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thursday, july 24, 2014 5:17 pm zst

carving reality at the joints

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I must have been mental

Why, you ask? Because I decided, first thing after painting the kitchen, that something simply must be done about my cabinets! There's absolutely nothing wrong with them. Friends of mine who've seen pictures of the kitchen thought they were lovely. They're solid birch with clear lacquer, finished off with decorative molding. Or, at least, they used to be...

Why would a sane woman with a practically brand new house take on the job of refinishing perfectly inoffensive natural wood kitchen cabinets?

First, dear reader, who says I'm sane? And second: they're boring. Neutral and inoffensive. I don't want neutral and inoffensive. I want excitement! Drama! I want the kitchen cabinets to extend their newly-chic middle fingers and shout 'F*** you!' at the bland vanilla paint in my living room. These cabinets don't do that:

House2.jpg

They don't do that yet, anyway.

When I first bought this house, I started a multitude of projects. I cannot stand to have something undone, and while I'm not getting everything done in a weekend, I do make progress on each project little by little. I know myself, and what I know is that if I hadn't started them all at once before the newness of being a homeowner wore off, I would never have started anything at all, and I'd still be living in a boring house with vanilla paint on the walls.

It might not look like there are that many cabinets, but once the doors have come off they seem to have gone forth and multiplied like little bunnies or some ancient tribe, and I have cabinet doors sitting on surfaces all over the kitchen. And living room. And in the garage too.

The process has been a pain. It's been a little bit of trial and error, like when I discovered that wood stripper is basically useless, and harder than concrete when it dries. I had to use a chisel and mallet to chip off hardened bits of wood stripper. The doors have decorative ribs and angles, none of which the orbital sander can reach, so they all have to be done by hand. I learned that you can't use a foam brush with 2-in-1 stain and polyurethane, because then you just end up with a bunch of messy streaks. I've learned to live with the smell of the stain, as well as the smell of the mineral spirits and brush cleaner.

The doors, which are the biggest part of the job, are not quite done yet but they will be soon, and I've just finished sanding the sides and facings of the cabinets. I have used Minwax Polyshades 1 step stain & polyurethane in satin-finish Bombay Mahogany. I love the dark, rich color and the subtle satin sheen. No more boring blah countrified wood for me!

One day if you too lose your mind and decide you want to redo your kitchen cabinets, Be Jane can help with some of the basic nuts and bolts of getting started. Although, I'm refinishing wood with stain, and they're merely painting. What I have done is way harder.

Posted by Stormi on Jan 10, 2007 12:20 am

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