I'm looking for some advice on finishing maple kitchen cabinets. There will
be no stain applied to the material -- just a clear finish is what I'm
In the past, I've sprayed on poly, brushed it, wiped it on, brushed on
shellac and varnish. I've also hand rubbed a finish using pumice and
rottenstone on a curved staircase I built. The hand-rubbed finish was by
far the most beautiful, but, of course, the most labor intensive. I'm not
sure I want to go through that again any time soon, especially on a bunch of
cabinet doors with lots of little crevices and bead details.
I don't care for brush marks and the reason I haven't spray finished in a
while is that I got tired of dealing with the runs and drips. I do like the
uniform spray look when everything works out, however. I've been relatively
happy with the results of the wipe-on poly given the simplicity of its
application and dry time. It seems to level out pretty well before it
dries, but I feel I could do better.
When my father used to remodel kitchens for a living years ago, he said many
cabinets were finished with lacquer. Is that still the case today? I guess
I'm looking for a combination of simplicity, durability and beauty if that's
achievable. If I can't find simple, I'm willing to go through the work to
get the other two.
Would love to hear your opinions...Links to sites you know or just your own
knowledge/experience would be great.
I guess it's dependant on the luster of the finish that you desire. As
natural even wax would work, but the Wipe on poly is best for advancing to a
later step. Meaning you can always spray over the wipe on for greater shine
and a little more depth.
Sprayed finishes are nice, but take a bit of practice to master -
along with suitable equipment and work area. I've got a gun, but
don't use it often due to the smell and over spray.
Poly looks terrible brushed, and tends to get trapped air pockets when
a foam brush is used. Diluted poly and a wiping rag, by far, give the
hardest, best looking finish - and it's pretty tough stuff. Good
Lacquer, I use on shop jigs and such. Dries really fast, and it's got
the fumes to prove it. And it, too, seems to prefer being sprayed.
It doesn't seem to me to be quite as good at water resistance.
Also, kudos on the non-stained maple. I never have understood why
anyone would build something out of maple, and then slather it with a
dark artificial colored stain - unless it had REALLY offensive grain.
i have to suggest water-based lacquer, specifically from Target
Coatings. the USL product is superb. if you have the ability to spray,
get some emtech vinyl sealer (also water based), throw down a coat of
that, and then multiple coats of USL. the stuff sprays like a dream,
looks great, and is *hard*.
Mike Pio wrote:
On Thu, 3 Nov 2005 21:00:44 -0700, with neither quill nor qualm, "Mike
Wipe on 4 or 5 coats of Waterlox, Mike. It's quick, simple, and
repairs easily. The varnish and tung oil in it will give you all the
moisture resistance you need, and both are tough enough to be wiped
clean daily (if your SWMBO should be so inclined.)
I had used several very thin brushed coats of Varathane on my first
cabinet remodel several decades ago and it turned out way overkill.
That was the last time I used poly.
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