I think I destroyed my cabinets, please help! - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-26-2010, 01:06 AM Thread Starter
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I think I destroyed my cabinets, please help!

I currently have 8 year old maple kitchen cabinets with a lite finish, however, I recently decided to stain them a darker color to match the rest of my furniture. I did some research and applied the following steps:
cleaned with mineral spirit, sanded with 180 grit, and finally 220 grit. I used General Finished gel stain, however, the cabinets ended up looking very blotchy after two coats;I think this may have over sanded the cabinets when prepping which maybe the reason for the blotching?. Anyways, after doing some more research, I saw that dying the cabinets could solve my problem. I went out and bought some trans tint dye, mixed it with water and applied it on top of the dried gel stain. Unfortunately, the cabinets still look pretty awful. I'm having a freakout right now because I think i may have destroyed my cabinets. I can't really afford to new cabinets, so I'm praying someone can provide some options to salvage the cabinets. Please help!

Last edited by chibear1986; 11-26-2010 at 01:10 AM.
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-26-2010, 05:17 AM
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Don't freak out. Take a minute, get some coffee, and sit back for a couple minutes. Luckily, maple is hard. Stains have a tough time penetrating it. First with the gel stain. It might not have penetrated due to residual finish, or burnishing from over sanding. That could cause the blotching. The dye might not have done much better because the gel sealed the wood.

The stains and dye will need to be removed. That means sanding, or scraping with a card scraper. If it seems like a lot of wood needs to be removed, another option is to bleach the wood. Not Clorox, but one of the specially produced wood bleaches. Some hardware stores, home centers have it. Follow their instructions. That will bring the wood to a bland neutral color.

Pick up a few maple scraps, do exactly the same process to the scraps as you do to the cabinets, wether it's sanding, scraping, or bleaching. Test what ever stain or dye you like on the scraps to test the results, before putting anything on the cabinets.
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post #3 of 10 Old 11-26-2010, 06:02 AM
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To get back to bare wood, you may want to use a stripper, and then sanding with what remains. Since the cabinets are installed you may be better off using a waterbase stripper, like CitraStrip. It can be used indoors and may take more than one application.

Once ready to finish, use a conditioner suitable with the finish that will follow. If it's an oil base finish, use an oil base stain. Finishing installed cabinets can be a PITA. So, using a wiping version of a varnish would be easier to apply with any of the oil base finishes. Minwax has an Antique Oil Finish, or forego the stain and use a one step finish like any of the Watco choices.










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post #4 of 10 Old 11-26-2010, 06:36 AM
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chibear I never read in your post that you removed the original finish on the cabinets. Did you?

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post #5 of 10 Old 11-26-2010, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chibear1986 View Post
I currently have 8 year old maple kitchen cabinets with a lite finish, however, I recently decided to stain them a darker color to match the rest of my furniture. I did some research and applied the following steps:
cleaned with mineral spirit, sanded with 180 grit, and finally 220 grit. I used General Finished gel stain, however, the cabinets ended up looking very blotchy after two coats;I think this may have over sanded the cabinets when prepping which maybe the reason for the blotching?. Anyways, after doing some more research, I saw that dying the cabinets could solve my problem. I went out and bought some trans tint dye, mixed it with water and applied it on top of the dried gel stain. Unfortunately, the cabinets still look pretty awful. I'm having a freakout right now because I think i may have destroyed my cabinets. I can't really afford to new cabinets, so I'm praying someone can provide some options to salvage the cabinets. Please help!
watch this video By bob neil about blotching. It is the best you can get http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=.../9/IfCYMdrP8rM
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-26-2010, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Brink - you mentioned something about bleaching the wood to restore it back to the original wood. How does bleaching exactly work? Do I just apply it and it eats through the tops coats of gel stain and dye or do I apply it and then use a scraper?

cabinetman- I'm clearly a novice, so can you please explain what a wood conditioner would be used for in my instance. Are you saying after I strip/remove the current finish, I should then apply a wood conditioner and then start the same process over again?
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-26-2010, 01:30 PM
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I see a lot of posting and we still don't have certain answers that will make a difference in how to fix the problem. Another thing we always say pictures will help, since it is very common for people to forget key details while explaining the problem that can be easily seen in a picture.

Can you post pictures?

What part of the cabinet is blotchy? Boxes, doors, face frames or all.

I also didn't see where you removed the old finish.

I also agree with cabinetman about the stripper.

depending where the blotching is you may need a conditioner after stripping and possibly sanding to a higher grit depending on the method used to strip the old finish.

Again and I can't believe I'm the first to say pictures would help.
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post #8 of 10 Old 11-26-2010, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chibear1986
Brink - you mentioned something about bleaching the wood to restore it back to the original wood. How does bleaching exactly work? Do I just apply it and it eats through the tops coats of gel stain and dye or do I apply it and then use a scraper?

cabinetman- I'm clearly a novice, so can you please explain what a wood conditioner would be used for in my instance. Are you saying after I strip/remove the current finish, I should then apply a wood conditioner and then start the same process over again?
http://www.woodmagazine.com/material...h-wood-bleach/

The bleach gets used after all old finish is removed. It will remove just the color, even the original wood color.
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post #9 of 10 Old 11-26-2010, 06:48 PM
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Combining some of the questions

Are the cabinets still installed?
That makes a huge difference and are the doors off?
Do you have a way to post photos?
Chances are the original finish was sprayed on in a factory and may have had some tint added or clear over a stain. Very difficult to remove a factory finish that may be heat cured, I donno?
If possible take them down, strip off all the doors and hardware and be prepared to invest some time and labor in stripping off the original finish. Maybe even have them stripped professionally which is still cheaper than new cabinets. The doors will be the easiest, since they can lay flat while the stripper does it's thing.

Most people unfortunately, leave finishing as the last step in the whole process, kind of an after thought that can either make or break it. Always experiment when refinishing anything to find the combination of stains, solvents, topcoats that work together to make the best finish.

As a last resort you might consider having them spray painted
or even do that yourself. I don't know your capabilities. Woodworking is a skill separate and apart from finishing which in itself if part art, part chemistry, and part science.

Photos of what you have will help for more advice. bill

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #10 of 10 Old 11-26-2010, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chibear1986 View Post
cabinetman- I'm clearly a novice, so can you please explain what a wood conditioner would be used for in my instance. Are you saying after I strip/remove the current finish, I should then apply a wood conditioner and then start the same process over again?

Yes, that's my suggestion. Once you get to bare wood, you can apply a preferred finish schedule. A wood conditioners' purpose (hopefully) will be to somewhat seal the soft wood and limit the penetration of the harder wood so a stain or dye takes evenly and doesn't create a blotchy look.

Making your own with thinning a varnish could work depending on getting the ratio of varnish to thinner just right, and the application doesn't seal the wood too much, thereby limiting the ability of a stain or dye to penetrate, or color.










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