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Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks/White dots on refinished oak cabinets


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QUESTION: I had my oak kitchen cabinets refinished and almost all of them have a problem with white dots and white stuff forming on the new finished surface.

ANSWER: Michelle,
Thanks for the pictures
These look like the lower cabinets and drawers; is this correct?

After enlarging the pictures; it looks as though, some liquid has been splashed on the cabinets and drawers.  Is the same damage also on the cabinets that are above the bottom ones?

I showed the pictures to a few other refinishers and they also thought that something had been splashed on the wood.

I am sure that you consulted the the company who did the work; what was their explanation?

Is this a lacquer finish or a water borne acrylic finish?
Is the finish actually lifting from the wood; or are the blemishes on the top of the finish.

We would like to hear back from you as to the explanation of the refinisher.
How long ago was the work completed.

If the finish isn't lifting I belive that we have a product that will help.

Joe Eldredge
Conscientious Wood Care

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi, thanks for answering.  As to your questions, yes, there is the same thing on both bottom and top.  Though the bottom ones required more work and it seems to be more pronounced there.  I don't think anything was splashed on it, the contractor came back, sanded down the cabinets again and reapplied a layer of minwax (?).  The gentleman who did the work had no explanation.  They looked good for a while, then the spots seem to bleed through (this happened when the work was done initially, then when he came back and touched up the places).  The white spots seem to be lifting from the wood.  YOu can scrape it off with your nail.  

I'm sorry I don't have more info...I'm not too savvy when it comes to this kind of thing.  Thank you very, very much for the help.


ANSWER: Michele,

When you mentioned he reapplied a layer of Minwax -- was this an actual wax, stain or finish?
If this was an actual wax; he is stating that he doesn't know what to do.
Wax finishes were replaced in the forties with more durable products - varnish then lacquers.
You will have continual problems with wax finish in a kitchen
If the white spots are still lifting from the wood; you have an adhesion problem from the original application.

They will need to chemically strip the cabinets to remove all products that have penetrated into the fibers of the wood.

It's companies like this that give the industry bad reputations.

Stand your ground!

Please e-mail with any further questions.

Joe Eldredge
Conscientious wood Care

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Sorry for the delay in responding - I needed to get some help to figure out the "right" answers!

- The refinisher used Minwax stain and seal.  
- He lightly sanded the cabinet doors, drawers, and facing with fine sandpaper to take off the existing shine.  
- He did not strip the old finish off the cabinets.  
- Once he lightly sanded the wood, he applied light coats of the Minwax stain and sealant.

So, he has returned once and again lightly sanded the wood with fine sandpaper.  He applied the Minwax stain and seal again, and the white dots appeared again.

The finish is not lifting off the wood. The white dots are coming through the finish and almost blossoming.  I can take my fingernail and scrape them off and it appears fine.  In some instances the finish is appears to be fading and almost soaking back into the wood, becoming dull; and in other places the finish is becoming a bit cloudy.

The cabinets are the age of the home, which is 26 years old.  He is offering to return again and do the same regimen, for no charge.

I don't have a lot of money and I don't want to have to replace the cabinets if I can avoid it.  

Thanks so very much for the help!


You mentioned that the refinisher has offered to come back and do the same system he used before without charging you.
You shouldn't have paid him anything at all; the job was not to your satisfaction.

It doesn't matter how many times he lightly sands the wood, applies stain and adds a finish.
Stains have penetrating elements and unless all of the finish is removed from the cabinets; the stain will stay there in limbo and eventually work it's way out through the finish.
The finish is becoming cloudy in some areas; because the stain doesn't have any where to go.

I would certainly bring in someone with the knowledge of the wrong doings and the ability to contact a legal advisor to get your cabinets correctly refinished.

I would also contact the Better Business people and have them access the situation.
Don't let them leave you hanging with that poor job.

You are in the right; as to having them correct their mistakes.

Joe Eldredge
Conscientious Wood Care

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Joseph A. Eldredge


We have been in the wood care business for almost 30 years (we are still learning) We do refurbishing and touch-up of furniture, paneling, antiques etc. The number one question that we receive; is what do I use on my furniture, to keep it looking moisturized, clean and get the depth perception back into the finish. I believe we can help on products to use and answer questions on why we don't use certain products that are available to us. I am sure that there are many questions on wood care that we can't answer; but, give us a try anyway. We find that many people use products for maintaining the wooden furniture, etc., and can't understand the reason it looks worse as they continue to use certain products. Most people use the products that their mothers and grandmothers used. Finishes on furniture have come a long way; from shellacs, waxes, varnishes etc. Give us an email and see if we can help with some of your questions and concerns.


Have worked in Omni, Brown Palace etc. hotels. Have refurbish items in the Colorado Govenors mansion and the Colorado Capital building etc. We have been caring for millions of dollars worth of furniture and antiques for large corporations for years.

Have received certificates from numerous companies who teach wood care clases through-out the country.

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