Lightening Knotty Pine cabinets


Old 08-17-05, 11:48 AM
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Lightening Knotty Pine cabinets

Hi! I'm in the process of renovating my grandparent's kitchen but on a budget. The cabinets are in good shape - they're all solid knotty pine, but they are a deep dark brown from not being cleaned all these years, etc.

I'm wondering if anyone knows how I can go about lightening these so they are a lighter color...should I bleach them or strip them? If so- what should I use and how much time will this take me?

Old 08-17-05, 07:32 PM
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This very well could become very quickly a time consuming monster. I'd first remove and clean an out-of-the-way door or drawer front and clean it well with something like Mean Green or Purple stuff (ie, a good degreaser). Some 00 (med) or 0000 (fine) steel wool (painting dept, lowes/home depot) will work well as a scouring pad that won't scuff the wood. Skip the bleach, it is a bit too powerful unless you dilute it with 4 parts water, which then it may be fine to give a shot.

If it's still too dark for your taste, you'll need to sand it down to raw wood. And you may find that the dark brown is actually a stain that was added, and boy do things get interesting then. You'll have to sand the heck out of them to get to raw unstained, unadulterated wood, and then refinish it. Most folks use polyurethane, which tends to darken wood a bit, especially over time anyway.

Note, also, knotty pine will always darken over time, often called "patina", and many folks love the old antique look.

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