Can I reduce the appearance of the grain on oak cabinets?

Old 07-23-09, 03:17 PM
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Can I reduce the appearance of the grain on oak cabinets?

In my house I have the original oak cabinets that were built with the house. They have no pigmented stain on them right now, just a poly coating. I much prefer the look of a dark reddish brown stained maple or cherry, but I was hoping I'd be able to get an acceptable look out of simply refinishing them.

I tried testing out a dark oil stain on a scrap of bare oak, and the grain was *very* apparent, even more so than the way my natural stained cabinets look, I *really* didn't like it.

So here's my question, is it possible to stain them in such a way as to reduce the appearance of the grain? Is there some kind of prep techniques or products I could experiment with that would make the color difference of the grain less dramatic? I don't want it gone, but it would be nice if I could tone it down a lot. From my research, is seems like there is a way, but I can't sort through all the different techniques.

I really appreciate your help.

Old 07-23-09, 09:07 PM
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Perhaps you could experiment (on some oak scraps, not on your cabinets!) with wood dyes, such as analine dyes. They will color wood consistently, with little to no contrast between what is normally the darker colored early wood areas and lighter colored late wood areas of the grain.

You get a more even color, which might be what you are after when you say you don't like the "grain". I assume you don't like the CONTRAST in the grain.

Another option you could research is tinted lacquer, which would need to be sprayed on. There are several lacquer experts here that might be able to help you with that idea. If you're wanting to mimic the consistent dark color of cherry, this might be one way to achieve it.

A friend of mine did some interesting stuff by adding latex paint pigments to water-borne polyurethane, using unusually bright colors. Turned out pretty cool.

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