How To Refinish Stained Cabinets

Refinishing Stained Cabinets


Cover the floor with plastic, then cover the plastic with red paper.
Remove the drawers and empty them.
Remove knobs and pulls.
If you’re only refinishing the front surface and the hinges are behind there is no need to remove the doors. However, it is easier to work on them if they are removed.
Remove the doors and hinges if finishing front and back or hinges are surface mounted.

Place all hinges, screws, knobs, and pulls in a zip lock or box, this will ensure you have all the parts when you’re reinstalling them.

Cleaning Cabinet Doors and Drawers.

Mix TSP with HOT water in a pan, or bucket. Use a kitchen sponge, (Scotch-Brite) the blue side, toothpicks, and a toothbrush to clean. Make sure to clean all oils and grease from all the crevices, corners, and the surface of the wood.

Clean all areas of the wood throughly this will ensure the stain and sealer adhere properly.
Rinse clean by dampening the Scotch-Brite pad with hot water.

Let wood dry before going to next step

Fill Cracks Or Holes

Use wood putty to fill cracks or holes. It is important NOT to fill existing holes where your hardware was connected, unless you’re changing the location of your knobs, hinges Etc…

Use a color putty that closely matches the original wood color.
Fill all holes in surface face if you are removing knobs entirely.

Let wood putty dry before going to next step


Whether you are sanding by hand, with a block, sponge or sander ALWAYS follow the grain. NEVER cross grain sand it tears up the wood fibers and is very visible in the finish product.

Initial sanding should be done using 100 grit sandpaper.

Sand all areas that you want to refinish including inside corners.
Sanding can be done by hand, with a sanding block, or sponge. If you have a lot of wood to sand we recommend using a orbital sander, square or a detailer.

I do not recommend using a belt sander as they will destroy your cabinets surface.

After you have removed the shiny sealer switch to using steel wool (brillo pads) or a fine grit sandpaper. I recommend using a grit of 150-220. The higher the number the finer the grit.

Sanding with power tools can ruin your wood surface fast if you do not know how to use them.
If you are removing knobs or changing the location of the hinges be sure to sand edges so that you cannot see the outlines.
Sand only following the grain.

Clean Sanding Dust

First use a vacuum to clean up sanding dust. Then use a tack cloth to make sure all the dust is removed.

Leaving dust on the surface will cause a bubbly looking effect on your finish product. Dust particles DO NOT disappear when sealed in they get more noticeable.

Choose The Color Stain You Want

Choose the finish color you want to stain your wood.

Find A Clean Environment To Complete These Last Steps

Find a spot where you can work without wind or dust getting on your wood.

It is critical to your finish product to have a dust free environment to work in before moving on. Layout all the wood pieces on a clean drop cloth so that you won’t be kicking up dust and you don’t need to keep moving them around during the next two steps.

Applying Stain

Stain can be applied using a cloth, brush or sponge.

Allow stain to soak into the wood for approximately 5 minutes before wiping it off. The longer you let it soak in the darker it gets.

The finish color of your staining can be darkened by applying multiple coats.

Apply using a cloth for easy application.
Let stain dry, read manufactures directions for drying time.

Let stain dry before going to next step

Choose The Finish You Like
Clear, Satin, Or Gloss.

Applying the Finish Lacquer

Use the spray cans of Deft to seal your finished work. Applying multiple coats helps ensure your work will last longer.

Let lacquer dry before applying additional coats.

When using water-based topcoats, sand any grain-raise smooth before applying the final coat. “LIGHTLY SAND BETWEEN COATS” Sanding between coats is not mandatory, but it will provide a better finish. After the coat drys, use a 220 or 240 grit sandpaper or extra fine steel wool to lightly sand the surface. Steel wool without soap.

Let lacquer dry before re-installation.

Reinstall Hardware

Reinstall hardware in existing holes to ensure everything lines up how it was installed before.

Install Drawers And Doors

Start by installing the drawers first then reinstall your doors.

Congratulations You Did It!

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