Refinish oak cabinet faces

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Old 04-04-13, 10:03 AM
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Refinish oak cabinet faces

So I've sanded down all the faces of my cabinets (they're oak) and have to apply the stain/dye now to achieve the color I want. Attached is the color I'm looking for and I know I can achieve this easily by painting the cabinets but I'd like to retain the natural wood grain if at all possible. I've been experimenting with different mixtures of brown and red aniline dye but it either ends up being too pink (too much red) or too dark'ish burgundy (too much brown?). I don't MIND the burgundy I've created and would probably go with it if that's the best if can't do/find but I would like something a little brighter

So now I'm thinking about going with a premixed Minwax-type stain. My kitchen will be much the same as the photo, I have light red oak floors, will be pouring a medium-gray concrete countertop and tan'ish walls.

Should I keep working with the dye until it's just right? Is that even possible to achieve that color with dye? Can I achieve it with off the shelf stain?

Thanks!
 
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Old 04-04-13, 10:24 AM
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I've never worked with dyes

Sanding alone often isn't enough to get the wood in a stainable state. Common practice is to chemically strip the old finish and then sand. If there is any of the old finish still on the wood it will affect how the wood can absorb the stain.

Mixing red paint with poly [make sure they are both the same base -oil/oil, waterbased/latex] is one method of achieving the look you want.
 
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Old 04-04-13, 11:07 AM
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Keep in mind as well that polyurethane should be applied as a protective coat on top of the stain (I like to use three coats) and oil based poly adds a bit of amber to the color of the wood. Hence, you may need to stain and finish a piece of scrap to know what you'll have in the end.
 
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Old 04-04-13, 02:55 PM
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OK, I spoke with the seller of the dyes I'm using and my first test which resulted in pink wood was from me not using enough dye:water so I'm going to try a different ratio tonight and see where that gets me.

First I mineral spirited away and used a putty knife to remove all the residue and crap the previous owners had somehow accumulated. Then sanded with 60 to remove finish down to bare wood. Stained with black dye (want that grain to pop) then sanded again with 60, then 150 for a nice finish. Attached is my first attempt with too much water and not enough dye, who likes pink cabinets?

Mitch, I think I'll use the oil based poly to add that amber on top of the red if it turns out like I imagine. Will post more photos after my second test tonight with a better ratio. Luckily I have a few cabinets to test on that will be thrown into the shed after.
 
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Old 04-04-13, 04:34 PM
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Oil base poly will darken or deepen the colors naturally in the wood or stain. Oil base also dries to a harder film = better/longer wear. Water based polys go on milky but dry clear. They don't change the color of the wood or stain any other than to give it a sheen. Water based poly dries faster than oil base.

If I woke up and saw pink cabinets - I might not need a cup of coffee
 
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Old 04-05-13, 09:07 AM
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I've been using water based poly to finish my new wood floors and old refinished floors as I want the natural color of the wood only. I will have to try both on these.

I found the color I'm going to use. Problem is though I think I'm going to need a chemical stripper to remove the old poly from the deep parts in the grain or I'll have to sand another 16th or 32nd off See attached photo.
 
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Old 04-05-13, 11:01 AM
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A little late now but it's always best to sample stains on the backside of a door or some other hidden area.
Stains can be difficult to strip. You might try scrubbing it with lacquer thinner. You'll need to resand after you remove the stain.
 
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Old 04-05-13, 11:04 AM
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Yep, that color looks nice. FWIW, I like to test colors and finishes on scrap material, not even the back or any other part of the actual piece until I have it right. As Mark said, a little late now
 
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Old 04-05-13, 11:09 AM
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Ya, I prefer scrap pieces too but since it's a refinish job, I assumed there wasn't any scrap wood available..... but I could see justifying the cost of an oak board for testing the stains. The new wood
might not stain exactly like the old but would likely be close enough.
 
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Old 04-05-13, 12:51 PM
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No no, this is a scrap cabinet. If anything it's going out into the shop or sanded and sent to habitat. This is the cabinet where the dishwasher is going. In the first image see how there's still that white/yellow 'oaky' color coming through in the grain? Red on top, white slivers on the bottom, I want to get rid of that, maybe it's not a big deal?
 
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Old 04-05-13, 02:34 PM
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That might be residue from the previous finish. You might try sanding a little deeper and see if that takes care of it.

Luckily I have a few cabinets to test on that will be thrown into the shed after.
How did I miss that
 
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Old 04-09-13, 07:45 AM
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Update: Well... so much for aniline dyes on this project.

Went to the depot and had them mix me up some Minwax China Red and Spice colors to test out. Also wanted to use some gel stain as a glazing but couldn't find anything dark enough so I went with an Ebony colored oil based stain to pop the grain and kind of two-tone it. WORKS LIKE A CHARM.

Sand with 60 then 150 (I think even a light sanding of 220 is just too much for the stain, thoughts?), apply ebony stain and remove immediately, let dry, sand with 150 to remove face but leave grain, apply two coats of spice, as much as i like the name china red it just wasn't the perfect color, and throw a few coats of oil based poly on there. Pictures are of ebony after sanding and then ONE coat of red. One coat makes it kind of orange-red, two coats makes it red with some grain showing through, pretty much exactly what I want.
 
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Old 04-09-13, 03:50 PM
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Glad you got it figured out

Sanding the wood real fine can limit how the wood can absorb the stain. Fine sanding kind of closes up the grain. It really doesn't matter if you use a fine grit or medium grit before staining. As long as the there are no scratches and all the wood is sanded the same - all the stain should look similar. Staining some wood after a rough sanding and other wood after fine sanding usually results in 2 different looking stain colors. Consistency is the key!
 
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Old 04-17-13, 05:00 PM
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HELP! I did something wrong and I can't figure it out.

I started on the poly (minwax quick oil poly) last night, first coat, everything went on real NICE and real SMOOTH, first coat looks great. Now on to the second... SO I sand a cabinet down with 220 real light like, oh by the way I've refinished numerous pieces of wood but this time was different, and clean it up with a nice tack cloth rub, so I'm now applying the poly... a few minutes of it sitting on the wood I would normally expect it to be smooth and consistent.

NOPE.

Instead it's lumpy, gelatinous, gummy and hideous. So I quickly grab a rag and remove as much as possible but it's like jelly and I feel like I'm removing the first layer of poly! See photo, where did I go wrong? I let the first coat sit approximately 20 hours (it's 3-4hour dry time), sanded it down, removed dust.

My thoughts thus far are: First coat was somehow too thick and hasn't dried. Maybe tack cloth residue? I didn't completely seal the poly can yesterday, perhaps the good stuff off-gassed? Perhaps the water-based stain needed to dry longer than 24 hours? If that was the case why would the first coat go on so nicely? Maybe I should have let the first coat of poly dry longer? So many questions. My brush could have been used for something else in the past? Probably should NOT have used minwax.

Thanks!
 
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Old 04-18-13, 04:55 AM
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The stain shouldn't be an issue. As long as the poly didn't skim over [or had any lumps] in the can, it's not likely that not sealing the lid good would have been a problem either. How old is the can of poly? Did the poly brush ok? You might strain the poly and see how well it flows thru and what won't strain. They sell straining bags at the paint store but what we used to always use was panty hose. You just need a section big enough to stretch over the bucket you are straining the poly into. If the section of panty hose is open on both ends - just tie a not in one end.

If the brush is clean and dry - it probably wasn't the culprit. I do like to keep poly/varnish brushes separate because after a lot of brushing it's possible for the poly to partial dissolve dried paint and transfer it to the poly. Very unlikely that this would happen when you first brush the poly unless there is wet/damp paint in the brush - like if you just painted something, washed the brush and then switched to poly.

Obviously you'll have to resand where you wiped off the poly. I'd strain the poly and brush some on some scrap wood [cardboard will also work] If it does ok, you should be good to go, if not, get a fresh can of poly. I assume you are using oil base poly. While some aren't fond of Minwax, I've never had any issues with that brand.
 
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Old 04-18-13, 09:58 AM
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I've never had issues with minwax either. Brush was a brand new dry foam brush, poly was only a few weeks off the shelf and like I said, first coat went on great.

I think the culprit was the weather. Basically I've been keeping the thermostat at 60F by day and 55F by night in my living room and the night of the first application the temp dropped outside and the humidity went sky high as it snowed. Some of the poly in the grain must not have fully set/cured/dried, after thinking about it for awhile now that's my final conclusion. Since then I've set the room at 65 and haven't touched the other cabinets, I did do a second coat test on my test piece I have lying around that's set for over a week now. That seems to have gone on perfectly.

Never heard of straining bags but that gives me some new information to work with.

Thanks!
 
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Old 04-18-13, 10:01 AM
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FWIW, I don't like foam brushes for polyurethane but I don't think that was your problem either.
 
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Old 04-18-13, 10:18 AM
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Straining bags have only been around 30 or so yrs. Back when I was an apprentice the only way to strain paint was to use panty hose. I always felt a little funny going in a store and buying a pair of panty hose. A long time ago I had a girlfriend that found a panty hose in the glove box of my work truck, she pitched a fit but listened to my explanation and calmed down. A few weeks later she saw me straining some paint with a panty hose and said "well you do use it to strain paint" I had thought she believed me the first time

I'm not fond of foam brushes either but wouldn't think it would cause any issues on the foam was disintegrating.
 
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Old 04-19-13, 09:20 AM
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For some reason I think of "it puts the lotion on its skin"

I just had foam brushes laying around that's why I used them, use and throw out, wasteful and reckless I know but I had cleaning up oil based products. I let the first coat on the rest of the cabinets sit for 3 days now, I'm going to light sand the rest of them and try a second attempt at a second coat.
 
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Old 04-19-13, 10:24 AM
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I'm not fond of foam brushes either but wouldn't think it would cause any issues on the foam was disintegrating.
meant to say - I'm not fond of foam brushes either but wouldn't this it would cause any issues unless the foam was disintegrating.
 
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