stain for plywood cabinets

This is probably more appropriate for the woodworking group, but I'll cast my line out and see what happens.
The finish on my cabinets is a badly worn varnish. I say varnish because its a flaky yellowish crystaline substance from the 1960's over plywood. After removing the varnish from the cabinet boards I notice that the cabinet isn't a natural wood color so I'm assuming it was stained. My question is what kind of a finish would be best for wood like this?
It's not like its raw plywood or something, it has a nice hard smooth finish so being unfamiliar with plywood construction I can only assume its a hardwood laminate or similar material.
I guess my question is, if I restain it, do I need to apply varnish to seal or are there better alternatives? What if I like the original color and simply want to seal/complete the finish from weathering (hands, kitchen smoke, traffic, etc..)
I'm used to working with linseed oil, I use it to refinish my gunstocks, but something tells me I don't want something that flammable in the kitchen.
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There are many ways to go. Take some photos and go to a good paint store and get some recommendations. Things to consider:
1/ cost 2/ durability 3/ ease of preparation and application (can a DIYer get a good result) 4/ smell (some modern finishes are just awful)
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http://www.trtube.com/izle.php?v=yoeavtxpfo
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Linseed oil would not be flammable once cured,but is still a poor choice for a kitchen. I'd go with a polyurethane as it is easy to clean.
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wrote:

I second that. They make low VOC poly so it won't stink up the house. My kitchen is all either stainless or poly over wood (including the countertops) They are bulletproof and everything comes off with a wet sponge.
As for the stain, try a small out of the way spot but I bet the only way you get a decent result is to strip it completety. Be aware if it is a hardwood overlay you will be down to the base wood in about a silly millimeter so sand carefully. In the end you might end up with a laminate on it.
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It's probably varnish, as you suspect. So, it's oil based, being of that vintage. Using any waterbased product over it will likely not be satisfactory. I would remove the doors/drawers, take them out of the kitchen (outside?) and sand them to remove the varnish coat. If you are OK with present stain color, then recoat with an oil based polyurethane. If you want a different shade or color, You may have to resort to stripping it all, then sanding. Even if you apply an oil based paint, you will need to sand away the varnish coat first. Whatever you decide, the face frames will have to have the same treatment, of course. good luck!! Gene

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wrote:

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Some suggestions...
Use a good quality, full gloss, oil based poly. Apply with a good foam brush -- the Wooster's sold at Lowes are excellent and very inexpensive. Stir (don't shake) the poly and thin it with mineral spirits if that helps.
Apply about 4 coats, waiting about 24 hours for each one to dry. Sand *very* lightly between coats with 400 grit.
After the final coat wait a few days for a full cure. Then, if you want to knock down the plastic-like look, rub the new finish with 0000 steel wool and some good quality wax. It will make it silky smooth but not glossy.
If you're careful and patient, you'll have a really professional looking finish. I used this protocol on some beaten-up kitchen cabinets and the final result was simply wonderful. The striping/sanding is a pain but everything else is pretty quick and easy to do right.
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On Mar 17, 9:43 pm, snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote:

Card scraper did the job for me last set of kitchen cabinet fronts I was paid to strip. Prepare to file the edge every 2 minutes (no hook needed), but even then, it's faster than anything short of a hot lye bath.
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Use poly or alkyd enamel paint. Prob with linseed is it takes about a year to fully cure, during which time it'll absorb whatever cooking fumes you have floating about your kitchen.
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