Existing Kitchen Cabinets

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Forum topic by MOJOE posted 05-25-2013 03:11 AM 1031 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View MOJOE's profile


548 posts in 2690 days

05-25-2013 03:11 AM

My girlfriend purchased a home a few months ago, and the cabinets are a little dull. They appear to be oak, stained what I would call “medium brown”. They also appear to have a satin top coat. I’m wondering if there might be a product out there that might darken them a bit and liven them up some??? We looked into refinishing, but the cost estimates were crazy high…...could have purchased new cabinets.


-- Measuring twice and cutting once only works if you read the tape correctly!

9 replies so far

View RogerInColorado's profile


321 posts in 1375 days

#1 posted 05-25-2013 04:13 AM

If the finish is good, I don’t think anything that will “add color” will stick permanently. Gotta strip it first. If you can follow the directions on a can, you can do this without hiring the work out.

View Bluepine38's profile


3336 posts in 2506 days

#2 posted 05-25-2013 04:15 AM

You probably will not be able to find out what type of finish is on those cabinets easily, or you probably would
have mentioned it. Are they fairly flat, or do they have a lot of curves, lots of curves makes it hard to sand
and refinish. Not knowing the present finish, you will probably have to coat them with either shellac, or
sealcoat if you are going to use a verathane finish. You can tint most finishes to get the color you want, but
it will take you some time and work to lock it in. Have fun, there are some good finishers on here that
hopefully will give you more and better info.

-- As ever, Gus-the 77 yr young apprentice carpenter

View jbschutz's profile


498 posts in 2112 days

#3 posted 05-25-2013 11:32 AM

Your local big-box home improvement store will have some combo stain-poly products available in different colors and degrees of “dark”. The best part, is that additional coats of the product will make the finish progressively darker. The down side, is that the grain will become more and more obscured.

-- jbschutz

View Tkf's profile


38 posts in 1348 days

#4 posted 05-25-2013 11:52 AM

If is a lacquer finish, sand at 320 and tone them with a spray gun (or aerosol can) then apply another coat of lacquer.

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 2706 days

#5 posted 05-25-2013 11:54 AM


One thing you could do without having to totally strip your cabinets is get a product called liquid sandpaper. You can probably get it in one of the big box stores like Lowes or Home Depot, but if not a paint store like Sherwin Williams will carry it. ( It’s also know as a deglosser).

Follow the instructions on the can as how to apply to prep the surface of your cabinets. What this product does is break down the gloss in the finish and makes it almost tacky so a new finish will have a surface to adhere to.

You could add some trans tint to some shellac or lacquer to add some color to the cabinets, but that works best if you can spray your finish. (You’re actually adding color to the finish itself as you apply it.)

If you’re not able to spray, then you could always get a darker glaze and apply to the cabinets. It will only change the overall tint a little, but you can leave it heavier in all the crevices and profiles to hi-lite those areas.

This may not darken the cabinets much, but it adds a lot of depth to the overall look.

Once the glaze is dry, you can put a clear coat of finish of your choice for a top coat.

Again, a paint store like Sherwin Williams can help you with everything you would need and I’m sure if you google “glazing cabinets” you could find lots of video’s on how to do it.

Good luck.

-- John @

View Wdwerker's profile


333 posts in 1654 days

#6 posted 05-25-2013 11:56 AM

There is a product called “Howard’s Refinisher” it comes in a small rectangular can. It dissolves the surface of the finish and adds some color. Comes in many colors. Test in an inconspicuous place like the back of a lower cabinet door. Follow the directions on the can.
Or you could try Minwax Polyshades , which is a tinted varnish basically .

-- Fine Custom Woodwork since 1978

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 1782 days

#7 posted 05-25-2013 03:05 PM

All you have to do is:
1. Scrub everything with naptha and maroon scotchbrite, followed by a full wipedown with naptha.
2. Wipe on a heavy bodied oil stain like ZAR to the desired color.
3. After a couple weeks and the stain is completely dry, topcoat with a clear waterborne poly floor finish.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Matt Przybylski's profile

Matt Przybylski

528 posts in 1799 days

#8 posted 05-25-2013 04:07 PM

You can try this:

Inexpensive and I think even someone here did a positive review. Don’t stone me please for suggesting it on a woodworking forum, though. :)

EDIT: here is the review:

-- Matt, Illinois,

View liamroy80's profile


1 post in 1247 days

#9 posted 05-27-2013 03:53 AM

High Joe at first congrats for your the new home. I would suggest you to paint your cabinet with touch wood. It is liquid transparent paint. I

t will make the texture little darker and add a glossy look to your cabinet. its cheap and easily available in market. You don’t have to hire a painter for this job. its so easy that you can do it yourself.

For your reference check this image : And you can visit this website


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