a good cameraman like the ones you described in those HGTV shows ;^D
————————————————————————————————-

”I knew the time involved when I did the bid, as I had just finished up painting my Pastor’s cabinets for free the winter before.

Side Note: That Pastor took a better job and sold the house and moved about 3 months after I finished his wife’s kitchen. I learned a lesson on that deal.” - Mark

BTDT – (been there / done that).

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2692 days


#12 posted 09-28-2007 04:57 PM

This a good thread. Thanks for the input on Tom’s question. I learned alot, as usual, from Mark’s replies.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View TomFran's profile

TomFran

2942 posts in 2650 days


#13 posted 09-28-2007 05:04 PM

Mark,

I think I’ll be using the same HVLP gun that you use when I spray these. Do you recommend thinning the paint at all?

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Moron's profile

Moron

4666 posts in 2549 days


#14 posted 09-28-2007 06:35 PM

To add my 2 cents worth.

Not all lacquers are compatable with each other, nor are all lacquer thinners compatable with all lacquers. Spraying a different product onto an unknown product can result in rippling, orange peel etc.,

The last thing I would, as so many others have said, is to spray lacquer inside. Having said that, the odd time I do spray lacquer inside I add a “retarder” which keeps the lacquer wetter, longer, thus cutting down on overspray.

Lastly and the risk of repeating what has already been said. You couldnt clean the surface enough. Lacquer is quite sensitive when it comes to chemical compatability. Quite a few cleaners and or furniture polishes contain silicone….........the evil enemy of lacquer. I use mineral spirits and scrub it with synthetic steel wool (the real steel wool leaves behind tiny particles which later oxidize turning green on the white lacquer years down the road). I would clean it twice. Most mfg’s of lacquer recommend scuffing the surface “if” the surface has dried more then 24 hours…...........not a must do, but certainly cant hurt.

Cheers

http://www.furnituremann.ca/

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View TomFran's profile

TomFran

2942 posts in 2650 days


#15 posted 09-28-2007 07:15 PM

Roman,

Thanks a lot! My wife has volunteered to help in the cleaning process, so that should speed things up.

What I thought I would do is to shoot one of the doors outside and see how it looks. If I get rippling or other defects, I can, at that point, decide to brush an oil base finish on it, but if everything looks good, I’ll spray all the rest of the doors and drawer fronts . The nice part about the lacquer is that, if everything goes well, I could finish all the painting in one day, and when you have to work outdoors, that could be a big PLUS.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

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