How can I darken my kitchen cupboards without sanding to bare wood

We want to darken our honey oak colored cupboards to a darker brown. They are lightly stained with some kind of clear coat on top.
There are also a lot of them, and sanding to bare wood is not worth the labour since they have lots of contours.
I am interested in finding a method where I can clean all the doors with acetone or some similar spirit, lightly sand and spray a semi transparent pigment on top, followed by several coats of satin clear coat. The idea is to preserve the grain through the new finish. Is this realistic or am I crazy?
I have heard of tinted clear polyurathanes but am not used them. I have sprayed plenty of polyurathanes but never tinted clears. I find this idea attractive because I can also brush it on if I have to for the sections of cabinetry that cannot be taken outside.
As with any semi transparent spray, getting even coverage would be challenging and I have the backs of all the doors to practice on..
Any advice here would be encouraging.
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On Nov 18, 3:13 pm, snipped-for-privacy@shaw7777777777.ca wrote:

IMHO, the best thing to use to stain without obscuring the grain is a dye- which won't work for you in this case because you already have a top coat. Anything else ( gel stain, tinted lacquer, etc ) will obscure will hide the grain to some degree. Just my 2 cents. Gene
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You can tint most clear coat most film finishes including lacquer and poly. Mid priced furniture manufactures do this all the time. The cautions are it is not very repairable, you need to be very careful about even application to achieve an even tone with no lap marks. Also, over refurbished material can be even more difficult because any uneven tone on the base material will telegraph right through. You can mitigate this by featureing in lighter areas.
Look at Trans Tint colors ay www.homesteadfinishing.com. The specs should say what materials it can be used in but ploy should surely be on the list. One trick it to use a very light mix and do lots of copats to bring it up to the color you want. This can help avoid some of the difficulties. Keep in mid many coats of a lighter color will be light. Use a dark color but mix it weak and build it with lots of coats. No need for clear over the top but it won't hurt.
On Nov 18, 5:13 pm, snipped-for-privacy@shaw7777777777.ca wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@shaw7777777777.ca wrote on 18 Nov 2007 in group rec.woodworking:

I found something called Restor-A-Finish at the store the other day. It comes in various colors (walnut, golden oak, etc.), and you just wipe it on over the whole surface. The can says you can use steel wool for rough finishes. It seems to slightly dissolve the surface of the existing finish, then immediately dry.
So far I've redone some chairs for a client. They look great, and I got to avoid stripping. I still had to touch up a few bare spots with furniture markers, and I'll spray on some lacquer when I'm done.
You might be able to use a darker color over what you have.
It's another option.
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Steve B.
New Life Home Improvement
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snipped-for-privacy@shaw7777777777.ca wrote:

Behlen's sells tinted nitrocellulose lacquer in various shades in "rattle cans" under the name of "Master Toner". See"
http://www.abbotpaint.com/department.cfm/011203040102/Behlen%20Master%20Toner%20 (B103%20Series)
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Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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You could try some of this stuff. http://www.sprayonmud.com /
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Bill Pounds
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I found something that works well. It is tinted polyurathane. Not for the careless but if careful the results are fabulous. I used Minwax polyshades. I brushed the bits between the doors, and sprayed the doors.
Spray on mud is the most pathetic thing I have seen for a very long time. It amazes me how easily some people are parted with thier money.

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On Nov 18, 8:13 pm, snipped-for-privacy@shaw7777777777.ca wrote:

See if you can find a copy of "Adventures in Wood Finishing", by George Frank. He tells of a way to darken oak without removing the finish. It might work in your case, or it might not. Should be worth a try, though.
Of course, if you really want to refinish, others have given you advice.....
If you can't find the book, here's a hint: ammonia fuming.
John Martin
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