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#4803133 - 07/02/18 12:38 PM Any Woodworkers out There?
Sierra048 Offline


Registered: 02/26/11
Posts: 846
Loc: N. Georgia Mtns



These are some pics of our kitchen cabinets. They are made from some pine variant. They aren't rough so they were finished with some kind of coating or sealant. They have dulled and we've tried to bring back their luster with Lemon Pledge and Murphy's Oil Soap. The results don't last long. Would a coating of polyurethane bring about a more shiny, long-lasting result. I don't want to try something I'm not sure about ad mess them up which might require a significant $$$ expenditure. Thanks.

Edit: Sorry the pics are sideways. Not sure how to fix that.


Edited by Sierra048 (07/02/18 12:39 PM)
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#4803151 - 07/02/18 12:57 PM Re: Any Woodworkers out There? [Re: Sierra048]
Jimzz Offline


Registered: 10/03/14
Posts: 1170
Loc: NoVA
Yea probably has a coat of poly on it.

You can remove all hardware, best to uninstall and take to a shop/clean room, and scuff them with a green scrub pad. Then wipe down clean. After that put on a very thin cost of water based gloss poly like this.

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Minwax-Polycrylic-Gloss-Water-Based-32-fl-oz-Polyurethane/999913683

You can always add more coats but harder to removes to thick and/or runs. The foam brushes work well for this type of job.
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#4803157 - 07/02/18 01:00 PM Re: Any Woodworkers out There? [Re: Sierra048]
demarpaint Offline


Registered: 07/03/05
Posts: 29976
Loc: NY
Yes a polyurethane or spar varnish will give you a long lasting more shiny look, depending on the finish [satin or high gloss]. Spar varnish would be my choice. The bad news is the residual/traces of Lemon Pledge and Murphy's Oil soap must be COMPLETELY removed. I'd wash everything down with Prep-All, Wil-Bond, Simple Green, Purple Power, or the like. The first two are the best, and the most toxic. Then lightly sand it and clean the surface again. Once dry have at it.

Polyurethane and spar varnish will give it a bit more of an amber cast. I'm not a fan of the water-born polys.
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#4803292 - 07/02/18 03:33 PM Re: Any Woodworkers out There? [Re: Sierra048]
BrocLuno Offline


Registered: 09/06/15
Posts: 5612
Loc: Kalifornia Kollective
So if they were store bough cabinets (no local custom builds), they likely have a coating system known as "conversion varnish" on them. Look that up. It's a catalyzed varnish system that is sprayed on. Very hard and durable.

If that's what is on there, you want to do this carefully. You can disassemble as described above, lightly sand and re-varnish over the existing coating. Do not sand through the existing coating. Only enough to get some "tooth" for the new coating.

You can not have ANY waxy or oily contaminates on the surface. So you have to wash them very well before you start. Murphy oil and Pledge both leave a film that will mess up the adhesion.

If you can take the doors and drawers out and either spray them yourself in the garage, or have it done - that is the best way. Any and all brush finishes will leave brush marks here and there ...

You can do the cabinet frames with a foam brush in place, but be careful to use long smooth strokes, and no follow-up strokes as the varnish kicks off. You'll need multiple light sources so you can continuously check for holidays and runs ...

All clear coating systems are prismatic. That is, as the number of coats builds up, the look gets better and deeper. The water based systems can be cloudy and or plastic coat looking sometimes. I am a strong supporter of MinWax Polyurethane varnish. Semi-gloss usually goes well on cabinets smile
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#4803293 - 07/02/18 03:33 PM Re: Any Woodworkers out There? [Re: Sierra048]
Johnny2Bad Offline


Registered: 05/20/13
Posts: 1879
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
You will have to strip off any Pledge that remains (it's spray wax) before you can recoat with polyurethane. Do it before you sand it or you will just embed wax into the sanded areas. Not a furniture stripper, no need to go there, but ask at the paint store what they recommend for a mild wax remover.
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#4803317 - 07/02/18 04:30 PM Re: Any Woodworkers out There? [Re: Sierra048]
Stevie Offline


Registered: 11/08/04
Posts: 213
Loc: Port Aransas, TX
I think it would look much better to paint with a semi gloss gray paint or color that would go with your room. My wife repainted all our kitchen cabinets from wood to painted and it looks much more modern and so much nicer. I'm no decorator but you have that nice granite tabletop with that cheap rustic pine with knots. IMHO it just doesn't look right.


Edited by Stevie (07/02/18 04:31 PM)

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#4803344 - 07/02/18 05:22 PM Re: Any Woodworkers out There? [Re: Sierra048]
doitmyself Offline


Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 6269
Loc: MI
My 2 cents

I think that Lemon Pledge contains silicone, so be extra careful to get them squeaky clean before doing any other prep work (roughening, etc.).

I've gone to exclusively using home made wipe on finishes on my wood working projects. My experience with the over-the-counter polyurethanes is that they yellow badly after 6 years or so. I've recently switched to using Pratt & Lambert #38 thinned to wiping consistency based on Sawmill Creek recommendations:

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1&ei=f6U6W4fGGoeMjwT1z6CYAQ&q=wipe+on+pratt+%26+lambert+38&oq=wipe+on+pratt+%26+lambert+38&gs_l=psy-ab.12...2906.5348.0.8214.8.8.0.0.0.0.106.720.4j4.8.0....0...1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.2.205...0i13k1j0i13i30k1j0i8i13i30k1.0.QNoVB8iZ1nk

I'll need 5 years or so to report the final results.

To learn the technique of wipe on varnish, study the info of Bob Flexner: https://www.google.com/search?client=fir.....0.oVb4h-0CPDQ


Water bourne products would not yellow at all, but I have NO experience using them. Other products such as catalyzed varnish would require upping the equipment and skill level.

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#4803358 - 07/02/18 05:31 PM Re: Any Woodworkers out There? [Re: Stevie]
BHopkins Offline


Registered: 11/03/13
Posts: 1105
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By: Stevie
I think it would look much better to paint with a semi gloss gray paint or color that would go with your room. My wife repainted all our kitchen cabinets from wood to painted and it looks much more modern and so much nicer. I'm no decorator but you have that nice granite tabletop with that cheap rustic pine with knots. IMHO it just doesn't look right.


Anyone who would apply paint to a beautiful piece of finished wood like that shown by the OP, should be taken out in the middle of the desert on a hot August day, stripped naked, staked by all four to the top of an ant hill, and then covered with honey.

Why anyone would think that painted cabinets look more rich than natural grained wood is beyond me. The entire trend of painted kitchen cabinets came from people who overspent their budget when building a house, and then could not afford beautiful wood kitchen cabinets. So they were offered painted cabinets made out of mdf. Now, for some reason, some people think it's a good idea to paint cabinets even when they have a beautiful grain finish. How the @#*$ one thinks they can improve on nature is beyond me.

But that's just my opinion. Yours may differ.
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#4803378 - 07/02/18 05:45 PM Re: Any Woodworkers out There? [Re: Sierra048]
doitmyself Offline


Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 6269
Loc: MI
Delete post (darned site won't let you do this).


Edited by doitmyself (07/02/18 05:47 PM)

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#4803397 - 07/02/18 06:04 PM Re: Any Woodworkers out There? [Re: BHopkins]
Stevie Offline


Registered: 11/08/04
Posts: 213
Loc: Port Aransas, TX
Originally Posted By: BHopkins
Originally Posted By: Stevie
I think it would look much better to paint with a semi gloss gray paint or color that would go with your room. My wife repainted all our kitchen cabinets from wood to painted and it looks much more modern and so much nicer. I'm no decorator but you have that nice granite tabletop with that cheap rustic pine with knots. IMHO it just doesn't look right.


Anyone who would apply paint to a beautiful piece of finished wood like that shown by the OP, should be taken out in the middle of the desert on a hot August day, stripped naked, staked by all four to the top of an ant hill, and then covered with honey.

Why anyone would think that painted cabinets look more rich than natural grained wood is beyond me. The entire trend of painted kitchen cabinets came from people who overspent their budget when building a house, and then could not afford beautiful wood kitchen cabinets. So they were offered painted cabinets made out of mdf. Now, for some reason, some people think it's a good idea to paint cabinets even when they have a beautiful grain finish. How the @#*$ one thinks they can improve on nature is beyond me.

But that's just my opinion. Yours may differ.



I was trying to be as kind as I could about the wood IMHO. Then you want to kill me?

You think that is a beautiful wood? You should have seen the inside of my 40 ft. sailboat. Teak, Honduras and Brazilian Mahogany. All sanded between coats of gloss varnish.

Sorry buddy but what you see here is not beautiful wood , but the cheapest [censored] you can find. I tried to say it nicely before but since you want to kill. No big deal now....


Edited by Stevie (07/02/18 06:25 PM)

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#4803454 - 07/02/18 07:19 PM Re: Any Woodworkers out There? [Re: demarpaint]
spasm3 Offline


Registered: 05/30/10
Posts: 8763
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: demarpaint
Yes a polyurethane or spar varnish will give you a long lasting more shiny look, depending on the finish [satin or high gloss]. Spar varnish would be my choice. The bad news is the residual/traces of Lemon Pledge and Murphy's Oil soap must be COMPLETELY removed. I'd wash everything down with Prep-All, Wil-Bond, Simple Green, Purple Power, or the like. The first two are the best, and the most toxic. Then lightly sand it and clean the surface again. Once dry have at it.

Polyurethane and spar varnish will give it a bit more of an amber cast. I'm not a fan of the water-born polys.



This. I am refinishing my cabinets in my kitchen. I've done the top and and i need to find time to do the bottom. You MUST remove all of the polish, wax etc. Some furniture polishes have silicone and that makes fisheyes in about any finish. I used simple green spray and a cleaned them. The second time i cleaned them with a 3m ultrafine pad with the simple green. Wipe down after with a cotton cloth. I then wiped down the wood with a cloth and mineral spirits. Since my cabinets were a dark cherry stained maple. I went over them with a light rubbing of red mahogany stain, this stained any areas that had worn through the existing finish. I let these cabinet doors dry for about 2 days.

Brushing poly on vertical surfaces is tough. Minwax does make a wipe-on poly that is basically thinned down poly. This works well to avoid drips. Since it is thin, you will need about 3-4 coats. The more coats you put on , even with satin, the more the finish moves to a semigloss finish. The wipe-on allows you to fix and bubbles or junk in the finish before adding another coat. I have tried the water born poly on a few stained window sills, and the water base( really its probably acrylic) just is not durable. It is clear though. The oil base poly is tougher , but will amber a it, especially in the sun. ( not a problem for my dark cabinets, but might be for light pine).

Now to the design portion, the pine may not really match your kitchen. Another option is paint. I really don't like painted cabinets, but it has its place.

One option for you , might be to do a worn though paint finish in color that matches your kitchen. Basically you add a dark layer , paint over that with a color you like, Let it cure a week, then carefully sand through with a really light pad, like the 3m ultrafine pad. Then wipe-on poly over that. I would buy a cheap piece of furniture to practice this on. Like i said, i'm not a huge fan, but might work well on pine cabinets.

There are several techniques for doing this , using beeswax etc. rather than sand through both coats of color accidentally. Personally , i'd dry brush some, or use ultrafine pads and cut through really slow. The beeswax will be tough to get off to poly over, so i'd avoid that technique if you plan to topcoat with poly.

Something like this;







Edited by spasm3 (07/02/18 07:23 PM)
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#4803477 - 07/02/18 07:53 PM Re: Any Woodworkers out There? [Re: Stevie]
BHopkins Offline


Registered: 11/03/13
Posts: 1105
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By: Stevie
Originally Posted By: BHopkins
Originally Posted By: Stevie
I think it would look much better to paint with a semi gloss gray paint or color that would go with your room. My wife repainted all our kitchen cabinets from wood to painted and it looks much more modern and so much nicer. I'm no decorator but you have that nice granite tabletop with that cheap rustic pine with knots. IMHO it just doesn't look right.


Anyone who would apply paint to a beautiful piece of finished wood like that shown by the OP, should be taken out in the middle of the desert on a hot August day, stripped naked, staked by all four to the top of an ant hill, and then covered with honey.

Why anyone would think that painted cabinets look more rich than natural grained wood is beyond me. The entire trend of painted kitchen cabinets came from people who overspent their budget when building a house, and then could not afford beautiful wood kitchen cabinets. So they were offered painted cabinets made out of mdf. Now, for some reason, some people think it's a good idea to paint cabinets even when they have a beautiful grain finish. How the @#*$ one thinks they can improve on nature is beyond me.

But that's just my opinion. Yours may differ.



I was trying to be as kind as I could about the wood IMHO. Then you want to kill me?

You think that is a beautiful wood? You should have seen the inside of my 40 ft. sailboat. Teak, Honduras and Brazilian Mahogany. All sanded between coats of gloss varnish.

Sorry buddy but what you see here is not beautiful wood , but the cheapest [censored] you can find. I tried to say it nicely before but since you want to kill. No big deal now....


Haha. I don't want to kill anyone. If you couldn't tell from my description, it was meant to be in humor, while impressing that I find natural wood beautiful.


Honestly, I find most all woods beautiful. I love Teak. Mahogany is absolutely stunning. So is Cherry, Walnut and knotty Hickory. I absolutely love a Maple burl when finished right. And yes, there is something beautiful about knotty Pine. It has a real Western outdoors look to it, that most other woods can't compare to. When done right, it makes a statement about making something absolutely beautiful out of the resources available where one lives.

Perhaps you haven't noticed, but by very far, most will never have a 40' sailboat, let alone be able to have one finished with hand rubbed and finished Brazilian or Honduras Mahogany. To suggest that since the OP's pine doesn't measure up to what you have, sounds quite elitist. But that couldn't be the case. I'm not saying you are. But, well, it came across that way. Big time.
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#4803522 - 07/02/18 09:01 PM Re: Any Woodworkers out There? [Re: BHopkins]
Stevie Offline


Registered: 11/08/04
Posts: 213
Loc: Port Aransas, TX
Originally Posted By: BHopkins

Perhaps you haven't noticed, but by very far, most will never have a 40' sailboat, let alone be able to have one finished with hand rubbed and finished Brazilian or Honduras Mahogany. To suggest that since the OP's pine doesn't measure up to what you have, sounds quite elitist. But that couldn't be the case. I'm not saying you are. But, well, it came across that way. Big time.


sounds quite elitist? My boat was sweat equity. Actually I had less into that boat then most folks pay for their used pick up truck. I saved a custom built wooden boat built in a top boatyard. It had been very neglected. See the before and after pictures. Lots of credit on the boat is to my wife is an excellent woodworker.


And IMHO the OP show paint over that wood.




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#4803742 - 07/03/18 07:57 AM Re: Any Woodworkers out There? [Re: Sierra048]
Sierra048 Offline


Registered: 02/26/11
Posts: 846
Loc: N. Georgia Mtns
Our downstairs walls are all knotty pine. Pretty sure that's why they put these cabinets in. To keep with the wood scheme. It is after all a mountain home. Most homes up here use the same ideas. I uploaded some pics of our walls. Sorry for the quality.

After reading all the responses, I think I'm just going to keep doing what we've been doing. They do look good for a while. It sounds like it would be more work than I care to take on now. We don't plan on moving anytime, or meeting our Maker any time soon, but at our age anything can happen. If I was a lot younger, and planned on living here a long time, I would consider some of your great suggestions. I'll leave that to the next owner to decide. Painting them would surely expedite my meeting, courtesy of Mrs Sierra048. Again, thanks for all the input.




Edited by Sierra048 (07/03/18 07:58 AM)
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#4804326 - 07/03/18 06:49 PM Re: Any Woodworkers out There? [Re: Sierra048]
spasm3 Offline


Registered: 05/30/10
Posts: 8763
Loc: North Carolina
If you don't want a major job, you can clean with simple green, buff with a 3m ultra fine pad, wipe down with mineral spirits, and use the wipe on poly. You will need to remove the cabinet doors and handles.
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