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Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks/flaking or pealing stain on cabinets


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My husband and I just recently built our home.and within the first few weeks of living here all the cabinets started pealing or flaking. I called the cabinet man and he redid a the problem spots but they continue to to this.. I am so frustrated because we have only been in the home for 1 year. anywhere the cabinets get wet or are touched repeatly they peal or flake. they are maple cabinets. I tryed to add a marine poly to a few to see if that would help but no luck. what can we do or what should we do to fix the problem,and how do we restain maple if thats what we have to do.. we have 86 cabinet doors and @14 drawer fronts... It was costly in the first time around, oh they were custom built not from a dealer.. thanks for your time..

Hi Robin, sorry to hear about this, specially because it is definitely the fault of the finisher....there is something wrong with either the stain coat  or some other layer of finish that was applied...perhaps an incompatibility between the stain, sealer or topcoats, some kind of contamination to the wood or stain coat, etc., or even the wrong type of finish for the job. Without knowing the exact finish schedule, there is no way I can even begin to help. But it is clearly the finishers fault. Factory cabinet finishes can have upwards of 10+ individual finish steps, utilizing sealers, stains, toning, glazing, and clear coats. All the individual steps have to be done with materials that are designed to be compatible with each other, and the result is a deep, durable KCMA approved finish that will last for 20+ years. This is one reason why commercial cabinets are so expensive. Anyone can build a decent cabinet, but these finishes are what set these manufacturers apart from each other and from the lesser competition. They have been at the forefront of developing these finishes and the techniques and skill that goes with applying them for years, and the newest breed of catalyzed finishes are among the best, and most durable of any...with lower VOC's and toxicity, and produce a beautiful, furniture grade finish that can take the harsh environment of the kitchen space for literally 20+ years with very little maintenance. Post back, wish I could help more...but I can tell you who's fault it is, and they're definitely responsible for fixing it....regards- Greg

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Greg Scholl


Questions on Woodworking, wood finishing and refinishing of all kinds, repairing furniture and wooden objects, Architectural details, Woodturning, carving, tool usage, product usage, some chemistry as it applies to woodworking and related interests,cabinet making and furniture construction/design, etc. I have experience with all manners of colorants, finishes, paints, stains, dyes, glazes, and coatings, wood species recognition and usage,tool recommendations, blade types and recommendation,techniques and methods for many Woodworking related issues, etc.


Fine furniture restorer and cabinet maker for over 30 years,serving high end Antique dealers, Interior designers, Collectors in the CT area. Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.) Sold, built, serviced, setup Home, Industrial, and Commercial stationary woodworking tools for a major tool retailer in CT. for three years, sold hand and power tools , provided knowledge, parts replacement, service, and on site service, Trade show Demo, and training as well.

Published in Fine Woodworking Magazine (12/97), included on Fine Woodworkings first "Best of Fine Woodworking" CD-ROM (2002) ...("27 year compilation of expert know-how")

Art School at Silvermine Guild in Norwalk, CT., 9 year apprenticeship in a European run Cabinet and Restoration shop in CT., various classes on subjects having to do with the field. Seminars from major Tool manufacturers, Skil/Bosch, Delta, Powermatic, Ritter, Porter cable, Milwaukee, Dewalt/B&Decker, Performax.

Past/Present Clients
Many varied clients including work on Martha Stewarts' Westport, CT. show house, many fine Antique dealers and private collectors in and around Fairfield County and in Woodbury, CT. (the Antiques capital of CT.), Golden Age of Trucking Museum,Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.), local Museums and Historical Societies. For the last two years I have been employed with Schwenke Auctioneers Inc.- Woodbury Auction LLC., as a staff photographer,IT tech,and doing restoration and repair work as well.

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