Staining Unfinished Kitchen Cabinets


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Old 12-16-08, 08:56 AM
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Staining Unfinished Kitchen Cabinets

Greetings,

If there is a comprehensive walkthrough for staining unfinished cabinets (cabinets bought new as unfinished and have never been coated) please point me to it. I've found some great walkthroughs on painting, but haven't had any luck with the staining process.

I'm new to doing it myself and have no experience in this area. The Hooked on Phonics approach is greatly appreciated.

I'm purchasing unfinished oak cabinets from a big box store. This project has stemmed from budget constraints and not because I'm super picky about their quality or what they look like. I'm looking for the simplest way to stain/treat the cabinets and have a lasting effect. I'm getting lost in all the options.

1. I intend to sand them with a 180 grit to open the wood up to absorb the stain.
2. After sanding do I go straight to staining? No step in between?
3. I do want them to have a nice smooth finish like normal finished cabinets. Do I apply a sealant like lacquer or something after I'm satisfied with the color? I've heard you can get stain that has sealant in it... is that an acceptable shortcut?
4. Temperature: It's presently 20 degrees outside here in Cincinnati, OH. At what temperature should I take my project from the garage to the heated basement?

Thanks!

Bill
 
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Old 12-16-08, 01:14 PM
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What are you wanting then finished cabinets to look like? not just a nice finish but what color?

When you sand make sure you always sand with the direction of the grain. Cross sanding will leave scratches in the wood that will show up before you get finished. keep an eye out for any glue residue as it won't stain right - you might have to first scrape and then sand to remove any glue. Hopefully there isn't any.

IMO an oil base penetrating stain [like minwax] is the best type to use. Stain works best if applied with only 1 coat and the excess removed with a rag before it sets up. The stain must be good and dry before you apply poly. Generally it takes 3 coats of poly to get a good job. Sand lightly and dust between coats. Tinted polys can be very tricky to use and I wouldn't recomend staining raw wood with them.

Most coatings don't behave well at temps below 50` Cool/cold temps will also extend the drying time.
 
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Old 12-16-08, 07:44 PM
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I'm going to choose a light color stain that shows the grain of the wood. The kitchen is small, so I think a lighter color might open it up a bit. I don't know what color specifically; I was going to just grab it off the shelf at Lowe's when I decide to buy all the stuff.

Thanks for the tips!
 
 

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