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.
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.
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.
Sorry, that should prolly be KCMA for the finish spec on kitchen cabs
- NKBA is more about design.
Thomas J.Watson - Cabinetmaker (ret.)
tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email)
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.
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