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Old 01-16-2017, 08:25 PM   #1
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Default Painting Oak Cabinets

Hello,

I'm doing a job this winter that involves a kitchen. Cabinets are currently varnished Oak, headed towards paint grade (Cottage White). I'm going to do the prep on everything and sub out a spray finish on the doors and drawer fronts. Here's the order of operations I'm thinking about and the products. Any input is appreciated!

1) Remove hardware, label, TSP wash, etc
2) Sand, round sharp corners
3) Fill oak grain with unknown product - any favorites?
4) Prime with XIM UMA Primer
5) Fill and sand any imperfections
6) Prime again
7) Sand down everything to a chalky powder with my Festool toys
8) Send off the drawers and doors to a spray finisher that recommends General Finishes White Poly - thoughts on this finish?
9) 2 coats Impervo on the bodies/face frames


I'd love to hear any thoughts, thanks for looking!
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Old 01-17-2017, 10:50 PM   #2
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my only advice, make sure the white that your finisher uses matches the one you will put on the boxes. Mix matched whites stick out like a sore thumb.
Your prep methods sound fine, a little overboard, but if thats what the client wants, needs, and ultimately will pay for then cool. GL.
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Old 01-18-2017, 05:54 AM   #3
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Fine paints of Europe brushing putty. For oak cabinets we don't fill the grains much. The added cist and time seems to be a turn off for our customers who have oak.
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Old 01-18-2017, 12:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nkpaintingvt View Post
Hello,

I'm doing a job this winter that involves a kitchen. Cabinets are currently varnished Oak, headed towards paint grade (Cottage White). I'm going to do the prep on everything and sub out a spray finish on the doors and drawer fronts. Here's the order of operations I'm thinking about and the products. Any input is appreciated!

1) Remove hardware, label, TSP wash, etc
2) Sand, round sharp corners
3) Fill oak grain with unknown product - any favorites?
4) Prime with XIM UMA Primer
5) Fill and sand any imperfections
6) Prime again
7) Sand down everything to a chalky powder with my Festool toys
8) Send off the drawers and doors to a spray finisher that recommends General Finishes White Poly - thoughts on this finish?
9) 2 coats Impervo on the bodies/face frames


I'd love to hear any thoughts, thanks for looking!
I think you'll find that number three on your list is the biggie - both in what type of product to use and in the overall scope of the project.
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Old 01-18-2017, 04:59 PM   #5
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I think you'll find that number three on your list is the biggie - both in what type of product to use and in the overall scope of the project.
I let the homeowners know the price difference between filling the grains or leaving them alone. 99% leave them alone.
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Old 01-18-2017, 08:19 PM   #6
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I've done tons of the good ol honey oak cabinets. I concur with the other guys about filling the grain. That shouldn't be necessary. The varnish has probably filled most of the grain already, and If you work the primer in really good it will get in the canals and not be as noticeable. Plus, it is what it is. It's painted Oak! Seeing the grain is part of the charm. IMO.
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Old 01-18-2017, 09:20 PM   #7
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Better and probably cheaper to buy new paint grade doors than grain fill oak.

Last edited by PRC; 01-18-2017 at 09:27 PM..
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Old 02-27-2017, 01:56 PM   #8
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I get a lot of calls on this, I like to stay away from painting oak cabinets as a rule and if i have to do it never do I do it white. In discussion with others, one suggestion was to brush and roll on the initial coat of primer in order to fill in the grain and avoid pinholes. This could work but once the brush and roller come out I'm not interested (and the crack between the center panel and the rails becomes filled - not good). Grain filling - not worth it - too much labour.

I wrote an article for my website on this topic alone - Spray Painting Oak Cabinet Doors - to save me countless hours discussion with clients over email. see www.sharrardpainting.ca\oakcabinetdoors
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Old 02-27-2017, 04:23 PM   #9
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I use a spray on grain filler. It's a thick, clear acrylic finishing medium. Spray on a couple coats and sand. Works wonders for oak and isn't nearly as labor intensive as hand applied grain fillers. Not only is it obviously easier to spray the material, but the sanding necessary is greatly reduced.

https://fauxmasters.com/product/mast...ishing-medium/

It can be brushed and rolled on as well, just takes more sanding to smooth it out.


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Old 02-27-2017, 05:47 PM   #10
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Sherman williams make a great spray product for this. Lets have some fun and see who is the first person to get their SW rep to figure out what it is!
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Old 02-27-2017, 10:35 PM   #11
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We've painted quite a few oak cabinets. I haven't had any complaints about the grain showing, but I make it very clear that it will beforehand.

By the time we'd do all this elaborate prep to fill the grain on most likely older/cheaper oak cabinets, I can up-sell all new maple cabinets, and most likely an entire kitchen renovation.

For example, we can paint your oak cabinets for $5K. We can make them perfect by filling the grain and what not for $12K. We can replace the whole deal for $15-25k.

These aren't any sort of real numbers, but the ratios are about right. $5k is pretty reasonable for a light face-lift...$12k is a lot of money to spend for minor gains.

In my experience, people would rather spend on either end of the spectrum, but the middle is a lonely place. We also do kitchens, so that factors in to it as well.

The grain doesn't look that bad, anyway...adds character/distressed look.
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Old 02-28-2017, 10:39 AM   #12
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I've always used Sher-wood filler, mix it with a little paint thinner and just wipe it into the grains. Light sand after and there ready for primer. I've used sher-wood and sw easy sand primer and have achieved super smooth results.
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Old 02-28-2017, 10:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ParamountPaint View Post
We've painted quite a few oak cabinets. I haven't had any complaints about the grain showing, but I make it very clear that it will beforehand.

By the time we'd do all this elaborate prep to fill the grain on most likely older/cheaper oak cabinets, I can up-sell all new maple cabinets, and most likely an entire kitchen renovation.

For example, we can paint your oak cabinets for $5K. We can make them perfect by filling the grain and what not for $12K. We can replace the whole deal for $15-25k.

These aren't any sort of real numbers, but the ratios are about right. $5k is pretty reasonable for a light face-lift...$12k is a lot of money to spend for minor gains.

In my experience, people would rather spend on either end of the spectrum, but the middle is a lonely place. We also do kitchens, so that factors in to it as well.

The grain doesn't look that bad, anyway...adds character/distressed look.
Went and bid a really large bathroom cabinet painting job last week. Older oak cabinets in terrible shape. Gave the HO's my numbers and they about collapsed. People just don't understand how much is involved to produced a quality job. I mean, cabinets get painted in just a few minutes all the time on the DIY and remodeling shows on TV. And although they never show the finished products up close, they must look amazing.
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Old 02-28-2017, 11:44 AM   #14
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It's pretty sad to see these diyers and bloggers cabinet jobs. Hey they went to school though, for video production, so they must have it all figured out.
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Old 02-28-2017, 02:10 PM   #15
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Even if they look good up close, let's see what they look like in 12 months...


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Old 02-28-2017, 03:51 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThreeSistersPainting View Post
I've always used Sher-wood filler, mix it with a little paint thinner and just wipe it into the grains. Light sand after and there ready for primer. I've used sher-wood and sw easy sand primer and have achieved super smooth results.
That's one way, but they actually have something that you can spray on and sand. Although the Sherwood filler is better for deeper grain. Try using a body filler applicator sometime. Works great.
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Old 02-28-2017, 03:52 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RH View Post
Went and bid a really large bathroom cabinet painting job last week. Older oak cabinets in terrible shape. Gave the HO's my numbers and they about collapsed. People just don't understand how much is involved to produced a quality job. I mean, cabinets get painted in just a few minutes all the time on the DIY and remodeling shows on TV. And although they never show the finished products up close, they must look amazing.
Like i always say, anyone can smear some mud on something and call it "painted".
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Old 02-28-2017, 03:55 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by MurphysPaint View Post
Even if they look good up close, let's see what they look like in 12 months...


Murph
That's a good point. Quite a few of these "great" cabinet paints and systems look pretty funky after a few months. It's hard to get a paint that applies smoothly and holds up for under $35 these days. Regardless of what you know who says.
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Old 03-01-2017, 11:14 PM   #19
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Sherman williams make a great spray product for this. Lets have some fun and see who is the first person to get their SW rep to figure out what it is!
PLEASE tell us what this product is! Or better yet, a competitors equivilant...
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Old 03-02-2017, 07:13 AM   #20
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Default A couple of thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by nkpaintingvt View Post
Hello,

I'm doing a job this winter that involves a kitchen. Cabinets are currently varnished Oak, headed towards paint grade (Cottage White). I'm going to do the prep on everything and sub out a spray finish on the doors and drawer fronts. Here's the order of operations I'm thinking about and the products. Any input is appreciated!

1) Remove hardware, label, TSP wash, etc
2) Sand, round sharp corners
3) Fill oak grain with unknown product - any favorites?
4) Prime with XIM UMA Primer
5) Fill and sand any imperfections
6) Prime again
7) Sand down everything to a chalky powder with my Festool toys
8) Send off the drawers and doors to a spray finisher that recommends General Finishes White Poly - thoughts on this finish?
9) 2 coats Impervo on the bodies/face frames


I'd love to hear any thoughts, thanks for looking!
nk, you might want to do a google search for "TSP Paint Talk" - obviously without the quotation marks - before you use any TSP for cleaning. Apparently, many of the Zinsser primers and sealers say not to use TSP for cleaning. Just beware.

As far as filling in the grain, I am working on several doors in a condo that had a very heavy orange peel texture from multiple layers of paint rolled on over the years. In addition, the front entrance door is a 60 year old solid core wood door that has verticle hils and valleys that show up when the door is opened and the incoming daylight highlights these ridges. I used Durabond mixed with a little Mud-Max (Trim-Tex product) to increase the glueability. Everything sanded down very smooth. I would be fairly confident that the oak grain could be filled with this mixture. I just don't know what primer would be best to spray onto this. On my front entrance door I put a thin coat of Gardz over the Durabond to soak in and make the DB even stronger, but even as thin as the Gardz is, it left a faint stipple from the roller. I have never sprayed Gardz, so i don't know how that would come out or even if Gardz would be a good thing to put onto a cabinet face.

All I know is, the Durabonded surface got really smooth after being sanded down. I will have to test this on a piece of oak and see how it fills the grain. What I would do is put a really thin skim coat on first, making sure that no excess DB is left after the grain is filled. Then I would apply another skim coat of DB which would, in effect, seal any porous openness in the DB, leaving a very solid finish after sanding. On walls, I have gotten skim coats of Durabond to shine without any sanding involved, and it is 60-70% plaster of Paris as the MSDS indicates.

The more I write about doing this, the less I think that anyone would want to pay for all that labor, but I feel it just might work if the right primer is used. Here is a link from a DIYer that used Durabond to seal the grain on oak cabinets, just to give you an idea of what I am talking about:

https://homestagingbloomingtonil.wor...-grain-filler/

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