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Old 04-27-2013, 09:52 AM   #1
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Paint or Re-Stain first?

First time post-er, here...We have a '68 Safari which is in decent shape. After replacing the windows and gaskets, we will sand and re-stain all of the wood cabinets and paint the interior walls. But....I'm not sure which to do first: paint or stain? Does it matter?.

Either way we will be replacing the floor and updating the upholstery too...

Thanks for your insights!
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Old 04-27-2013, 10:46 AM   #2
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If you are leaving the cabinets in place, I don't think it matters much. Even if you paint first, make sure to mask off the cabinets when you paint so that you don't get paint splatter on them (if you're sanding and re-staining them, why make more work for yourself?). If you're painting after refinishing the cabinets, again mask them off so as not to ruin all that work. Good luck!
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Old 04-27-2013, 10:48 AM   #3
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I'm a big fan of staining. This depends on the condition of the wood. If it has big gouges or cracked you have to repair those first. Our MH was is decent shape. We constantly buy & sell tables and chairs whenever the DW wants to redecorate. The easiest way I've found to restore stained wood is to restain right over the top with a rag. this is assuming you're keeping the same color stain. This will add color to the wore out portions of the wood finish. Then coat with polyurethane. if there are big scratches that go across the wood's grain, this method won't work. You're pretty much just touching it up. If you want to change the color of stain or have bad issues with the wood, you'll need to sand it down to the bare wood first. This is where you have to decide how hard you want to work for the look you want. Painting is an easy cheap fix if wood is bad, but personally I see it as a last resort.

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Old 04-28-2013, 12:06 AM   #4
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Thanks so much for the tips. Yes, we plan to keep the cabinets in place and to stain them to look less worn and have even color. The painting I mentioned is for the walls (not the cabinets), sorry to not be more clear!

Great suggestions and we much appreciate the years of experience out there!
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Old 04-28-2013, 12:18 AM   #5
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I would suggest doing some sample tests in inconspicuous place for look and compatibility of the product of your choice. In the event of a compatibility problem first use some shellac as a barrier coat and then go over it with the top coat of choice. You can get it premixed, by Zinner most anywhere. Shellac will dissolve with alcohol. Prep is almost everything blue tape is your friend too. Oh you probably not want the amber shellac but maybe. The "clear" or blond is in a can that is white and yellow in color.

Good luck

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Old 04-28-2013, 06:49 AM   #6
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stain or paint first?? ...good question!

Things to consider....

#1 Stain is thin and tends to splatter, AND drip.
#2 You are going to sand the wood anyway, so if paint got on the wood
No big deal

I would paint, then sand the wood, then stain
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:19 AM   #7
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Tony is right about the shellac. It's the most versatile finish out there, in fact many of the "hi-tech" primers are actually shellac based. But there are a couple of important points you've got to be mindful of. Some finishes, primarily polyurethane, are not compatible with waxed shellac. You've got to use dewaxed if you're going to put poly over it, or the poly won't stick properly. If you use premixed, canned shellac, the regular cans are all waxed, including the spray cans. The shellac sanding sealers, like Seal Coat are the only cans that are dewaxed. Seal Coat is a good shellac that is just a little thinner than the regular cans. The spray is even thinner. You can learn everything you need to know about shellac here:

Personally, it makes me sad to see woodwork painted. My research suggested that the wood in older Airstreams was finished with toned lacquer, ie; lacquer with dye mixed in. It's best to apply a sealer (like shellac) then apply light coats of toned lacquer to the wood to get the right color. Then apply a clear coat of lacquer. This is the process I'm working on right now. It's easier than it sounds.

Most people sand, stain, and apply polyurethane. It's a good approach, but getting stain to get to the right color is challenging, especially of you want a lighter color. My biggest complaint about this process is that poly dries slowly, so keeping dust out of the finish is difficult.

Good luck
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