Finishing Cabinets


I have an airless sprayer that I've never used before. If I were to buy a kitchen full of unfinished oak cabinets, could I use it to finish them?
I'm clueless about using stain through a sprayer, but It'd need wiped off no matter what we do...the bigger issue is the polyurethane. Last time, I put 6 coats of semi-gloss minwax poly on with a foam brush, it took a long long time as I would shine light at an angle to show the bubbles and brush each of those out before the coat dried, then sanded with 400 grit paper until smooth, then applied another coat....like I said forever.
Is there a better finish than polyurethane for this, like something that doesn't bubble at all?
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There are many types of airless sprayers, some very good, others are crap. What do you have?
Poly would have to be thinned to spray, but it can be done. Lacquer is another option.
Brushed poly can be done with three coats. The first thinned about 20%, the other two about 5%. Let the last coat dry for two weeks, then sand with 400 grit, 600 grit, then polished with pumice and waxed. Time consuming, but makes a very elegant finish if done right.
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It's a campbell hausfeild... it's a cheapo he said.
Is lacquer better for cabinets than poly?
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I would think that poly would resist water a lot better.
Would you really save anything by buying unfinished?
Bob
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I recently refinished a bunch of oak kitchen cabinets.
I used Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane (Gloss) applied with a foam brush. Very light sanding between coats with 400 grit and a final finish with 0000 steel wool and some wax.
Although the finished job is not totally perfect because of damage to the original wood and a few traces of old finish in the corners of the moldings etc. I had absolutely zero problems with brush marks or bubbles. Even dust was not much of an issue -- that was a nice surprise considering all of the work was done in an ordinary residential garage which was actively used at the time.
I've looked at the units pretty hard and every flaw I can find is down to imperfect prep work (I had a lot of cabinets and didn't want to spend a year on the project). I really can't find any flaws in the new finish itself. The color is natural and I imagine more flaws would show up had I used a very dark colored stain.
Overall, I think spraying is likely to create more problems than it solves unless you have really good equipment and some experience.
I am really convinced about using full gloss (versus semi-gloss or satin finishes) and then knocking off the plastic-look with steel wool or some other abrassive. It gives a much nicer final finish, IMO.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

this method to finish some oak cabinets and it came out very nice and elegant. Looks like a nice professionally done job. I experimented with a few samples before I do the cabinets.
http://www.homesteadfinishing.com/pdf/mission_oak.pdf
at the end of the article there is a link to more options, make sure you look at those also.
The author uses Waterlox products for sealing and top coating. These products are very durable and easy to use (a bit pricey, but worth it).
Most of the work uses dye for coloring, but you could use stain. I recommend the use of Gel Stain. It gives the finish a rich look and depth.
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