Help! Major mistake!

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Forum topic by Beginner513 posted 581 days ago 775 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 581 days

581 days ago

This is my first major home

project—I just started refinishing my kitchen cabinets (original to the ‘55 house). I managed to get one cabinet successfully stripped and sanded, but boy did I mess up the second one. I tried sanding with the grain, once I realized my mistake, and it only made it worse. I feel like the Cat in the Hat right about now. Any suggestions for how to fix this major mistake?

18 replies so far

View Kelby's profile


133 posts in 1037 days

#1 posted 581 days ago

Is this the door of the cabinet, or part of the box?

-- Kelby

View Purrmaster's profile


777 posts in 719 days

#2 posted 581 days ago

Are the cross grain scratches too deep for a random orbital sander to sand them out? Could you use a belt sander with the grain to sand them out?

View Beginner513's profile


3 posts in 581 days

#3 posted 581 days ago

It is a cabinet door front. There was some stubborn paint in that spot. At least the paint is gone. I have a Black&Decker Mouse sander that the guy at my hardware store suggested for the job. Used 80 grit. Could that be the problem?

View Beginner513's profile


3 posts in 581 days

#4 posted 581 days ago

The scratches don’t seem too deep.

View ellen35's profile


2566 posts in 2059 days

#5 posted 581 days ago

80 grit??? Seems very coarse. start with a higher grit and work your way up. I think the 80 was just too much for the wood.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Wdwerker's profile


332 posts in 860 days

#6 posted 581 days ago

You sanded through the veneer. Not much you can do, replace the door, re-veneer , or try to hide it with dark stain.

-- Fine Custom Woodwork since 1978

View crank49's profile


3370 posts in 1597 days

#7 posted 581 days ago

You might have better luck going forward by stripping first, then light sanding with fine grit.
Are the doors plain or raised panel?
You need a good scraper also.
I like to use the “Red Devil” handled scraper to pull the gunk out of corners when stripping.

In terms of fixing the cross grain scratches, if those were plain plywood doors (typical of 1950s) you might be able to sand and scrap with the grain and fix it. Plywood of the 50s was much higher quality with thicker veneers than the stuff available today.

Sorry if there are pictures, my work computer won’t display pictures on this site, so I am responding in the blind.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View Mike53E's profile


12 posts in 830 days

#8 posted 581 days ago

The best way to remove paint quickly is with a heat gun and a putty knife. Hit it with the sander or a card scraper to finish up. The 20$ you will spend for a heat gun is worth the hours of time you will save.

View Bogeyguy's profile


465 posts in 694 days

#9 posted 581 days ago

Looks like you sanded through the veneer. If that’s the case that surface is shot. Not sure what part of the cabinet it is. Can you hide it somewhere? Cover it with a piece of veneer?? I don’t think your going to be able to make that spot look good with a stain or other type of finish.

-- Art, Pittsburgh.

View huff's profile


2795 posts in 1911 days

#10 posted 581 days ago

From the picture, it looks like you sanded through the veneer. Looks like the more you sanded the worse it got. If so, you do have a problem. No staining is going to hide that. The sub layer will always stain differently and of course the grain is running the opposite direction from the veneer. You may need to reveneer that door or make another. Going to be tough to match no matter what you do…...............except repaint.

-- John @

View Straightbowed's profile


717 posts in 924 days

#11 posted 581 days ago

I know your pain I was goin to sand my cabs down and hit the veneer of course I really thought they were solid so I painted them

-- Stevo, work in tha city woodshop in the country

View Straightbowed's profile


717 posts in 924 days

#12 posted 581 days ago

paint cabs with a super good grade of paint they will look great

-- Stevo, work in tha city woodshop in the country

View dhazelton's profile (online now)


1173 posts in 923 days

#13 posted 581 days ago

How do you plan on finishing them? If you plan on painting you can just use bondo there and you won’t see the gouging. If you plan on stain and varnish you may decide to just make a new door (you won’t sand out that round spot with the two screw holes anyway). Most site built 1950s cabinet doors were just plywood so it should be simple to duplicate. You’ll have to be creative with the stain to match the old work. Or chuck it and make that cabinet open faced if it’s an upper and that look works for you.

View Marcus's profile


1041 posts in 646 days

#14 posted 581 days ago

Another vote for “that door is done”. Maybe consider replacing the panel with glass and do the same to a matching door? I’ve seen this look in a couple kitchens where they have just one cupboard with glass doors, looked really sharp.

View bondogaposis's profile


2480 posts in 977 days

#15 posted 581 days ago

Make a new door or paint.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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