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Old 08-14-2011, 03:21 PM   #1
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Question Question on Cabinet Refinishing

I have read lots of threads here about using the Watco Oil for perking up the finish on old cabinetry. We have removed all the cabinet doors. I bought The Watco Oil Stain in Medium Walnut. They did not have Red Mahogany. I used #0000 steel wool to smooth and prep the door. I tried the stain but it just looked like a put oil on the door. No color change but less dry. I went back to Lowe's and got the dark mahogany and cherry, even they did not darken the finish appreciably. Not sure why. I was planning to do several coats - will the color gradually build? I like the look of the cabinets I've seen with the red mahogany Watco but now I'm not sure our cabinets will take the color. Do I need to use a courser steel wool or possibly a sander to take the finish down further? Frustrated.
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Old 08-14-2011, 03:28 PM   #2
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the issue is the existing finish. It is not letting the stain get into the pores.
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Old 08-14-2011, 06:59 PM   #3
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For cabinet ding repair, I use colored Watco oil. Apply to the ding, wipe off, let dry. To bring up the finish, I've used boiled linseed oil. It's slow drying but it won't lift any finish I've used it on.

I'm not bothering to fix up any of the finishes I've found in my Airstream. Not worth the effort.
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Old 08-14-2011, 07:52 PM   #4
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Watco Oil is a finish. Watco Oil Stain is a solvent-based stain which may or may not contain some of the ingredients of the finish called "Watco Oil." If you are trying to change the color of your cabinets, 62overlander is right, the old finish is preventing the stain's color from getting to the wood. If you are really trying only to "perk up" the old finish, you might try Watco Oil finish (not the stain). Another possibility is a product called Howard's Restore-A-Finish which can also add some color to the old finish.

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Old 08-14-2011, 08:57 PM   #5
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pics of cabinet

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Color still too light - plan to try light sanding to see if wood will take the stain better.
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:14 PM   #6
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Best bet is to stripe it with wire wool. Coarse first then 0000 fine. No sanding. Or you can try the minwax stain and finish in one. I find it will darken pre stained and finished wood.
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Old 08-20-2011, 05:12 PM   #7
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Jason, I was planning on using the minwax polyshades (stain and finish) on my '69 Safari. The manual says that the cabinets are walnut veneer with laquer. Do you know if the minwax will work over this? Mine are pretty dry and faded on the outside, but have some original finish on the unexposed parts.
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Old 08-20-2011, 05:20 PM   #8
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I don't think you can use Watco Oil because your cabinets already have a finish of some type. Maybe varnish or something else. They do make many shades of Poly-stain finish that you could use. This would be like varnishing but the Poly-stain is much tougher.
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:24 PM   #9
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For the old oak to accept new stain you will have to get the old out. The old is inbedded well below the surface beyond the reach of just sanding. You will need a chemical stripper to desolve & "float it" to the top. Easy to refinish with the proper advice. Best bet is take a panel to a retailer that has experiance in wood finishes, tell them what you want for a result. Far to many posibilitys to advise here! With a little help from a local hardware store I was able to use some of the old panels, new 1/4 & 1/2 ply, and solid 5/4 oak. All came out the same shade, far richer than the original. All with common low$ finishes. Warning with oak. The strips of natural darker grain will darken dramaticly w/stains. Do a little and wait for result.
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:51 PM   #10
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You will need to get more agressive. The steel wool is just removing surface dirt,polish etc. You need to remove all laquer or ureathane finish to give surface enough tooth to accept oil/varnish product such as watco. Raw wood is your best bet. The oil finish is nice and will be easy to renew over over time, but will take time and many many coats to build any depth of color. if you desire a dark color on wood such as oak you wiil have to sand to bare wood at 120 grit stain dark and then follw up with watco or other oil finish. I have been a cabinet and furniture maker for 30 yrs and the finish has always been the most challenging part
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:20 PM   #11
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JLGT5107 - above is correct. You will have to sand off the old finish down to raw wood and then stain to your taste and then apply Watco. I was very lucky when I found my 65 Safari. It had Mahagony cabinets that had only been oiled. It was a pretty easy job to lightly sand and then apply Watco Red Mahagony oil (3 coats and then buffed). It makes a very rich finish.
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:39 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the info. We have sanded all the doors with 120 grit sandpaper on a DA sander set on slow speed. Lightly! Keeping the sander moving constantly and watching the edges. We had some chipped veneer which we filled with Minwax stainable wood filler. We stained the doors with Minwax Stain - Red Mahagony - 2 coats. The doors are drying now. We plan to use tung oil to finish. I thought we could use just a refinisher but the doors would not take any other finish until we removed the old stuff. The "old stuff" was different on different doors. It is very tricky to try to get them all the same color. Ours are not perfect but the best we can do - we are not professionals nor even experienced in refinishing. I will make some pics as soon as I can. We still have the cabinet frames to go as well as the walls. Yikes. Everything is exponentially more complicated and time consuming that you expect. Plus we bought a dozen different products before we found the combination to achieve the color we wanted. Fingers crossed that it turns out well.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hippiechick View Post
Everything is exponentially more complicated and time consuming that you expect.
Yep.
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Old 08-22-2011, 08:36 PM   #14
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After two coats of minwax red mahogany stain the color was good so used very fine steel wool on a door then applied tung oil to seal. OH NO - dagnabit! The tung oil took the color off. Good grief. Back to the drawing board. Possibly try some low gloss poly after the steel wool??
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