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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-09-2015, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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Default kitchen Cabinet Finish

Well, I was going to start making a bed but my lovely wife said she would really like to have new kitchen cabinets first. So now my question is, what finish to use. I plan on making them from Maple or birch plywood for the case. However, I may also go with oak. The question is, can I just use a Watco/Deft penetrating oil to finish them or do I need to spray on a shallac finish. Would a wipe on poly be best and would it stand alone, that is, just a wipe on poly with nothing else?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-09-2015, 05:53 AM
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Hi Jim, I have made several sets of kitchen cabinets. The finish that I have used was Zar (brand) polyurethane. I have found that it doesn't yellow over time like other brands. I mix a ratio of 70/30 with mineral spirits and wipe it on with with Viva paper towel or the blue paper shop towels - that I cut in 1/4s. You get an excellent finish without runs and when you are finish applying throw the towel away so there is no cleanup. I let it dry about 8 hours and apply another coat. I generally put 5 or 6 coats on and have never had a problem.

The two finishes that you suggested are not good for kitchen cabinets. Neither give very much protection. You need something that builds a surface finish and Polyurethane is probably the best.
Hope this helps. Malcolm / Kentucky USA
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-09-2015, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seldonman View Post
Well, I was going to start making a bed but my lovely wife said she would really like to have new kitchen cabinets first. So now my question is, what finish to use. I plan on making them from Maple or birch plywood for the case. However, I may also go with oak. The question is, can I just use a Watco/Deft penetrating oil to finish them or do I need to spray on a shallac finish. Would a wipe on poly be best and would it stand alone, that is, just a wipe on poly with nothing else?
@JIM - are you going to finish the inside of the cabinets? My suggestion would be to use prefinished birch (3/4 inch for the sides and 1/4 inch for the back). That way, all you have to do is drill shelf pin holes and you are through with the inside.

Face frames for the cabinet fronts will also make it easy to finish. I bulid mine using pocket hole construction, but use whatever means you decide. Then apply your finish before attaching the frames to the cabinets. Note that for cabinet sides that won't be seen, I use pocket hole construction to attach the face frames from the sides, top and underneath.

For a side visible, you can do the same thing and then add a 1/4 inch skin to cover it up...or apply an end panel that matches the cabinets.

That is the way we did our kitchen and it turned out nice.
http://www.routerforums.com/show-n-t...n-remodel.html

Also, check out Kris Reynolds Custom cabinets on you Tube. I followed his basic work flow when building our cabinets.
Good luck.
Mike

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-09-2015, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
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Could I stain with say a Watco Walnut over oak and then apply the poly to protect it? I gotsa feeling my wife is going to like the look of walnut stained oak since we have whitewashed oak right now that is 25 years old and she wants to go darker.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-09-2015, 03:24 PM
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Just make sure the two are compatible. It used to be that stains and water based varnishes weren't compatible but that isn't always true anymore.

I have quite a bit of western white birch and it tends to stain very blotchy like cherry. I can't remember if the plywood is as bad. You might need a sealer like the Charles Neil stuff first to get decent results.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-09-2015, 03:34 PM
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Jim; resist the temptation to do the interiors dark. SWMBO will not be amused looking for stuff in a cave(s).
Melamine paint is an alternative for the interiors, especially the shelves, or white poly.
As Mike suggested, if the material is prefinished, even if just before assembly, your life will be so much simpler.
Five coats of poly is overkill. It's plastic resin; how thick do you need it? It should go on thick (each coat) enough to self level.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-09-2015, 05:45 PM
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Could I stain with say a Watco Walnut over oak and then apply the poly to protect it? I gotsa feeling my wife is going to like the look of walnut stained oak since we have whitewashed oak right now that is 25 years old and she wants to go darker.
When we made the decision as to what species of wood to use (knotty alder) for the cabinets, I bought a four foot piece at the lumber yard. I have been buying from them for a couple of years. They cut me a piece and I made some samples of different stains. I let my wife choose, but ultimately we both decided on General Finishes Colonial Maple. After the stain and a sealer, she went over the cabinets with General Finishes Van Dyke glaze. Brush it on, wipe it off. That gives the creases and crevices a dark highlight.

None of our work was done in the kitchen. Everything was stained, sealed glazed and finished in our outdoor finishing room (back yard!).

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!
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