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chibear1986 08-19-2010 12:16 AM

Seeking a darker finish for wooden cabinets
My current kitchen cabinets are maple with a very light finish, I was seeking a cherry mahogany color. I've done some research and I've read anything ranging from stripping the current finish with paint stripper, to sanding, to just going over the current finish with a Minwax Polyshade and doing no prep work. I've never done anything like this before, so can someone please help me out here and possibly reference a good tutorial, good stain brands, etc?

Here is the current cabinet color:

This is what I'm going for (something like this):

chibear1986 08-21-2010 06:43 PM


Giles 08-21-2010 07:11 PM

I don't think there is an "easy" way:( If you want a quality job, I would remove the doors and use paint stripper to remove all the old finish and sand to new wood. This is if you want a stained wood finish.
If you would be just as happy with a painted surface, You could sand all surfaces lightly to remove the shine, thoroughly clean the surface and apply paint finish.:thumbsup:

Millertyme 08-21-2010 07:16 PM

in order to get the look you want you will most likely need to sand down to bare wood. In order to do that you need to get rid of the varnish 1st. You can sand it if you want, but the old varnish will keep clogging the paper. So I would use a stripper. Stripease works well. use a wire brush to get in crevices. After the striper has dried completely,maybe a day, go back and sand with 80g paper to remove residue and stain. Work your way up to 150 or 220grit. If you intend to stain a dark color, watch out for sanding marks across the grain as they will be magnified by the dark stain..Use a sample piece to test stain.

Windows 08-21-2010 08:09 PM

Maple is usually finished in light, natural tones because it doesn't take stain very well. Doing it properly may involve sanding to bare wood, applying a sealer or shellac, spraying on a dye, and then doing a wiping stain, followed by clear coat, which you will probably want to spray as well.

Easier and better to simply get new cabinets than try to convert them in my opinion.

chibear1986 08-21-2010 08:32 PM

o from what I understand the steps are as following to re-finish my cabinets:

1) Sand down the cabinets with 80 grit, then 120 grit
2) Wipe down the cabinets to remove dust and go over with mineral spirits
3) Apply tinted poly shade coat,
let dry for 15 minutes
wipe down access poly,
wait 6 - 8 hours,
sand by hand with light grit,
wipe down with rag
apply another coat of poly
continue process until desired color
4) Same process as above, except with clear poly shade (2 layer should be sufficient)

Are the steps above correct? Or am i missing something?

Finally, I've read gel stain is also a good alternative. Can anybody chime in here?

Millertyme 08-22-2010 09:05 AM

gel stains are better to be used on more porous woods like pine, because it doesn't penetrate into the pores as much as other stains. I would use a dye stain rather than a penetrating stain. You will get better results

chibear1986 08-23-2010 02:53 PM

After reading the following post:

I was inspired to use a combo of water and gel stain -- the individual had good results. If anyone else have any other helpful suggestion feel free to advise.

timothytaylor 08-24-2010 11:15 PM

I think you would have to remove all the cabinet doors first, sand them, same as with the cabinets. then you could buy a stain, apply the stain, some varnish then you're good to go. sounds easier said than done though.

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