need help with kitchen cabinets

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Forum topic by mitch48093 posted 02-12-2015 09:17 PM 800 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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16 posts in 2344 days

02-12-2015 09:17 PM

yellow..I have been told it was the type of varnish that was used.. What we would like to do is take the varnish off but want to leave the stain…
we used steel wool and it did pretty good but will take HOURS per door..Is there anything that will take the
varnish off so we could just redo with a poly….Im not sure if there is varnish or poly when we bought them about 16 years ago….

thanks for any help


9 replies so far

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4205 posts in 2335 days

#1 posted 02-12-2015 09:22 PM

faced with hours per door I’d just make new doors. And, as long as I was making new door I’d get some PAS veneer and do a complete cabinet refacing job.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View willie's profile


534 posts in 2480 days

#2 posted 02-12-2015 09:40 PM

Regardless of how you remove the varnish the color of the cabinets will change. You can scrape, sand, or use a chemical stripper and all will remove some color. Find whatever method works best for your conditions and then restain and apply new finish.

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

View MT_Stringer's profile


3172 posts in 3257 days

#3 posted 02-12-2015 09:56 PM

Might be time to paint them.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4999 posts in 2519 days

#4 posted 02-12-2015 10:30 PM

What is the goal? Is the old varnish (poly is varnish, in the most common use of the term) damaged? Pretty much anything you do to remove it (stripper is probably the easiest) the stain will be affected. I like all the above suggestions better than what you want to do…replacing the doors, paint them, or commit to the fact that they will look have some color change.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View firefighterontheside's profile


18351 posts in 1882 days

#5 posted 02-12-2015 10:36 PM

I think a card scraper might be your best bet. You can control how deep you go. Stripper as has been said is gonna go deep in some spots and change the color. Don’t go crazy getting old stuff off, but get the bad spots cleaned up and then sand whole thing to be able to put new poly on. Haven’t tried it, but seems reasonable to me.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View mitch48093's profile


16 posts in 2344 days

#6 posted 02-12-2015 11:38 PM

thank you for your replies…
My goal is to get them back to what they were like before..I did try a 600 grit foam pad and the stain is so thin it did take a little off …I would like to just go deep enough to take the varnish off and re-stain to the original color.
I do have a quart of the original stain. It was like a pearl wash or white wash.
I think I will get a 320 sanding pad and just take enough off to get the yellow varnish clean then re-stain with the stain that I have…I really didn’t think there would be an easy way to do this..but my wife really likes the original color so I will give it a try and see if she likes it then go from there…

thank you very much….

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3572 days

#7 posted 02-13-2015 12:09 AM

With us, it has always been cheaper to buy new doors than it is to strip the old doors. Just last week a customer wanted us to change the color of her guest vanity/med cabinet. It was only 3 doors and a drawer face. After stripping them down completely, my wife told me never to do that again, she told me just get new doors even if it is just 3 doors and a drawer face.

When you calculate what your time is worth, brand new doors are far cheaper.

-- .

View MT_Stringer's profile


3172 posts in 3257 days

#8 posted 02-13-2015 01:37 AM

I do have a quart of the original stain.

- mitch48093

When we remodeled our kitchen I bought the doors and drawer fronts, and stained/finished them. The doors were only about $27-35 each. That seems fair when you look at the time it takes to buy the material and make the doors. We also were on a time crunch because we had a grandson due in December and Grandma wanted the kitchen finished before Thanksgiving, instead of Christmas.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View mitch48093's profile


16 posts in 2344 days

#9 posted 02-13-2015 01:46 AM

Hi, thanks again…As far as buying or making new doors we are both disabled so we do not work which means we really do not have a time problem and I think since we have the same stain as long as I sand just enough to get rid of the varnish and re-stain it should look good. they are solid oak doors (I should have said that from the start) I have 25 doors and 2 with leaded glass and a pantry door..I know it will take some time I don’t mind that….
I am going to try 1 door and see how it comes out time wise also


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