Monday, October 29, 2012

My first DIY fail

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was refinishing my kitchen cabinets.  They were in good shape, but I was sick of medium oak - it's EVERYWHERE in my house. 
I decided against painting because I wanted to keep the wood grain, but knew that staining would be considerably more work since I would have to strip off the existing poly.  Plus I'd heard that poly is not fun to apply.

I chose a dark (but not black) stain.
Anyway over my last week of vacation (from work) I took all the cabinet doors down.  I bought a power sander and sanded all the flat surfaces.  Then applied the stripper to the parts that couldn't be sanded (the stripping had to happen in shifts because I didn't have space to lay out all the doors at once).  And then scraped the stripper and poly off the cabinet doors - it was NOT a fun process.

I used this stripper - no smell and I think it worked pretty good.
The doors took quite a bit longer than the cabinet boxes because I could just sand 95% of the boxes eliminating the time consuming stripping process.  That's why you've already seen this pic.

Once I finished with the boxes I focused on the doors.  I used the sock applicator method.  Basically I put a rubber glove on my hand, covered the glove with an old sock and dipped the hand into the stain and then applied to the wood.  The first time I waited to wipe the stain for 10 min cause I wanted it to be darker.  Yeah in 10 min it was too dry and ended up streaky - I had to do those 7 doors all over.  My advice is to apply the stain to the whole door and then wipe immediately.

After two coats of stain (front and back) I applied the poly with a brush.  I used Rustoleum Poly and LOVED it.  I was careful to brush it on really thin, but I didn't have any problems with visible brush strokes or drips.

Finally I put it all back together and here it is...

The good news is that I'm very happy with the color of the cabinet doors.  The bad news is that they are a different color than the boxes.  I think that since the stain was applied to the cabinet doors when they were lying flat more was absorbed.  And since I did the doors in the garage, I didn't notice the difference in color until they were up.  It's even more obvious up close.

Once Christmas season is over I'm planning to pull the doors back off and re-do the boxes (and a couple of the doors), but for now I'm going to live with it.  Sigh.  I am going to paint the walls very soon because as much as I HATED the maroon with the medium oak, it's even worse with the darker cabinets.

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