First project - restoring faded walnut cabinet - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 08-27-2017, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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First project - restoring faded walnut cabinet

Hi all

I've recently bought a solid Walnut cabinet with the intention of refinishing it as my first woodworking project!

Overall in good condition, however the colour has faded slightly. I want to restore the colour and will change the door handles.

I am a complete novice and any advice would be appreciated - do I need to sand it down before I can re stain it? Do I need to stain it? If I want to have a darker walnut colour, will sanding help or is the wood faded permanently?

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post #2 of 3 Old 08-27-2017, 05:00 PM
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If you are going to stain it then yes you need to sand the finish off (Wear a dust mask just to be on the safe side). Personally I hate staining wood as I like looking at woods natural beauty but to each there own. You can find stains made for making walnut's sapwood darker to match the heartwood but I'm not sure about things sold not stateside. You can ask around at local wood and hardware shops or the internet. It looks fine to me although the door on the right seems to be sagging a little. Good find though it looks quite nice.
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post #3 of 3 Old 08-27-2017, 05:22 PM
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Never sand the finish off wood. The finish penetrates into the wood and sanding tends to just get what is on the surface. Then when you stain there are places that don't stain because the wood is still sealed. Always start a refinishing project on wood with paint and varnish remover.

The finish that is on it is likely lacquer. Since you are changing the knobs anyway remove one and wipe it with a rag soaked in lacquer thinner. If the finish disolves then it is either shellac or lacquer which is compatible with lacquer. If it is lacquer you could scuff sand the existing finish and lightly spray it with an alcohol based dye stain to darken it. Then just spray a coat or two of lacquer over the top. If the finish wrinkles up like you put paint stripper the finish is likely a varnish You could do the same thing with polyurethane but the finish would have to be sprayed on. You would end up rubbing the stain off brushing it.

If you have compressed air and no sprayer a cheap harbor freight sprayer will spray wood finishes just fine.
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refinishing, refurbish, walnut

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