You've picked a refinisher somehow, and you have your doubts to his abilities. So, on the basis of responses you get here, are you planning to inform him of what the suggestions are? That should be interesting.My 20yr old kitchen has cherry cabinets with a clear lacquer finish. Overall the cabinets are in great shape but the finish is worn near the sink and other high wear areas. The cabinets have also faded quite a bit so i would like them darkened a coulple shades so they match the inside of the door. I originally hired someone, who ensured me that he has done lots of this type of work to refinish them, but I am not satisfied with his quality of work on the sample door.
On the sample he lightly sanded and sprayed an oil based stain over the existing finish. He then followed that up with a poly top coat. My biggest complaint is the finish is not smooth and there are some fish eyes and other defects. Also, the areas where the lacquer was worn absorbed much more stain so they are significantly darker. Is he going to be able to get a good finish with this process or is it a lost cause?
After looking into it more, it seems that maybe a clear precat lacquer, or some other way to seal the damage bare wood areas, followed by a couple layers of tinted precat maybe the way to go. Do you guys agree or what do you recommend?
It's my thoughts, that an oil base stain will not stick to a solvent base lacquer finish. Fisheyes, or evidence of coating failure are likely due to chemicals or debris on the current finish. The finish should be cleaned and lightly sanded.
I would suggest a lacquer based tinted finish to tone in the blemishes. Toning could also be used to darken what is there. If the cabinets are to be sprayed, that presents a PITA, even with an HVLP system. A Gel stain could be used to get a darker shade.
It's possible to do all the repair and finishing with wipe on/brush on methods if necessary. A lacquer finish would be preferred, but if prepared correctly, an oil base polyurethane, or, a waterbased polyurethane could be applied.