My Experience with Refinishing Kitchen Cabinets

I was going to toss away my old kitchen cabinets and just buy new ones from Lowe’s. The more I looked at the ones I had the more I thought about just refurnishing them. They had about eight layers of paint on them and definitely would need to be stripped.

I asked my brother, who used to paint in the summers, what I needed to do to strip my cabinets. He said I would be better off just ripping them out and buying new ones. I knew it would be a lot of work but being hard headed as I am I dug in.

I went to Lowe’s and bought Motsenbocker’s Lift Off. This is a water based stripper for paint and varnish. I started by removing all the door and drawers from the cabinet fronts, as well as the hinges. I applied the stripper over the end section of the cabinet and let it set like the instructions said. I then took a paint scraper and got to work.

After about the first half hour I realized that my brother was probably correct about how difficult this was going to be. All I wanted to do was refinish my kitchen cabinets but I had taken on a mammoth of a job. I went all around the cabinets and started to get the first layer of paint off slowly.

In the first week I probably spent twenty hours scraping and stripping with less than impressive results. It took me a good two weeks to start to see signs of wood. Once I saw that first sign of wood I really upped my efforts because I knew the end was within reach.

I decided to get really serious, so I called my buddy and borrowed his belt sander to help me finish the job. The sander started out like gangbusters taking off layers of old paint as I started to get excited. I got a little overzealous and took too much off one of the crossbars and left a small indention in the wood but I was not going back to the scraper.

After weeks of tiring hours of stripping paint my cabinets were finally finished. Since the cabinets were built in during the original construction I could not have found better fitting cabinets at any store. The more I looked at them, the more satisfied I was that I did the work myself and had some pretty good looking cabinets.

If you are remodeling your kitchen and want to make a major change without spending a large amount of money look at refinishing your cabinets. I could easily have spent the two thousand dollars to buy new ones but I am much happier with how my turned out.

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