|Artist: Antonio Rotta|
No one says much-most people are too polite. But I can see the disappoint. "I paid all this money and flew to Kansas to learn about cabinets and YOU STILL HAVE CRAPPY OAK." I hang my head and list all the reasons why I waited: Too many choices. Not enough time. Waiting for the appliances to die so I could get stainless. Deciding if I would tear the floors up. But now I was forced into action. Our finishers were losing lots of jobs to re finishers using Gel Stains or Tinted Lacquer. They needed a water-based solution with a rich look, durable finish, and as few operational steps as possible. I spent a month mixing and testing products to develop new recipes and finishes that became the Cabinet Update: Re-Stain Class. After working on Habitat doors, I committed to one of my class samples (The Kona Cafe) for my own kitchen. Here is my kitchen door with the finish:
Now I have to match the frame and 30 pieces to this door.
The most important thing before breaking down your kitchen is to get your loved ones out of your way for a week or so. We decided since Bruce doesn't fit in a kennel, he would go to California for the holiday. So let the project begin.
Prep: After clearing the house, this is really the most important step in a re-stain project. I begin by removing the doors and drawers. Each piece is marked behind the hinge:
I like the liquid TSP by Jasco. You can buy this brand at Ace or True Value Hardware stores. There is a powder form but it has to be mixed and is more aggressive then the pre-mixed liquid. Most TSP says "substitute" on the label. The substitute is the "phosphate" or P in the TSP. Real phosphates get in the water supply and causes algae to grow. My girl scout leader was married to a Botanist.
Pour the TSP into a plastic container-it will melt Styrofoam. I brush it on full strength and let it cook for at least an hour.
After the TSP has cooked, I wrap a sanding block in 120 grit paper and sand off all the junk the TSP has forced to the surface-grease, wax, loose varnish, and other unsavory goodies. At this point, I wipe this surface with a damp cloth to remove any TSP residue and sanding dust. The surface should appear dull.
Here are the rest of the cabinets ready to prep. The most difficult thing about finishing cabinets is having workspace. Buy yourself some sort of rack system. Our is from Costco (natch) and is on wheels making them easy to move. I like this open system because I can see the pieces as I work. Lining up all the drawer fronts lets me know if a piece is too light or too dark. Breaking down the kitchen, TSP, Sanding, and Cleaning took me about 2.5 hours for all the pieces and the frames.
"If Charles preps the cabinets, may you do better on the price? We do have a wedding to pay for after all."