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Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks/Painting Merillat cabinets (oak)


We've researched this project and checked with several folks (Home Depot, Pittsburgh Paints, remodelers) but we're not getting consistent replies.  

Here's the basics:
Our home was built in 1986 and still has the original Merillat (oak)cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms.  Although they may have been shinier before, most of the sheen (veneer) has faded with age and wear.  We want to paint them white, but so far our experiments with an exra door haven't turned out so well.  Paint goes on gloppy and wood grain still comes through (note: primer + paint as one product was used).

I've read that a light coat of Durabond (applied, dried and sanded to a thin layer) will help hide the wood grain while providing a good painting surface.  What is your opinion?

Do you have any suggestions and/or ideas on how to approach this project?  We want to start with the bathrooms first, then - if successful - move to the more onerous kitchen cabinets.  We've had cabinet experts in and they want to charge $11K (which was reduced to $8K when I balked).  It's too much for us to pay either way, and we're looking for a better alternative.  

I can always add a photo (or detailed photos) if needed. Thanks.

Hi Lenny
Nice to hear from you.
Good Grief, I would never use Durabond in this application. What a miserable sanding job afterwards..have you ever used this stuff?
OK..heres my opinion.
You have oak cabinets. They will be oak cabinets after they are painted and you will never get them to look like maple or any other fine grained wood.
But oak cabinets painted look pretty great even with the grain.

And heres my approach..First the cupboards have to be 100% free of grease and the surface must be deglazed. I accomplish this with one "dust free" step.
Get a quart of mineral spirits (called varsol) here in Canada. Get a couple of boxes of medium grade Bulldog steel wool and lots of clean rags.
Pour some spirit in a dish, dip the wool in it and agressively scrub the cabinets.
Dry with clean rags as you go. When this dries, you will see a deglazed surface clean and ready for paint.
A coat of good primer and two coats of oil based Melamine paint to follow.

There you have it.
PS..get back if needed

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Eileen Cronk


Hi..I can answer most questions about the repairing,stripping and refinishing of all your old furniture and wood items(the things we call antiques)I can give advice about what to buy/avoid at auctions/flea markets. I do not give appraisals on antiques.


I have been refinishing antiques for the past 30yrs. While I have taken several courses over the years,I have found that "hands on" learning is the best teacher. Perhaps I can help you avoid some of the mistakes I made while learning.

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