staining birch kitchen cabinets
Hello I am going to move into my first house in October and my first project is to restain our birch kitchen cabinets. They are currently a very light stain that almost looks like perhaps just a clear coat. I would like to stain them to look much darker, in either a mahogany or english chesnut. I am new to staining as well as DIY house projects but I have been researching the different options of how to get this finish. There seem to be so many I would like to ask which would be the best in my situation. In terms of stains there seems to be a lot of benefits using gel stains, oil based stains, and I've even heard of dying the wood? My other confusion is how to take the current finish off of the cabinets there seems to be so many options even polyeurathane 2 in 1 spray on finish (which can't look too natural?) some options which talk about lightly sanding and then staining, or using a wood stripper. Originally I was thinking I'd sand down the cabinets, put on a wood conditioner, probably 2-3 coats of a stain of choice (i'm thinking 2-3 since i'm going really dark) and then seal with a polyeurathane semi gloss topcoat but now I'm a little overwhelmed
I will be testing out different shades and types of stains to see which would be the best on samples of birch plywood but I would appreciate any direction.
I would sand down all the wooden surfaces with 100grit sandpaper to prepare the wood to accept the stain. After all surfaces are sanded and cleaned with cheese cloth I would purchase a pre-conditioner and apply a coat of the conditioner to the wood surfaces with a paint brush in long even strokes and wipe off any excess with a clean cloth. (Do a section at a time).The wood conditioner acts like a clear pre-stain which the wood soaks up like a coat of colored stain, but since it is clear it does not leave visible blotches. After the pre-conditioner is all applied and wiped down let it completely dry for 24 hours or according to label directions.
Now before applying the desired wood stain mix the stain with a stir stick to dissolve any solid bits that settled to the bottom of the can and apply the stain to the wood surfaces with a clean paint brush. You should stain one section at a time using the same process for staining as for applying the pre-conditioner. Allow the stain to sit on each section for the same amount of time. Wipe off excess stain with a clean cloth and when all stain is applied and all excess wiped let it dry according to the label directions and then re-apply all hardware and install.
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