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Old 08-29-2011, 05:52 PM   #1
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1966 26' Overlander
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Cabinet dilemma

I need some help/advise. I'm trying to decide on how to best "Preserve" the cabinets in my 66. They are in good shape, as far as I can tell. I believe them to be walnut, (according to what I have learned here) but very, very dry and scalley, for a lack of a better word. I'm not sure if they need stripped and redone or just thourghly cleaned and reoiled. I would prefer to clean and rework as apposed to a total redo, as I am getting excited about using it sooner rather than later. I have read the threads here but not sure which threads apply to me and witch one's don't. Where do you draw the line between saving with cleaning and oiling and a total redo? I want to try and clean them and then reoil (not stain). I dont want to use chemicals that will cause me to have to refinish the cabines but want them clean before I use a oil on them. SO, HELP!! What is the best cleaner to use? I can accept the outcome but want to know I used the right cleaner. Any advice will be greately apprecitaed.
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:12 PM   #2
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I'm not sure what the cabinets are made of in the 66, but if it is walnut it is of course a veneer. Your best bet is to get a cabinet refinisher to look at them and give you a quote, but it will be pricey. If you just want them to "pop" a little more, try using Scotts Liquid Gold. It is basically an oil that will dry to a light sheen. It depends on the finish that is currently on the cabinets, probably a lacquer or shellac based product as they didn't have the high grade finishes in 66. Another option, if the finish is in good shape with just some light scratches, is super fine steel wool and wax, just Johnson paste wax. For either product, try it on a small section that won't be seen. Neither product will get rid of the scales, that is a strip and recoat, best left to the professionals. Estimates are usually free.
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Old 08-29-2011, 07:38 PM   #3
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We feel your pain. We have a 66 also and wanted only to do a "freshening up" of the cabinets. We tried steel wool and Watco oil and got very little improvement. We also tried another brand of "refinisher" which again did not significantly change the appearance. We experimented with several processes and ended up doing a sanding with 100 grit on a DA sander to remove the old finish. Then stain with Minwax stain - 2 coats. We are still debating poly or paste wax to finish. We will test areas with both of these to determine the choice. We wanted to darken and enrich the color and this didn't seem possible on our cabinets unless we removed the old finish. Our wood is very inconsistent from door to door and cabinet to cabinet. Good luck with yours.
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:59 PM   #4
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Typically one coat of stain will do, especially with Minwax. The new stains soak into the wood and dry, allowing for a coating after dry time, usually 24 hours. Multiple coats will leave an oil on the surface which the finish product has a hard time sticking too. If you do use two cats, make sure to allow extra dry time. For an easy finish use Deft. Use gloss for the first two coats, then top coat with satin or semi gloss. Use super fine steel wool and wax to knock down the bumps. A finish of just wax won't look as good, and is tough to refinish. Deft can get expensive if you buy a bunch of cans ($5 each at Home Depot.) There are some great lacquer products available, but you will need a spray gun and compressor. If it is a onetime deal, Deft is the way to go. You can also get Deft in quart cans and brush it on with fair results, but the spray is almost fool proof. Just do light coats.
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:16 PM   #5
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Try hand rubbing them with bees wax paste.

As always, try it on a small inconspicuous place first.
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:08 PM   #6
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Ok, thaks for the help. I will try a few of the ideas this weekend and let ya know how it goes. Thanks everyone for the input.
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:37 PM   #7
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Just FYI - if you use wax first chances are you WILL NOT be able to ever use poly if you change your mind. The wax will seep into to the pores (especially if the wood is dry) and will cause any subsequently applied poly to bead up and fail. If you decide you don't like the wax you'd have to sand down to clean wood and the veneer is too thin.

You can wax over poly but only with really high quality wax and if you ever have to re-coat with poly stripping the wax can be a PITA.

I had cherry wood floors that were polyurethaned and then waxed. I HATED the upkeep on those floors.

I like the deft product too, it does a decent brush on finish and subsequent coats kind of melt into the previous.
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Old 09-05-2011, 08:38 PM   #8
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Well after trying a good number of the options presented here, the best results came from using Old English "lemon oil". Painting it on with a paint brush and then scrubbing it with red scotch brite. Using liberal amounts (like 5 bottles) to scrub with then wiping off immediately with a lemon oil soaked t-shirt. Let stand. The scale problem turned out to be the factory lacquer, witch is now gone. The wood is now clean, smooth, and a very uniform mat finish. Looks beautiful. Here is my next question. I tried some "Waterlox" brand tung oil based floor finish I used on my floor in the house in a small area in the AS. Looks great so far. Is there a reason not to use it? I have 2 coats on so far and will stop there and see what happens tomorrow. There is no negative reaction between the tung oil or the lemon oil that I can see.. Has anyone tried this? Thanks again for all the help..
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Old 09-05-2011, 08:41 PM   #9
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A warning on Tung oil: Count your rags and hang them out to dry or put them in a pail of water. don't leave them unattended even for a minute, you can get spontanous combustion from it, the whole place will go up in flames. Other than that, it is a great finish
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Old 09-05-2011, 08:48 PM   #10
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Thanks twilder, I had no clue. That is a good information th have.
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