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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my 1st true Woodworking project and through trial and error and hours of Internet searches I have learned a lot. I started practicing on some refinishing some older Cutting Boards and a small shelving unit someone gave us years ago. This let me practice using my Orbit Sander and using some different Finishes.

I am still confused about all the different types of Stains and Top Coat options.

I decided to refinish all our Kitchen Cabinet Drawer's, Doors and Faces. I am sanding them down to a final 150 grit. I have been told that the Wood is Alder by the people at Wood Crafters.

Using General Finishes Golden Pine Gel Stain and General Finishes Arm-R-seal Oil and Urethane Top Coat. I am doing 5 Coats of Topcoat with 0000 Steel Wool between all coats but the last one.

Am I going about this correctly?

Second and most important question...

I would like to build some CounterTops from Red Oak, Walnut or other Hardwood. I am getting mixed messages on attempting this.

Are Wooden CounterTops a bad idea? We will not be doing Food Prep directly on the Wood and we will not use the CounterTop for a cutting board.

Has anyone done this? What is the best process for doing this, what type of Satin finish should I use? ANY help or guidance would be greatly appreciated. My biggest concern is wear and water. We plan on living here a least another 10 years.

I think Wood would look great but maybe I am opening a can of worms, save me from an expensive mistake.

Sorry so long, just wanting to give out as much detail as I can.

Thanks in advance for any advice!!!!
 

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I'm kinda apprehensive about useing the urethane for a topcoat. I'm not familiar with the product but an oil based polyurethane will yellow over time and isn't suited for lightly stained wood. I think you should get some technical advise from General Finishes on their urethane and find out if it also tends to yellow before you try to use it. I just had to refinish a kitchen that another painter started and used the wrong finish that would yellow so I had to go in and chemically strip the cabinets to get it off and start over. I sealed them with a vinyl sealer and topcoated with a pre-catalyzed lacquer.

Alder is a wood that is prone to blotch so you might consider using a wood conditioner prior to staining. It's always a good idea to practice the finish you intend to use on scrap wood to see how it's going to work before putting it to use.

You should not use steel wool between the coats. Use 220 grit sandpaper instead. Steel wool will just smooth over any debris on the surface instead of removing it and leveling the surface. It also breaks down and leaves bits of steel which is difficult to clean off.

If you wish to use an oak for the counter top then use white oak. Red oak tends to turn black if you get it wet. Personally I don't care for a wood counter top. It's just too high maintenance. It's easily damaged or gets water damage. A lot of people like them and use them but I would put in something waterproof like formica, corain or natural stone. As far as a finish on the wood counter top a satin finish is more porus than a gloss finish so the glossier you make it the more durable it will be. I would either use a conversion varnish or an epoxy coating for the finish.
 

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I wouldn't use an oil base finish on the inside of the cabinets or the inside of drawers. Solid wood countrertops don't hold up well in kitchens especially around sinks. Either does hardwood plywood. Film finishes will scratch very easily.

For the exterior of the cabinets, an oil base product (which includes urethanes), are faintly on the amber side going on. If you can spray, I would recommend CAB lacquer, or better yet a waterbase polyurethane.






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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I wouldn't use an oil base finish on the inside of the cabinets or the inside of drawers. Solid wood countrertops don't hold up well in kitchens especially around sinks. Either does hardwood plywood. Film finishes will scratch very easily.

For the exterior of the cabinets, an oil base product (which includes urethanes), are faintly on the amber side going on. If you can spray, I would recommend CAB lacquer, or better yet a waterbase polyurethane.
The interior of the Cabinets and drawers are going to be painted, I picked up some high quality Acrylic resin paint from Sherwin Williams. Wanted good quality to hold up against Pots and Pans sliding around on the shelves.

Regarding the wood countertops not holding up well, that was not what I wanted or hoped to hear though. I see a lot of pictures and posts on the Internet about Wood for countertops.

I was at the local "Woodworkers Source" here in Tucson (1st time in there) and they had a countertop made out of Walnut and top coated with some sort of a 2 part Poly in the back they had just finished for a customer. It was not the type of finish that you would see in a Bar with Quarters embedded into it, looked like a normal top coated piece of furniture.

They acted as if there would be no issues at all with using wood. I figured they were being upfront and not just trying to sell me product, maybe not. I believe you as I have my own concerns about doing it.

I had thought that maybe using a product like Behlen Rockhard Table Top Urethane Varnish Satin would do it.


I have always liked to be a little different on things and thought a Wood countertop would just look fantastic. I really thought this would be a simple thing to do. There are Boats that have a lot of wood trim that seem to hold up to very harsh elements. Maybe they only look good with a lot of maintenance. :boat:
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I have not attempted to spray coatings yet, I do have many years experience using an airless sprayer for painting houses but that's about it.

Regarding the Waterbased poly, I have a can of General Finishes High Performance Water Based Top Coat that says it includes a High Poly Content.

The reason I did not use it was 2 fold, one being that when I bought it the Humidity level was about 5% and 100º outside, (no air in shop). It dried so fast I could not control the uneven surface I was getting, being new to finishing the Oil seemed to work better for me. Second reason was I thought that using Oil base would produce more defined Grain patterns and probably what experienced woodworkers would use.

I have to tell you that this project has become a real challenge for me. Once I found out that the Drawer slides could not be replaced (house built in 1971) and the only way to do it right with good quality slides meant I needed to take each Drawer apart and cut the box width down 7/8" of an Inch to clear the cabinet face. What a PITA.

Has me thinking it may have been easier to just build all new cabinets, to late now as I am to far into the project.

Thanks for the help! Any other advice or suggestions for countertops other than the standard stuff would be great!
 
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