Spot restoration on cherry kitchen cabinets

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marty
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Spot restoration on cherry kitchen cabinets

Postby marty » Fri Feb 08, 2008 12:04 pm

Hello to all..

I want to restore the finish to the worn areas on our kitchen cabinets. They're 25 yrs. old solid cherry and are stained a dark cherry color. Over the yrs. the finish has been worn to varing degrees, especially arounf the door pulls and portions of the base cabinets which were subject to the little guys growing up. All the wood in in very good condition about 80% of the surfaces in excellent shape.
Is there a way to restore the finish to only the worn areas and be able to match it to the the adjacent surfaces that are still in really very good condition?

If pictures are helpful I'll take some and post them.

Thanks,
Marty

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Postby Sam Yerardi » Fri Feb 08, 2008 12:45 pm

Marty,
The guys on this site will have the right method for you. One method I've tried is I first removed the finish over the desired area with the appropriate solvent. You might have to use either alcohol, mineral spirits, lacquer thinner, or a stripper depending on the finish that was originally applied. I then cleaned the area with mineral spirits. I sealed the spot or area with a wood sealer or shellac. I used shellac. I let it dry thoroughly. I applied gel stain (cherry in this case) over that starting with a quick wipe on/wipe off to first get an idea of how dark the color is that you just applied (learned that here). Since cherry is notorious for blotching, both of these methods will work well to allow you to apply an even coat at a time. Depending on where you need to get to, repeat this process until you get to the shade you want. Note however when you add a final coat of whatever finish you use, there will possibly be an extra minor darkening of the shade so you might want to make the final shade of the restored cherry a little lighter than the old finish before you add the final topcoat.

marty
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Postby marty » Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:09 pm

Thanks Sam.....Your receipe sounds good, but if I strip the finish on just the area that needs to be restored do I then have to varnish or clear coat the entire piece/door? Shoukl I try to remove the all of the varnish coat on the whole cabinet/door 1st before restaining the worn areas? I really don't want to paint these as my wife seems to think is the only way to go.

Regards,
Marty

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Postby Sam Yerardi » Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:50 pm

Marty,
Paul will have a good answer for you on this as I don't have much experience in blending new top coats with old but I guess what my approach would be is to redo the entire surface if it not a large surface (something smaller than say 16" x 24") but any larger I would try dealing with just the area. There techniques for blending in lacquers for repair but I've not familiar with varnish repairs. My approach is probably not the best way to go.

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Postby marty » Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:58 pm

Sam,

I just regisered onto this site and I'm not familiar with Paul...hopefully he'll read this post and get back to me..or is there a forum I can contact him on?

Once more thanks for your replies....Marty

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Postby Sam Yerardi » Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:04 pm

Marty,

Paul S - he's the wiz. he has always gotten back to me within a day or so. He's in this group. Check some of my postings and you'll see his link.

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Postby Paul S » Sat Feb 09, 2008 11:43 am

Hi Marty,

You can spruce up the finish on your cabinets pretty easily. The two issues that I would be most concerned with from the start are matching and blending the color on the areas that need to be restained and possible oily grime contamination that's so common on kitchen cabinets. The oily grime comes from cooking oils and grease that get spread over the surface of the wood throughout the years. This oil/grease can really play havoc with the new finish when you do any touch-ups or refinishing.

Take a look at this dicussion from a while back on the forum - Spruced Up Finish. To give your cabinets a renewed look, you'll want to use some of the same techniques.

Here's the steps I would take on your cabinets;

  1. Remove the handles and clean the doors/drawers really well.
  2. Touch up the color on scratches and worn areas.
  3. Spray a few very light coats of touch-up lacquer over the retsained areas using the same sheen as the existing finish.


Cleaning Dirt and Grime

There's some information on cleaning in this discussion - Cleaning Grease and Oily Grime

Color Touch-Ups

Once the cabinets are clean, you can apply stain to the areas that need it. For scratches, you can use touch-up markers or an oil-base gel stain. For the areas where the color is worn away, use a gel stain and a soft cotton cloth to make a small pad that is much smaller (e.g., 1/4) than the size of the area you're restaining. Use the pad to tap tiny amounts of stain onto the area and blend it in. You can also use your finger tips to pat the areas and blend the color in. Get one even coat of color on each area and let it dry overnight (unless it's too dark in which case you should wipe it off imediately - mineral spirits will dissolve and remove the stain before it dries). While you're applying the stain, before it dries, you can get a good sense of whether the color is too light or a good match. If it's not a good match, you can just wipe it off right away (again, mineral spirits or naphtha will make it easier to remove the stain before it dries). You may need to mix a couple different colors of gel stain togther to get a better match. If it looks a little too light, don't worry about it, you can pad on a second coat of the stain after the first one dries for a day.

Recoat the Touch-Ups

There's a very good chance the finish on the cabinets is lacquer and you can use the same finish to do your touch-ups. First, you should do a little test just to make sure there's not going to be a compatibility problem. Pick a spot that's out of sight (e.g., the back of a seldomly used door) and spray a few light coats of you touch-up lacquer on a small area. If you get any wrinkling, there's a compatibility problem and the lacquer isn't going to work. I'd be really surprised if this is the case.

It's important to use touch-up lacquer (aerosol) because it's formulated for spraying spots without leaving overspray around the spots. Overspray creates a white halo and rough texture that doesn't make for a nice repair. You can get touch-up lacquer from place like this one - http://woodfinishersdepot.com . You only need 2-3 really light coats of the lacquer over the repairs to seal and protect the new stain. Keep each coat really thin to avoid sags and runs - just light, quick passes over the spots (practice on a piece of cardboard if you need to). If you see small craters in the first coat of lacquer, stop and re-post in this discussion.
Paul

marty
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Postby marty » Sat Feb 09, 2008 5:51 pm

Paul,

Thanks you very much...this looks like it'll work. It's a big job but I'll keep you posted on progress.

Thanks again,
Marty

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Postby Paul S » Sat Feb 09, 2008 7:47 pm

Glad to help Marty. Try a spot that's not so obvious and see how it goes. Come back with any follow up questions and post some before and after pictures if you can.
Paul

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Postby marty » Sun Feb 10, 2008 8:59 pm

I'll definitely post some before & after pics...please be patient though, I've got a honey-do list of several pages!!!!

Best regards,
Marty

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Paul S
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Postby Paul S » Sun Feb 10, 2008 11:54 pm

Good grief man! You never should have let your wife know you can read (or write)! And you should let her know that you can only remember one thing at a time! Really cuts down on the 'to-do' lists. :mrgreen:

Hang in there!
Paul

marty
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Postby marty » Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:25 am

Words of wisdom for all newlyweds....But after forty yrs. of marriage I'm afraid she knows all my secrets....:) Marty

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Postby Zeeman » Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:52 pm

Well, after 40 yrs she is still with you, so your secrets aren't so bad! Don't forget thursday men. . .order your flowers tomorrow, don't be in line after work that day getting the limp carnations. . . .

marty
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Paul S...re: spot finishing cheery cabinets

Postby marty » Mon Feb 25, 2008 10:07 am

Hello Paul,

Well I finally got to work on this part of the honey-do list. Here's a composite shot of the 2 doors from our kitchet cabinets. The door on the left is before I cleaned any of the old dirt, grim & wax. It's mate on the right has been cleaned and I think ready for blending in a stain to match the rest of the cabinet. Note that 90% of the finish is still in good condition and I really don't want to paint them!

Image

Your opinion is greatly appreciated!

I haven't been able to locate a source for the gel-stain yet...any suggestions!

Best regards,
Marty

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Paul S
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Postby Paul S » Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:25 pm

Hi Marty,

Your local hardware or home center may stock Minwax gel stains. If not, there are places online where you can order gel stains (e.g., Bartley gel stains).

I don't think you'll be able to get an invisible repair. It looks like a lot of the color was in the finish and was removed with the failed lacquer. It's difficult to reproduce the look of this type of finish when the color is in the clear coats, not the wood. You should be able to get a decent repair though that will keep the cabinets going for a while longer if you don't mind the repaired areas having a different appearance.

For the best results, which probably won't be perfect, you may want to consider getting an estimate from one of your local furniture repair companies. They'll have the right materials and training to do this type of repair work.

In your pictures, the wood looks like it might be birch with a "cherry finish."
Paul

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Postby marty » Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:38 pm

Hi Paul,

Thanks for getting back to me.

I've used Min-wax before, I didn't know that that's what you had referred to before. I'm sure my local hardware store will have it now that I know what to get.

Your assessment on whether or not I can achieve a good spot refinish is discouraging. I never imagined that the color was in the original clear coat, and the wood was never stained with a penetrating color?

Birch eh? We were always under the impression it was cherry!

Thanks for all your advice.....Marty


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