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Overstaining Kitchen Cabinets

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Forum topic by ripvandyke posted 1133 days ago 2122 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ripvandyke

5 posts in 1133 days


1133 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: kitchen cabinets overstain restain golden oak red mahagony question

Thank you for all the welcome messages I received. I am a newbie and am looking to spruce up my kitchen. I currently have run of the mill golden oak cabinets that are in pretty good shape. We wanted to a much darker a shade and as I was reviewing the Minwax Gel Stain products online, I came across this post on this forum.

As I read through it, I realized I did not have any Idea about what I was doing and need to take a couple steps back.

This is my project requirement in a nutshell :

Current State : Golden Oak Cabinets with MDF/pressed wood sides and base and solid oak wood doors

Ideal End State : We want to over stain the cabinets to a much darker shade, something like a Red Mahagony 225 in the Minwax Brand.

First things first :

1) Is this Project Feasible ( Can I Achieve the target color)
2) If so, What are the steps I need to take to make it successful
3) Any Product Suggestions will help

Thank you in advance for the assistance I’m sure I’ll get.

-- Ripvandyke (Utterly...Clutterly...Clueless !!!)


19 replies so far

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

2181 posts in 2182 days


#1 posted 1132 days ago

I am no expert here, we do have some exp here though as we build custom kitchens for a living.

In woodworking one of the first things i learned is there can actually be a lot of different methods to obtain the same or similar results. The way i would choose, is try to sell my customer new cabinets.

Ok, so that is not the method you are looking for.

Then the way i would do this;

Obtain proper safety supplies, gloves, mask, ventilation, goggles,etc…

Build a small wooden tray, maybe out of 2×4 sides and 1/4” ply bottom. This way the tray is 3 1/2” deep

Line the tray with the cheapest throw away tarp i can find.

Fill tray with about 2 gallons lacquer thinner.

Usimg sos pad or scouring sponge i would submerge doors and drawer face one at a time while mildly agitating the finish. Basically bathing each door and drawer face and washing the finish off til you get to bare wood.

The finish should begin to come off with minimal to mild effort.

The face frames can either be sanded with ROS back to natural wood or you can bath the face frame members with scouring pad. Slightly more difficult to do since you will be unable to submerge face frames in lacquer thinner.

Of course after everything has current finish removed, then go ahead and restain with color of your choice.

Then place the clear coat of your choice, many options for clear coats. We use lacquer but you may not be set up for spraying lacquer. If i were you i would look at a water based clear finish like a poly. You can spray or brush on water based products and they are safer to deal with. Also when using water or oil clear finishes, it is best to apply these finishes on doors and drawer faces while they are spread out and laying horizontal to minimize runs.

A finish that i think would work, and this is not knowing what equip you have or your level of ability. But a real simple method that will produce great results with entry level exp and easy to do. Get spray can of Detf lacquer from lowes or home depot. You will need a lot of cans and so it may not be cost effective, though the cans are less then 6.00 each. Then use those cans and spray about 3 coats of finish and then hand sand with 400 grit til smooth to touch and white dust becomes visible, then spray one more coat and then spruce up with some lemon oil. This is gauranteed to give you a professional result with minimal effort.

Dont forget to have a ton of fun and try not to rush.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

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Grandpa

3101 posts in 1310 days


#2 posted 1132 days ago

One thing he forgot to mention is this is a lot of work so get ready for it. It is fun and satisfying but it is work. Many people jump in and then realize there is a reason people charge for doing this kind of work. I would say that you will want to try to get your thinner in 5 gallon cans because it is usually cheaper that way. check it out. I have also seen it cheaper in 1 gallon size.

View ripvandyke's profile

ripvandyke

5 posts in 1133 days


#3 posted 1132 days ago

Thank You very much Jerry : That is a lot of information to Digest. @Grandpa, As I read through Jerry’s essay, I realized the mountain I have to climb and being a Novice, I am sure it is going to be a slippery one at that. I guess I am going to have to rely on you folks for some motivation as well to get me over that hump….

Some Initial Questions I have :

- What is a realistic timeline, If I set myself to do this over weekends. I plan on getting some buddies to help. I have an average sized kitchen. If I break up the project into

1) Diss assembly
2) Stain Removal (Doors and Fronts)
3) Stain Removal (Frame Fronts)
4) Re-Stain (Doors and Fronts)
5) Re-Stain (Frame Fronts)
6) Finishing

- I have read in some places, that there are ways to over stain the current one without removing the old stain. What are your thoughts on that.
- How do I measure the Quantity I need. A lot of these go by sqft per quart, with approximately about 120-150 sq feet a quart. I am unable to visualize that. How many cabinets does that translate to?
- What is an ROS ? Is it a sander? (my apologies. if it is a really dumb question)
- Is there a good place to buy all these products, apart from the obvious Home Depot/Lowes. Online ???
- This is the product Choice I have so far : a) Klean-Strip Lacquer Thinner b) Minwax 1 Gal. Oil-Based Red Mahogany Wood Finish 250 VOC Interior Stain (If we go the over staining) c) Minwax Polycrylic Clear Semi-Gloss Protective Finish

I will start posting pictures of the project from start to finish.

Thanks for all the help.

Cheers,
Rip

-- Ripvandyke (Utterly...Clutterly...Clueless !!!)

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1793 days


#4 posted 1132 days ago

Rip:

I think its a misnomer when you hear that you can stain over your old stain…you won’t be able to penetrate the finish. However, it is possible to take a gel stain and wipe over it, only wiping off in certain areas (to give character to the work). This is more akin to a “glaze” treatment. It’s actually quite hard to achieve the look you want unless you plan to do something else to even it out a bit, like “tone” the work as well.

Speaking of “toning,” the other option, if you have a sprayer, is that you can take the clear finish of your choice (I recommend dewaxed shellac like Zinnser Sealcoat) and use the appropriate colored dye to color it (I like the Transtint dyes). This becomes a “toner” and will work to adjust to the color gradually over several coats. The negative to this method is that in order to get a complete shift to the color you want, it might cover up too much of the grain for your tastes. But the color shift might be gradual enough to make this viable for you…and would save a ton of work.

Toning can be a bit like an artist palette…to get the color you want you might have to spray a different color…one that when mixed with the existing color will give you the result you need. In other words, you might need to add a little blue dye to the mix (if I remember my complimentary color charts correctly) to make the yellowish oak become more like the reddish mahogany color. In this way, you might not have to spray as much toner, thereby preventing you from concealing the grain. I hope that makes some sense.

The great part about it is that you can just experiment on a door or two. Just be sure to really clean the door first to be certain that you get good adhesion.

I’d recommend toning it anyway (as well as some dark glaze in the cracks to give some dimension to everything). This is the way you get that professional look. Once satisfied with the color, then you can hit it with your choice of clear film finish. I’m using the General Finishes Enduro Var water-borne Urethane on my own kitchen cabinets.

BTW, you can make a toner out of your eventual finish, like Poly or whatever. I like to use the dewaxed shellac because it’s VERY fast drying and is kinda a universal finish providing great adhesion to most everything you will use. I thin it down quite a bit.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1274 days


#5 posted 1132 days ago

Only because you have MDF/pressed wood boxes and wood doors (a mix of substrates), you might want to consider something like this: http://cabinettransformations.mobi/

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View ripvandyke's profile

ripvandyke

5 posts in 1133 days


#6 posted 1132 days ago

David, I did look at this product at Home Depot. The Guy at the paint desk could not tell me too much about it, other than the fact that it was new. Do you have any personal experience using this particular product. I just visited the website and watch the 16+ min instructional video. They do indeed make it look quite simple.

It does seem tempting to go this route and they do have a wider color palette.

-- Ripvandyke (Utterly...Clutterly...Clueless !!!)

View Earlextech's profile

Earlextech

962 posts in 1325 days


#7 posted 1132 days ago

There is a similar product at the big blue box also. I hear good things about them, people with spray systems say that they spray well, but I believe the cabinet paint is set up for brushing or rolling. A system like this would be good because it covers over the existing without removing it.

I have at times just done a light sanding on the cabinets and Minwax stain right over them, then top coat with poly. Sometimes it looks great, sometimes not.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "finished"!

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1274 days


#8 posted 1132 days ago

@ripvandyke, I have not personally used this product, but I have seen twice that homeowner’s used it on Master bath vanities and it looked great. It saved them enough money to be able to get new vanity top, faucets, and bath accessories, a new light and framed mirror, etc.

I hope it doesn’t catch on TOO much, you know ? ;=)

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View Grandpa's profile

Grandpa

3101 posts in 1310 days


#9 posted 1132 days ago

I have used TSP (Tri-Sodium-Phosphate) to clean cabinets before refinishing. I am sure someone on here will have a horror story about this product but it works pretty well. It deglazes and removes all the kitchen film. Wear gloves when using it. I think if you use the first method you will want to allow the thinner to get out of the wood before you try to stain. Don’t rush that process. These guys giving advice are professional and they don’t want this stuff to catch on because it take their work. Don’t worry guys after the first try most people say this is enough. I can work a few hours overtime and make enough to pay someone to do this for me.
I personally think it would be more difficult to stain the cabinets without removing the old finish. Just my 2 cents as they say…...

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1274 days


#10 posted 1132 days ago

You are correct as usual, Grandpa. If it’s re-staining, the best way is to get it back to raw wood again.

BTW, the TSP Substitute is good, also. It de-glosses and removes kitchen gunk pretty well. It is easier to use and handle.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

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Grandpa

3101 posts in 1310 days


#11 posted 1132 days ago

We used it on our cabinets before applying new varnish. I thought it did a good job. I just had to get after you guys about “hoping this doesn’t catch on” . hard on business LOL I need you guys to keep paying that social security….HA LOL. And the govt to just send it to me.

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

2181 posts in 2182 days


#12 posted 1132 days ago

I have no opinion on the product being mentioned, i am partial to going back to raw wood because i am confident in that method and i do not think it is that difficult, having done it at our shop.

I do think you are getting good adv and should be steered on the right path.

ROS is random orbit sander, i think one of the best types of sanders for most woodworking tasks.

I would not worry about how far something will spread, i would just start out by purxhasing a gallon of finish and probably gallon of finish. And do get a 5 gallon of the lacquer thinner. I geuss my way of thinking comes from buying more rather less because i hate running out and i know it will get used.

Not sure how long this might take you, but doing it on the weekends would be a grwat plan.

And we use toner coats a lot ourselves. I personally would not recommend toner coats for various reasons. You might however begin playing with toner coats on smaller projects while on a learning curve. There are pitfalls you can run into with regards to toner coats. Just my opinion.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

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Grandpa

3101 posts in 1310 days


#13 posted 1132 days ago

I am certainly not an expert on toner coats but I would be cautous using them. I just feel like it is too easy to have a problem. Experiment on something else before you jump into this toner system. Thses guys are experts so everything is easy for them.

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1793 days


#14 posted 1132 days ago

I do agree it’s best to go back to raw wood.

Grandpa: I don’t think you should be too afraid with toning. You can control color very easily by only mixing in a little color and only permitting a very light mix through the gun. Ideally, you’d only use it in certain areas, perhaps on a board that looks different from the rest or to highlight various parts. But my point was that you could apply color that way IF you insist on overcoating your existing stain. It’s almost like painting…only not. :)

It can be tricky, but the good thing about it, in this case, is that you can really practice the techniques on your existing drawers and doors. If you don’t like it, you can rub the shellac down with a little denatured alcohol. If you then decide to go to bare wood, then you haven’t made the task any more difficult on yourself by using the bathing methods described above.

BTW, I think one of the big advantages to doing a project like a cabinet renovation is that you can really take it as an opportunity to learn tons about finishing…that is, as long as your wife is as patient as mine. ;)

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1274 days


#15 posted 1132 days ago

I may be mistaken, but I read it that the only wood he really has to work with are the doors. The rest is either MDF with laminate or faux wood foil or veneer (he doesn’t really say). It might not be a good idea to suggest going back to raw wood if that’s not what he has to work with.

Even if it were, a novice by himself may make a hell of a mess for a very long time before he has his kitchen back together.

Jury is out until more facts are uncovered. ;=)

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

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