Suggestions for finishing an Oak Kitchen?

We've just had an oak kitchen and doors fitted, but we were wondering about the best finish. We want to keep the natural look, but ensure that the wood is protected from daily kitchen use.
Wax, varnish, oil, or something else? Any help would be much appreciated.
Cheers
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I finish before installing. 4-5 coats of water based urethane varnish. I doesn;t add color and is very durable. I like oil based too, but it smells and takes a day per oat to dry. Water can be recoated in 3-4 hours. Wilson

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I refinished our dark oak kitchen cabinets a few months ago. After removing all the door & drawer hardware (which I eventually replaced with new) I rubbed everything down with mineral spirits and 0000 steel wool several times. This included the face frames (a little messy). Wipe down with paper towels between each .
After 24 hrs to dry, I re-stained with Minwax dark walnut (which was the original stain as near as we cold tell) which filled in all the nicks etc. Allow 48 hours to dry, then wipe down with paper towels & mineral spirits to remove "topical" stain. Allow 24+ hours to dry - watch the raised panel slots for accumulation & clean it out.
I know you aren't re-finishing, so at this point, you can use Minwax wipe-on poly in at least 3 coats with 24 hours/0000 steel wool/vac/tack rag between each. I used the satin.
I worked on a section at a time (4-6 doors and the accompanying drawer fronts). It took several weeks to do it all, but the kitchen never was completely lacking everything at once - plus it kept thing manageable in the basement shop!
Although not what I would call a fine furniture finish, (has that poly look) it is very nice & durable in the kitchen- certainly as nice as any prefinished we have seen except possibly a pricey sprayed lacquer.
SWMBO concurs that the finish is much better than the original on our 15+ year old cabinets. I agree - they look spectacular!
In addition, I have gradually been adding full extension trays & other goodies as time permits.
Forget the wax or oil for the kitchen - won't hold up.
Good luck!
Lou

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I just finished mine with an oil based gloss polyurethane. I like it a lot. A good polyurethane should provide adequate protection from moisture, smoke, grease, etc. for quite a while.
Wayne

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Wax isn't gonna protect a kitchen! Think urethanes or CV.
David
Frenchie wrote:

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On 8 Aug 2004 11:35:53 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@btopenworld.com (Frenchie) wrote:

Check out NKBA and AWI specs on this. You won't regret it.
Regards, Tom.
Thomas J.Watson - Cabinetmaker (ret.) tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1
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wrote:

Sorry, that should prolly be KCMA for the finish spec on kitchen cabs - NKBA is more about design.
Regards, Tom.
Thomas J.Watson - Cabinetmaker (ret.) tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1
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Are you set up to spray? If I ever get around to making kitchen cabinets, I'd like to use a precatalyzed lacquer. I'm a little unclear based on reading the above if the cabinets are in place. Obviously, spraying would be out if that was the case. If you're trying to finish in place, I'd probably go with a polyurethane.
todd
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