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Old 09-20-2012, 10:35 AM   #1
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What to do with bathroom cabinets??


I'm wondering what to do with my bathroom cabinets. They are wood but they look as though someone hand made them. They are not flat wood they have many intricate pieces. Our house is a woodsy house so I would like to keep them and sand off the ugly blue paint, stain and get new hardware. I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas for me. I'm worried that this is going to be a huge sanding job and I wonder if it would be easier just to rip them out. Do you have any recommendations for me?? I'm going to try to post photos.

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Old 09-20-2012, 03:23 PM   #2
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What to do with bathroom cabinets??


First thing before you put a lot of work into them is to determine what they are made of. If they are a soft wood like pine, you may strip them, sand them and find that the different paints applied to them stained them so irregularly and badly they will never look right with a transparent stain and finish. Unless you need to remove built up layers of paint you might be better off painting them a color you like better.

I would start by getting one of the safe gel strippers and trying just a little corner somewhere to see what you can hope for at the end of the day. If the wood looks clean when stripped than move and do the rest of them. Follow with a liquid stripper to get what the gel did not. If you want to be really picky, follow that with a coat of shellac. Hopefully it will stick to most any paint still stuck in the grain. Then strip the shellac you put on and the paint stuck to it.

After that you can sand, stain and finish.

They do sound like they could be rather special if you can rescue them.

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Old 09-20-2012, 09:46 PM   #3
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What to do with bathroom cabinets??


It looks as though there is only one layer of paint. The knots of the wood are starting to show through. I tried to post a picture and it wouldn't work from my iPhone. If I do decide to strip it do I have to worry about fumes? It is our upstairs bathroom right next to my sons room. If I do strip it should I ventilate it well??
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Old 09-21-2012, 01:33 AM   #4
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What to do with bathroom cabinets??


With the older strippers you had to worry about fumes because they not only were potent in smell but were explosive! The newer gel and paste strippers are quite safe and have hardly any smell at all. With only a coat or so of paint on them, your project should go fairly fast. Make sure you have a very SHARP scraper to work with the stripper. You will need some fine grit paper. If in the budget, little mouse/palm orbital sanders come in handy (get one with an extraction system and rig it to go right into a shop vac even if it comes with a bag) for things like this. I have a little Dremel sander for intricate detail work as well. I thought I would never use it and planned to give it as a gift. It retailed for $90 but was buying liquidated by a company going out of business on eBay and I got it for $10. I use it more than I ever dreamed.

One other staining option I will mention while thinking of it. If the cabinets do not strip without staining from paint is to use a gel stain rather than a penetrating stain. Gel stains are more opaque and suited to such projects. I am not a big fan but they come in handy at times.

You mentioned knots bleeding through. Hopefully you will be able to strip the cabinets clean and stain and finish as you want. If you have to paint them again, you will want to seal the knots with shellac or a sealer/primer like BIN. Both are in part alcohol based so you will want to make sure you have adequate ventilation for that part of things.

And remember, your best source of quality paint materials is a paint store or authorized dealer of real paint like Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, etc. Stay away from box store stuff. This concept of buying fish, donuts, coffee and paint in the same place is just not right anyhow.

Last edited by user1007; 09-21-2012 at 01:40 AM.
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