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RE: Celticmoon? (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: celticmoon on 01.31.2008 at 10:47 pm in Kitchens Forum

Uh, hi guys. I've been away, consumed by other things for a couple months. Tickled to stumble on this thread when I wandered back to the Forum. Once TKO, always TKO, I guess.

Thank you, msrose, for stepping up and posting the staining info! That is it.

Neverending, that is so cool to use the gel over paint! Yours came out fabulous. I can totally see now how it could work over paint - it just never would have occurred to me to try. (I once suggested using the gel over thermofoil for a glazed look - still think that might work...)

For anybody interested my c1987 looked like this when I moved in 11 years ago:
range to sink - before

In 2000 after MUCH effort, I successfully killed off the loathed Roper electric range and put in the Viking and Ventahood. Ditched the side cabinets and giant tulip wallpaper, reversed the DW panel. Better.
note the low passthrough - bend and bark at dining

Then in 2006-7 I darkened the cabinets, switched out the hardware and raised the pass through. Replaced sink and DW. Yay.
about done

In better light they look like this
nice winter  light

And here is in bright direct sunlight
cabinet color in sunlight

They have held up beautifully. And I work my kitchen HARD.

PS Huango, it took me ten years of looking at cabinets I hated to get to that point of 'nothing to lose' - I had paint or refacing or even new doors as a backup. In retrospect I wish I hadn't waited so long. Definitely you should experiment on the backs of doors or drawer fronts. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

And kudos to all who think outside the box, and pull off a budget transformation. I love it!!!


clipped on: 08.18.2009 at 06:59 pm    last updated on: 08.18.2009 at 06:59 pm

RE: Celticmoon? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: msrose on 01.27.2008 at 03:03 pm in Kitchens Forum

Duh - I remembered someone giving me the directions for gelstain before, but I didn't remember it being Celticmoon. I just checked my documents and found the directions. I just want to make sure I understand completely. You didn't remove the previous finish, just roughed it up a little bit? I mentioned using gelstain on the decorating forum awhile back and someone said that it just coats the woods and doesn't soak in like a regular stain, which means it will scratch off easily. Does the clear urethane keep that from happening? Do you see any cons to using the gel stain over a regular stain?


Background Story:
My cabinets are frameless, good condition and good layout. But the finish had gone orange and ugly, with the oak graining too busy for me. Cabinets are 18 years old, very poorly finished oak veneered slab doors. Plain with no crevices. They hadn't even take the doors off to finish them!!! No stain or finish was even on the hinge side edges, just dirty ol naked wood. Cheesy, huh?
I looked into changing out cabinets, but that was way too much money, since my layout was OK. And I am cheap, er, frugal. Painting didn't seem right because the doors were plain slabs. I considered new doors but that still meant a lot of money. For a few years I tried to figure a way to add molding toward a mission look, but the rounded door edges made that impossible. Then trolling in a kitchen emporium showroom this last year I noticed dark wood slab doors, kind like mine, but darker. That was the answer.
First I tried Minwax Polyshades. Dicey product. Hard to brush on neatly, then gummy, then seemed to leave a sticky tacky residue. I did a thread on the Woodworking site "Evil Polyshades to the Rescue" which elicited a lot of conflicting "expert" opinions and arguments that one must strip. I stripped the whole first floor of a Victorian once. No thanks. Jennifer-in-clyde (in the same boat)and I stumbled around to get to our method. Found the General Finishes products to work much better. Very easy to apply. Texture is like almost-done pudding, real silky. Just smear it on and wipe off the excess. Couldn't be easier. (see for more info including where to find products. Disclaimer: I have no relationship to them other than being a satisfied customer.)
Here is the play by play:
screwdrivers (for dismantling doors and hardware), box-o-disposable gloves from Walgreen's, old socks or rags, fine sandpaper, disposable small plastic bowls or plates, and plastic spoons or forks, mineral spirits, miracle cloth (optional), General Finishes Java gel stain (or another color) and General Finishes clear top coat (Both are poly based). Optional: General Finishes Expresso water based stain as another layer for maximum darkness.
You will need a place to work and leave wet doors to dry overnight - I set up 2 spaces, garage for sanding/cleaning and basement for staining/sealing. Plan on blocks of 20-30-minutes for sanding/cleaning bundles of say, 6 doors at a time. Then just 10 minute sessions to wipe on coats.
1)Remove the doors and all the hardware from one section of the kitchen. 4-6 doors is a good amount.
2) Clean the wood surface thoroughly. Then go over the wood lightly with sandpaper, just a very light skim sand to give the existing finish some tooth. No more than a minute a door. Rough up the surface is all. A miracle cloth is great for getting off the dust. Then wipe well with mineral spirits to clean well.
3) Open and stir the can o gel THOROUGHLY with your fork or spoon. Spoon some gel into your plastic bowl and reseal the can. This keeps you from contaminating the gels with crud or grit.
4) Put on the disposable gloves and slip an old sock onto one hand. Scoop some gel up and smear it on (It feels really nice and doesn't even smell too awful), then wipe down to remove the excess. I did the coats in the following order and let each dry well overnight:
-General Finishes Expresso water based stain (1 coat) I used this because I wanted really dark. You can probably skip this one to get to a deep rich brown
-General Finishes Java gel stain (couple coats) or whatever color you choose.
-General Finishes Clear urethane gel topcoat in satin (couple coats).
4) Reassemble the doors and drawer fronts and check the color evenness. Touch up with more gel stain where needed and let dry. Add a coat or two more of the clear gel for super durability.
5) Replace hardware.
I was brazen because the cabinets were so cheap and ugly I had nothing to lose. I went kinda thick and didn't wipe everything off perfectly. And I didn't sand between coats. You will think the Expresso coat fades as it dries but it redarkens later. I wanted a very deep dark color, like melted dark chocolate. It is not perfect in tone, there is unevenness in the coloration, but you have to really look to see it. The feel of the finish is really wonderful, smooth and satiny.
Raised the pass through upper run, recycled 2 glass cabinets doors from DR, resurfaced the Corian and got some smashing hardware. It came out pretty great and the finish has held up fine for over a year now. Link to pictures below.
Couple other tips: Go to the bathroom first and tie up your hair. Keep an apron or old workshirt handy for the gel coats' work. Keep a phone nearby either in a baggie or wrapped in a clean rag. Skip these steps at your peril. Oh, and stir the can very well each time and spoon some into a disposable bowl - keeps the can from getting contaminated. Lastly, the socks or rags you use for poly gels should be disposed of carefully as they are flammable and volatile. Rule is to have a bucket of water and dispose into that as you go - then get rid of it all at the end per local ordinances.
RE: Expresso vs. Java. Expresso is blacker, Java is more a red brown, like mahogany furniture. My cabinets had such a faded orange cast, that putting on an Expresso coat after sanding seemed to yield a bit darker end product. Java alone wiped on makes a nice, rich Sienna brown color, but I was wanting it to be much darker than the Java alone would get me to. The other difference is of course that Expresso is water based, so an easier cleanup. Being a gel, the Java can go on much thicker. And the last clear coats provide the nice satin finish - stopping at Java has nowhere near the smoothness and sheen. I found it helped to hang the doors, etc after one clear coat so I could check the color. If I missed a spot, I'd do a Java touchup wipe there. Let dry. Then clear coat wipe.
BTW, with the Expresso, each coat dissolved the one prior - weird. So a second coat didn't seem worth it to me. And even with the Java, if you rub too hard when it is wet you end up removing the color. Letting it dry well between coats is essential. You have to figure about 5 days at one coat a day. I used my kitchen all the way through - who needs doors?
Good luck to you. It is a pain in some ways, but in my case it was really worth it. The worst is definitely the prep. Once the surfaces are ready to coat, it is really short work to glove up, slide a sock on your hand and wipe on a coat.


clipped on: 08.18.2009 at 06:42 pm    last updated on: 08.18.2009 at 06:42 pm