How to Refinish Wood Kitchen Cabinets

Refinishing your own kitchen cabinets is a good do it yourself home improvement project that will improve the overall look of your kitchen. Although this is a labor intensive job, with patience and the correct tools, it can be done by virtually anyone. Always make sure there is adequate ventilation when doing this, and make plans for a few days worth of work. Here are instructions on how to refinish kitchen cabinets.

Things You'll Need

  • Dishwashing solution
  • Soft cloth
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Abrasive sponge
  • Screwdriver
  • Stripper
  • 100 grit and 150 grit sandpaper
  • Stain
  • Paint brush
  • Fine-bristled brush
  • Rag
  • Wire brush
  • Polyurethane

Use a screwdriver to unscrew the hinges of your wooden kitchen cabinets so you can remove them. Take off all knobs and other hardware from your kitchen cabinets.

Clean the wood cabinets and the doors. Use a strong dishwater solution made for cleaning the kitchen. Scrub the cabinets and doors clean of any grease or grime with an abrasive sponge. Be sure to clean all the corners and any other surface area of the cabinet. The cabinets must be thoroughly clean in order for your refinishing project to work properly. Use a soft cloth rinsed in warm water to wipe and allow them to dry.

Use carpenter's color matched wood putty to fill any cracks, scratches, or dents in your wooden kitchen cabinets.

Strip your cabinets with paint and varnish stripper. These are available at any hardware store. Spread the stripper on with a paint brush, allow it to bubble, then scrape it off with a putty knife. Allow the cabinets to dry once they are stripped.

Sand your stripped cabinets and drawers. Use 100 grit sandpaper and an electric sander before finishing the job by hand with 150 grit sandpaper. After sanding, use a soft rag to remove all sanding dust from your kitchen cabinets and drawers.

In a warm, ventilated area, use a fine-bristled brush to apply the wood stain to the cabinets and drawers. Wait for ten minutes before wiping it off with a clean rag and then allowing it to dry for 24 hours.

After allowing the wood stain to dry for a full 24 hours, apply polyurethane to your kitchen cabinets. For a durable, smooth finish you may need to apply multiple coats. The more coats you apply, the more durable the finish will be. Sand gently between coats with 400 grit sandpaper.

Allow about ten hours before attempting to turn over and do the other side of the cabinet doors. Reassemble when done.


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