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Old 02-11-2008, 09:37 PM   #1
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1967 26' Overlander
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Dec 2007
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Cabinet refinish recommendations

I have a 67 Overlander that was restored some years ago by a PO. They refinished the cabinets with some kind of dark stain/finish which now has the appearance of old brown translucent shoe polish complete with heavy smudge marks like before you buff the shoe out. It is relatively shiny but is so dark you can hardly see the grain of the wood. I have done some test sections here and there with a light and quick application of citristrip. This appears to take the PO's stain application off, leaving the original "semi oiled looking" wood underneath. It is still dark like it should be, but the grain really shows now. After using the citrip strip and and a fine sanding, I am considering using a wood feeder oil to bring back the depth and color of the grain. I am not into the entire refinishing routine since what I am planning seems to fit my abilities.

My main question is...has anyone used citristrip the way I am to get rid of an old nasty finish. Again I am putting it on very lightly and waiting not even 5 minutes before I scrape it off. The "shoe polish" finish comes straight off with a nylon spatula. I have used citristrip in the same quick-on/quick-off method to remove latex housepaint from the batchroom walls to reveal the original funky laminate underneath without sustaining any damage.

Aloha - Ronnie aka Lonali - Skipper, First Mate, and Cabin Boy of "The Leaky Tiki" - 1967 Overlander International Land Yacht
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Old 02-11-2008, 09:55 PM   #2
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1966 17' Caravel
Dallas , Texas
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Removing the gunk

Hey, haven't tried that product - but an old method that I learned some years ago might work for you and might be easier. However, as with any product, try a small test area first. Take the original GOJO hand cleaner with lanolin and apply - in circular motions using very fine steelwool - it will dissolve the gunk and then you can wipe off the surface - the lanolin will leave the wood "oiled". It's a trial and error process - so start small.
A furniture refinisher showed me trick many many years ago - and I have used it with success. However, I'm not sure I would trust this method on a fine antique!

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Old 02-11-2008, 10:12 PM   #3
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1966 24' Tradewind
Placerville , California
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Hopefully the wood was sealed before the dark stain was applied. If not or it still is possible that the soft areas in the grain will remain permanently dark. Yoy may want to test the dark areas first.
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Old 02-11-2008, 10:39 PM   #4
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A name brand paint store will have a cleaner that will do the job, usually citrus-based and water rinsed. The original finish was Watco (or something just like it). After you've cleaned all the old stuff off and the wood is dry, sand very lightly with fine paper. If you need to even the color, try to use a very light color Watco oil to keep from making it too dark again, otherwise use the natural. You can apply it with 400 grit wet/dry paper and wipe off the excess. Takes a while to dry in our Northwest climate, Texas may be quicker. May have to wait several days to apply a second coat, if necessary. After the Watco has soaked in, buff with a soft cloth. That really makes the grain show up. Darol
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Old 02-12-2008, 07:57 AM   #5
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preserve the wood

I use citri-strip.... then a light grade of sand paper, then finish it with WATCO Danish oil finish. You avoid the shiney gloss finish and have a durable, stain to your choice, finish which allows the grain to show thru. Very similar to Tung oil finish.
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Old 02-12-2008, 10:15 AM   #6
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Hernando , Mississippi
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Have you considered stainless steel paint? Thomas (I think) is one brand. Google it and watch the video on refinishing cabinets. Looks nice, IMHO.
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Old 02-12-2008, 01:37 PM   #7
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Might be Kiwi

Can you put up a picture or two of your cabinets finish, because believe it or not it could be shoe polish. I've been a professional finisher for many years and have seen it used as a finish. Not my choice ,though a high quality furniture paste wax is a great protector for furniture and cabinets. A good dewaxing product either from an auto paint supply or woodworkers supply could be worth a try and might work to get the stuff off. Sounds like the actual finish might still be salavageable. High quality finishing is labor intensive, time consuming, and not a fun activity for most people.

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