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Cherry Kitchen Cabinet Finishing

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Forum topic by oldhouse1850 posted 227 days ago 890 views 3 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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oldhouse1850

4 posts in 227 days


227 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: cherry finishing kitchen cabinets

I’m new to this forum and look forward to hearing from all of you experienced cabinetmakers. My husband is making cherry kitchen cabinets for our house. I will be finishing them. I don’t have a spray booth. Since we live in far, FAR northern Wisconsin, we keep the workshop temperature at 55 degrees, and we have low humidity. (Also frigid temperatures and snow up to our eyeballs right now, but that’s another story). Our greatroom has a wall of south exposure windows, so there’s bright light. But there will be no direct sunlight on the cabinets themselves. We don’t have any kids or pets.

What finish will be the easiest to apply that will give me the most professional results? I know that this is a tall order. I’m patient, and have finished antique furniture in the past. I’m considering Target’s EM9000. What are your experiences with the product?

We can’t open any doors or windows for ventilation. So I’m interested in something with low VOC’s. We do have a dust collection system for all of the woodworking machines. Any recommendations would be most appreciated.

-- Amateurs practice till they get it right; professionals practice till they can’t get it wrong.


12 replies so far

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JonHitThingWithRock

85 posts in 323 days


#1 posted 227 days ago

I personally like finishing cherry with Ace Hardware polyurethane or general finishes arm-r-seal thinned 50/50 with mineral spirits, i do 5 coats, sanding between with 220, then 320, then 400, then 600, then wet sand (with mineral spirits and mineral oil), after it’s cured for a week or 2 with 1000 grit, then 2000, even higher sometimes if i’m feeling ambitious. Of course poly is far from low voc, you could always do Endurovar from general finishes, but that’s really a finish that wants to be sprayed, brushing never looks quite good enough to me. Shellac is an allright indoor option, but it takes forever since you really want to do 10,000 super thin coats, and go through a rubbing out sequence afterwards. in your position, because these are kitchen cabinets, I might even run to home depot and pick up a $50 HVLP gun and spray endurovar, just get some heavy plastic dropcloths and build a sort of plastic room where you can spray, there really is no easier way to get a perfect finish than spraying. If you go the water-based route, the after finish wet sanding can be done with water and a bit of dish soap, i usually wax after wet sanding.

As far as aging the cherry, I’m personally a fan of not accelerating the process with sunlight or chemicals and just letting it happen naturally over time, but if you do want it aged, I’d just set them in direct sunlight for a couple days each on each exposed side, keep doing it until you get the color you want.

If you go with something oil-based (poly or varnish), I’d probably still do the insides of the cabinets with water-based so the smell doesn’t linger forever.

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Fred Hargis

1648 posts in 1095 days


#2 posted 227 days ago

You will find that cherry getting much darker even with no more than indirect light. I’ve used the predecessor to the EM 9000, and had no problems, but you will need that 55 º (or more) for it to dry. I would suggest this: you give the cabinets a coat of shellac….specifically garnet shellac. That will give the cherry a really nice look, and seal the wood from the waterborne EM 9000. The EM9000 will cause the grain to raise, the shellac will minimize that. Bear in mind the vapors from waterbornes are not flammable, bu the still have some degree of hazard. So, using it indoors in the winter, you really need a 1/2 mask respirator with the organic vapor (typically carbon) filters…and wear it while applying the EM9000. Be sure to seal the mask and filters in an airtight container (zip lock bag will work) when not in use, that makes the carbon lasts longer. Replace the carbon filters when you detect odors while wearing the mask. Do follow the advice above about any finish inside the cabinets should be the waterborne or shellac. Oil based on the interiors will smell forever, and some food items would absorb that odor.

-- I long for the days when Coke was a cola, and a joint was a bad place to be (Merle Haggard)

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pintodeluxe

3272 posts in 1414 days


#3 posted 227 days ago

I guess I’m not patient enough to let cherry darken with time. I like to stain it for that instant aged look. Of course, you need to use a pre-stain conditioner on cherry to prevent blotching.
Here is my finishing schedule…
http://lumberjocks.com/topics/54321

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

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oldhouse1850

4 posts in 227 days


#4 posted 227 days ago

Thank you so much for the advice. I was going to let the cherry darken naturally.

We do have enough space in the workshop building to put up a temporary spray booth. I should think about this more seriously. We’re making a decent amount of cabinetry, and will also be making our woodwork out of maple.

-- Amateurs practice till they get it right; professionals practice till they can’t get it wrong.

View JonHitThingWithRock's profile

JonHitThingWithRock

85 posts in 323 days


#5 posted 227 days ago

I’ve even sprayed in my garage and just put a sheet over my table saw and outfeed tables and used that. The sprayed finish didn’t seem to go very far or stick to much of anything besides the projects it was meant to, also I had the projects raised on painters’ pyramids, a quick and dirty method, but I’ve had no issues doing it that way. I will say that I’f you’re going to stain then use water-based, first use a water-based stain, the adhesion to oil stains is not very good. also sand that first coat very lightly, if it gets through the finish and touches the stain it’ll look aweful, subsequent coats you can be less careful though. I find 3 coats of sprayed water-based to be enough, may wanna go with a 4th to be on the safe side.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

566 posts in 910 days


#6 posted 227 days ago

I live in a similar climate as yours. I keep my shop at 60 and turn it up to 70 with working. If your going to spray water borne turn it up to 70. Water bornes don’t like cold so much.

I’ve used Targets product a few time and find them to be good products. I used the EM 2000 on my kitchen cabinets and have been happy with the results.

In my opinion making a temp spray booth is the way to go. If you can put an exhaust fan in a window close to where your spraying is a good thing. It help keep the over spray from landing back on your work. I’ve used shellac under other brands of water bornes but use caution in using solvent shellac under targets product, they kind of discourage it and favor a water borne shellac. I didn’t use any under the EM 2000 and didn’t have any problems.

Call Jeff Weiss at target, he very easy to talk to and like to help people with their questions.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Fred Hargis's profile (online now)

Fred Hargis

1648 posts in 1095 days


#7 posted 227 days ago

Alaskaguy knows his stuff, take a look at the kitchen cabinets he built . It should get your juices flowing.

-- I long for the days when Coke was a cola, and a joint was a bad place to be (Merle Haggard)

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oldhouse1850

4 posts in 227 days


#8 posted 226 days ago

Well, Alaskaguy has convinced me that a spray booth is the way to go. It’s nice to hear about techniques for our cold climate.

Alaskaguy, your cabinets are beautiful! We’re also going to install a built in-vent, so it was nice to see how you handled this. It looks like you used wood to trim the edges of the solid surface countertops?

-- Amateurs practice till they get it right; professionals practice till they can’t get it wrong.

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RogerM

435 posts in 1000 days


#9 posted 226 days ago

My almost no fail finnish for cherry is as follows:

1. Fill all defects and let filler fully cure
2 Using progressive finer grits sand surfaces down to 220 grit
3. Mix one part Seal Coat (Shellac based sealer) with three parts alcohol
4. Wipe on a coat of the above sealer and let dry for at least one hour
5. Rub down finish with #000 or #0000 steel wool
6. Apply pigmented wood stain such as Minwax (I rag mine on). I like to use a cherry stain on cherry.
7. Let the stain fully cure (at least 24 hours is best)
8. Lightly sand by hand or with random orbit sander (slow speed if you have a variable speed) using 600 – 800 grit paper. An alternative would be to rub the finish out with #000 or #0000 steel wool.
9. Using any type of tack cloth wipe the finish down to remove all dust particles. A simple tack cloth is a rag with a little mineral spirits on it.
10. Spray the piece you are finishing with a coat of Minwax spray polyurethane or wipe on a mixture of equal parts of polyurethane and mineral spirits.
11. Let the finish cure at least two hours then apply a second coat. Wait two more hours then apply a third coat. Let the finish cure for at least 24 hours.
12. Sand the finish by hand or a random orbit sander using 1000 grit sandpaper or as an alternative rub the finish out with or #0000 steel wool.
13. Using #0000steel wool rub the final finish out with Minwax finishing wax and buff with a soft cloth.
14. ENJOY!!
Hope this will help you out.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

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AlaskaGuy

566 posts in 910 days


#10 posted 226 days ago

For oldhouse 1850

Counter tops are Formica Brand HPL with wood trim.

Something you should understand about my makeshift spray booth. As you see in the pictures I removed a window in the roll up door and installed a fan. Anytime you use that fan to exhaust air you need make up air. This means you have to crack open a door or window somewhere in your shop to replace the air that’s being exhausted. This in going to bring in cold air at whatever the outside temperature is.

When I need to spray I watch the weather reports and find the warmer days to spray. I don’t spray when it below zero if I can help it. Anyway when I do spray in the winter I turn my heat on high crack a window and turn on the exhaust fan and have at it. It’s going to cool the shop some and use some extra fuel. When I’m done spraying I leave the heat on high until it get back to 70 and keep it at 70 until the finish dries.

If you’re going to use target coating product give Jeff Weiss a call @ 800 752 9922 and he’ll be glad to get you started on what the best product for your application (that what I did my first time).

You can also pick up a lot of information by going Targets finishing forum.

http://www.targetcoatings.com/forum/

When I sprayed my blood wood kitchen as per Jiff’s instruction the first coat cut 50% with distilled water.

The blood wood kitchen was the first time I had used targets products and I got an “of the gun finish” meaning the finish came out so well I didn’t need to do a rub out or anything else after it cured.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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oldhouse1850

4 posts in 227 days


#11 posted 225 days ago

AlaskaGuy, What type of spray equipment are you using?

-- Amateurs practice till they get it right; professionals practice till they can’t get it wrong.

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AlaskaGuy

566 posts in 910 days


#12 posted 224 days ago

Sorry for the late response.

The gun is use to spray the blood wood kitchen is the first one in the link. How I ended up using this was, I wanted a mini spray gun to do face frames with. I bought the gun in the link and it worked so well I ended up spraying the kitchen with it.

Keep in mind that I used pre-finished plywood so all I had to spray was the face frames, the doors and a couple of cabinet sides. Everything was sprayed lay flat. The mini gun is a little slow and needs refilled often. After the first use I ordered a larger cup (12 ounce) for the gun which greatly improved how often I had to refill. It’s not a gun a pro who trying to put out a lot of work in a hurry. I also bought it’s big brother (in the second link) but haven’t used it that much.

I have the first 2 guns on the page in the link.

http://www.paintsprayerslv.com/Asturo/Asturo.htm

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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