The kitchen in my house is about twenty years old. It has nice oak cabinets but they are rather dark and dated. I would like to refinish them in a more contemporary colour but I don’t know how to go about stripping them. I have contacted local cabinet refacers, they say they don’t that and then they sent me to you. What is the easiest way to maintain my existing kitchen but modernize it with a more contemporary colour but make it look like new? Thanks for your help,
Thanks for the question Jeff. This is a good one that has crossed the minds of many people. I have be asked numerous times by customers and the answer is always the same: It comes down to time or money. If you don’t have one you best have a lot of the other. Stripping wooden furnishings of any kind is a time consuming and delicate process and cabinetry is no different. Any intricate millwork will invariably require hours and hours of painstaking solvent and scraper work. One avenue that I might suggest you try and I haven’t actually tried this myself so I can’t vouch for the success of it but, I know it will work, is abrasive blasting. Using a compressed air device sand or other natural abrasives are blown at an object at high speeds to blast of paint and finishes. Now since most or all abrasives are harder than wood you will have to exercise a great deal of caution when attacking your cabinets with this method. I recommend a few trial runs on the backs of the doors to get the feel for the stripping ability of your particular abrasive. Besides sand which is the traditional and least expensive abrasive available, there are a variety to choose from ranging in coarseness and hardness. Other available abrasives include soda, aluminum oxide, glass beads, walnut shells, and salt; basically anything that is fine enough to spray out a nozzle with air. Oak is about as hard as domestic woods get so you will have a fairly good shot at stripping them down without damaging them. You will still have to invest a fair bit of time sanding them smooth afterword and then staining and refinishing them but the blasting will save you a lot of time with the details. So this is a happy medium between time and money. I wish you the best in you endeavour. If you stick to it, it will be complete before you know it and you’ll have the pride of a project you completed that you get to admire everyday.