Thinning Primer


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Old 11-20-11, 11:19 PM
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Thinning Primer

I want to try a technique for finishing cabinets that is supposed to produce a very uniform finish. Being a relative novice, and not wanting to invest a lot of money in equipment, it seems like something I can accomplish. Part of the instructions say to thin oil based primer to a consistency that would allow it to be wiped down with a paper towel when partially dry without the paper towel shredding or leaving particles on the wood. What would the ratio of primer to thinner be to achieve this (or at least a good place to start)? I'm working with birch cabinets and am not particularly happy with the grain. Hoping to achieve something that would be similar to the uniformity of a factory finish.
 
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Old 11-21-11, 04:50 AM
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Welcome to the forums Becky!

I've painted professionally for most of my working life and have never heard of
"wiped down with a paper towel when partially dry without the paper towel shredding"

Generally most paints/primers can be thinned up to 10% Assuming your intent is to eliminate or minimize brush marks, thinning the primer and paint a little and sanding between each coat will help. For those with poor brushing skills, using a small short nap roller can help. If using latex primer/paint - Flood's Floetrol will thin the primer/paint and extend the working time to help eliminate or reduce brush marks.
 
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Old 11-23-11, 10:54 PM
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Thanks for the welcome, and your response. I really appreciate the advice. Let me share the full "instructions", and I hope you will take time to weigh in with your opinion.

"I used a standard white primer thinned to a consistency such that it could be wiped down when partly dry without the paper towel shredding or leaving particles on the wood.

Wipe it down to see the grain showing through. Next repeat the process, but this time mix in some red paint to achieve a pink result. Wipe this down as well and dry. Evaluate the amount of grain showing through. If you want less grain showing repeat the last process. Let it dry thoroughly and sand smooth. Now apply oil stain straight from the can or mix it. There is no spraying required. Wipe it on, blend it with a cloth and lightly wipe up any saturated sections. Evaluate the results when it's wet. Let it dry and apply a second stain coat if required for color depth. Dry, sand, clean surface and wipe with a tack cloth.

For the finish coat a water based satin provides beautiful results which will not yellow, and the surface will not fuzz up at all (because of the pigmented paint sealer coat). Results: as perfect and beautiful as any professional factory application."
 
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Old 11-24-11, 04:31 AM
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It sounds like he is making a stain out of the primer Basically he is using primer to make a slightly colored wash coat or preconditioner. I would assume he's thinned the primer by about 40-50%. I'm not convinced that going this route would change the look of the grain any. It will prevent the stain from being as dark when you finish.

I'm not sure I understand what your intended finish is to be. Are you trying to match some existing cabinets? or just want a good finish on a set of cabinets?

While it's true that a water based poly won't yellow or change the look of the stained wood [other than give it sheen] water based polys don't dry to as hard a film as their oil base counterparts. Personally, I like how oil base poly/varnish deepens the colors naturally in the wood [with or without stain] and how it ambers with age. The down side of oil base poly is the odor and longer drying time.
 
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Old 11-24-11, 04:06 PM
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I'm refinishing kitchen cabinets. They are a veneer...I believe birch. The finish on them had to be the original, approximately 40 years old. The cabinets themselves are in good shape so I would like to refinish rather than replace. When I stripped them though, I discovered what I thought was maple turned out to be birch, and not a very attractive grain at that. I'd like to try to replicate a factory finish i.e., hiding or significantly playing down that grain.

Painting would be so much easier, but I have never been a fan of painted wood. I much prefer a stain finish and am willing to put in some extra work if the goal is feasible.
 
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Old 11-25-11, 04:31 AM
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While I've stained/finished a fair amount of new birch cabinets I've never done anything to them that would change the grain other than the color with regular stain. I have no idea as to how your proposed plan will work. If you go that route, start on the back of the cabinet doors to see if it's a viable option and to fine tune your technique.

Getting a good finish isn't all that difficult. Basically if all the previous finish has been removed [both chemically and mechanically/sanding]; you'd apply the stain [removing the excess] and then apply 3 coats of poly sanding lightly and removing the sanding dust between coats.
 
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Old 11-26-11, 10:36 AM
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I would either paint or stain the cabinets (actually, I know I would stain as I don't like to see good wood covered with paint) but I would not follow the process you outlined to start this post, it doesn't sound like a good idea to me.
 
 

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