Kitchen cabinets need a facelift

Hi,
We own a house that's around 50 years old. The kitchen cabinets are a pine-paneling type with hammered copper hardware (probably original). I refinshed the doors about a year ago because they had years of grease, stains, dings, and wear (especially under the handles). Overall, they turned out pretty good. I sanded them to bare wood then polyed them, but now I'm thinking perhaps I'm a little tired of the pine look and am thinking about painting them. So, a few questions...
1) Since I recently refinished them and I don't fry (grease), they should be pretty "clean", Is there a paint I can apply right over the poly or do I need to sand them again and prime them? It's a galley-type kitchen and there are 34 doors. Took quite a while to sand them all down the first time so I'd like to avoid it if it's still possible to get a quality result without sanding them.
2) Is it possible to fill in the panel-type indentations with wood filler so I can update that look too? This is real paneling, not a beadboard type of material. In fact, the dining room appears to have this paneling on its walls. Will wood filler stick to the gooves and take paint well? Overall the cabinets are in good physical shape, just need a face lift. It's likely that we'll be replacing or refacing them in 8-10 years anyway so I don't want to spend a lot of money on this.
Thanks for your insight and experience!
Please post or you can e-mail me at emergencyfan(AT)bellsouth.net The address I use for google is a throwaway address to prevent spammers. Thanks!
Erika
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No matter how clean they look, t here will be grease residue. If they are in very good condition, you may get away with cleaning and just a light sanding.

It may, but it is going to be a lot of work to get them realy perfect. You will be doing a lot of sanding. I'd consider taking them to a shop with a wide belt sander if you go with the filler. I'd clean out the grooves with a router so the filler adheres properly.
Overall the cabinets are in good physical shape, just

For the amount of work filling them, it may be a consideration to make new doors of a simple design.
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Erika,
I can understand your wanting to do a face-lift on the cabinets but there are alternatives that may not involve as much risk (splotched job) and work. If the cabinet faces are in good shape now and all you want is a new look - consider that the "retro look" is new again. Perhaps emphasizing the period by adding some decorative items of that era, change out of the table and chairs etc. may give you a whole new look that you're overlooking - so to speak.
Last year I went thru two kitchen renovations with my sisters-in-laws. One was where I built 40 new raised panel cabinet and drawer fronts and the other was just a clean them up and add some period 50's-60's decorations. Both turned out excellent and both were very happy. I am building a table top for the 50's kitchen and she has had a lot of compliments on how refreshing her kitchen looks.
Just a thought,
Bob S.

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Melamine paint sticks to just about anything. That being said, surface prep is very important. At the very minimum, you should degrease the doors with a TSP solution. It doesn't matter if you fry or not, you still need to degrease, even if just to get rid of fingerprints. A light scuff sanding would also be a good idea and provide a bit of tooth for better paint adhesion.

It'll probably stick if the grooves are clean. Taking paint well is also not a problem. Just use a good primer.
Some problems with that approach:
- there is a lot of work involved in filling the grooves and sanding level. At least as much, if not more than the first time you sanded
- wood will expand and contract with seasonal changes in humidity. Wood filler will not. You may find that the filled grooves will show cracks in the near future.
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