Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Strip & Stain Kitchen Cabinets

Give your cabinets a fresh appearance by refinishing and stripping them. You only have to do the faces of the cabinets to give them a fresh look. With most average collections of cupboards, you can do almost all of the job in a single day using strippers to remove the old finish. Give them a light sanding and then reapply a fresh finish. Nothing upgrades your cabinets such as fresh stain and lacquer.

Remove the drawers from the cabinets. Use a screwdriver to remove the doors, hinges and drawer pulls. Lay everything across two sawhorses. Distribute a drop cloth under all exposed cabinets, doors and drawers.

Place rubber gloves. Paint a light coat of stripper on the surface of a single cabinet, one drawer and one door at a time. Wait 10 minutes and then scrape off the softened lacquer using a putty knife, starting at the top and scratching down. Let the gelled finish fall on the drop material. Do all the cabinets, doors and drawers.

Sand all surfaces using 100-grit sandpaper attached to a power oscillating tool. If the cabinet has incorporated profiled moldings, use a rotary tool with a variety of accessories to fit inside the molding profiles. Re-sand the cupboards with 100-grit sandpaper attached to a hand block. Sand parallel to the grain all surfaces before the timber has a consistent appearance. You don’t have to sand off the stain unless the brand new stain that you are likely to use is milder than the present stain on the cabinets.

Dip a sponge into an open can of stain. Apply the stain to the cabinets, one cabinet, door and drawer at a time. When the timber has a wet look, wipe off the stain immediately with a dry cloth. Wait one hour to the stain to dry.

Spray the cabinets, doors and drawers with a light coat of aerosol lacquer. Sand everything with 180-grit sandpaper by hand. Finish by spraying on another coating of lacquer on the cabinets. Wait 24 hours for the finish to cure before installing the doors and drawers.

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