Cherry kitchen cabinetry needs touch up refinishing

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Old 02-13-16, 08:17 AM
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Cherry kitchen cabinetry needs touch up refinishing

We recently purchased a 10 year old home with a kitchen that has solid cherry cabinets. I'm told the cabinetry is quite expensive and the natural finish is due to the exposure of light on the cherry over time, meaning the cabinets were darker when they were first finished. Over time, the finish has worn away on some cabinets that are closest to the sink and were exposed to repeated moisture or wear.

What is the best way to go about touching up these cabinets? I tried Howard's Natural Restore a Finish and it darkened the wood significantly (shown in second picture towards the bottom of the cabinet face). Should I just apply a clear coat of poly on the bare areas and expose the cabinet to sun light to lighten that area quickly? Name:  IMG_1612.JPG
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Old 02-13-16, 09:11 AM
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You'd want to lightly sand before applying any poly, the damaged edge of the door may require heavier sanding. The wax you used would need to be removed as it will hinder the poly from adhering to the cabinets.
 
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Old 02-13-16, 09:28 AM
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Cherry gets darker as it ages... not lighter. The type of finish is what determines how much it will darken.

Have you determined what the existing finish even is?
 
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Old 02-13-16, 09:30 AM
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Looks like I had the concept of color aging backwards. I have no idea what type of finish they used on it and I'm not sure how to determine this. Any suggestions?
 
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Old 02-13-16, 10:54 AM
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Yikes, I read it backwards and thought it said the cabinets darkened with age which is what wood tends to do.

Most manufactured cabinets are finished with either poly or lacquer. I'd sand down the damage on the door edge and then wipe it down with a rag wet with thinner. If the damaged area blends in while still wet then a coat or two of oil base poly is all you need to do. If the sanded area is too light then you'll need to find a light stain that will make it match.
 
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Old 02-13-16, 11:39 AM
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The bare areas likely are darker because your product is an oil... not a wood finish, which was a big mistake. Good luck getting those areas lighter. I agree the finish is probably just a poly or lacquer... I'd be tempted to say poly... I doubt a lacquer would chip off cleanly like that.
 
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Old 02-13-16, 01:08 PM
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To test for lacquer, dab or wipe some lacquer thinner on the finish in an inconspicuous area. The lacquer will cloud up and return to normal.

In my opinion though, the color touch up will require some artistry regardless of finish coat.

The wood is not ready to accept stain and getting it ready usually causes more harm than good.
So the stain should be applied as if it were paint and will take some trial and error getting it right.

Edit: This is a longshot, but I don't see hardware in the photos. If there isn't any hardware, many doors can be reversed.
 
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Old 02-13-16, 03:20 PM
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I doubt I could get a pro to come in and do the touch up work since it is just a few cabinet doors that are affected. Nobody would bother with such a small project. Your feedback has given me some ideas of what to try next. Thanks so much to everyone for their advice and feedback!
 
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