We just bought a house. The cabinets are original, site-built, vintage 1970. They're in pretty good shape overall, but a few have some wear, especially the drawers.
I want to sand and/or use steel wool to clean them up and smooth them off, and then put some kind of finish on them. They seem to have a light varnish or possibly oil on them.
What are my options? Don't want to paint. Wife wants to add a reddish tint.
One thing that comes to mind is that I can test any potential finish on the inside of one of the doors that's over the fridge. I'm thinking of testing out a colored oil finish on them to see if it takes.
TSP wash, and a light sand. Then check out Sikkens Cetol Log Decor. Its a translucent finish, meaning it has color in it. Gel stain might be another option, or a combination of the two. This really isnt a hard thing to do provided that you're ok with the cabinets getting darker. The more color you add, the darker they will get.