Reply
Apprentice Member
captainlfr
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎10-26-2009
0

What's the Best Finish For Kitchen Cabinets

I built my own cherry kitchen cabinets about a year and a half ago. I used a pre-cat lacquer on them, no stain. My wife wanted the dull satin look. Now after the year and a half, I hate the dull satin look. I plan on adding a satin or semigloss coating to them. Anyway I don't want to use pre-cat lacquer to them. I need something a little more moisture and wear resistance. Also, I am not taking the cabinets out. I can remove the doors and drawers to spray them but I need a way to coat the exterior sides of the cabinets without spraying. What's the best clear coat to use and what preparation do I need to do since i have already used pre-cat lac.

Thanks, Eddie

Honored Advisor
Steve Mickley
Posts: 1,567
Registered: ‎10-21-2009
0

I think we need to clarify something…

Eddie;

 

…before we go too far on finish recommendations.  In your question you said that you “…need something a little more moisture and wear (resistant)…” than the pre-cat lacquer that you used.  Pre-catalyzed lacquer is among the most durable finishes available.  It is far more moisture resistant than nitrocellulose lacquer.  It is also quite “durable” in the face of household cleaners and normal ware.  So, the first question we need to address is, what did you use?  Be specific.

 

Beyond that, after a year and a half of use you face a major cleaning task before attempting to apply any new finish to your cabinets.  Kitchens are perhaps the dirtiest environments in the home in terms of producing residue that will create adhesion problems.  You will need to thoroughly wash all exposed surfaces with a mild detergent and water.  You will then follow with a wipe-down with a grease solvent like paint thinner and plenty of shop towels; wipe, turn to a clean face and wipe again.

 

You also face the problem of going from a duller sheen to a glossier sheen.  To produce the dull sheen flatting agents are added to the finish.  The role of flatting agents is to disperse or diffuse the light reflected from the surface of the wood.  Applying gloss sheen (no flatting agents) over a dull sheen will not produce a high gloss finish since the flatting agents in the dull (or duller) finish are still there.  They are still diffusing the reflected light reflecting off the surface of the wood.  Certainly, you can alter the sheen but the result may not be what you expect.

 

Finally, back to the finish you used initially.  There are some catalyzed finishes that are extremely difficult to recoat after they are fully cured (catalyzed)... 

 

Steve

Finishing & Refinishing Forum Host
Apprentice Member
captainlfr
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎10-26-2009
0

Re: I think we need to clarify something…

i used pre-cat lacquer. Dull satin finish. I sprayed about 3-4 coats on. Now besides me and the wife don't like the look, there are white spots on the edge of some of the drawers and doors. I tried to remove them with denatured alcohol but no luck.

Eddie

Honored Advisor
amateur60
Posts: 1,559
Registered: ‎10-24-2009
0

Re: I think we need to clarify something…

You will need to be more specific about what you used before Steve can give you the best help.  That is, what BRAND and model name or number of pre-cat lacquer did you use?. 

Honored Advisor
amateur60
Posts: 1,559
Registered: ‎10-24-2009
0

Re: I think we need to clarify something…

You will need to be more specific about what you used before Steve can give you the best help.  That is, what BRAND and model name or number of pre-cat lacquer did you use?

Honored Advisor
Steve Mickley
Posts: 1,567
Registered: ‎10-21-2009
0

If someone asked you what you drove…

Eddie;

 

…would you tell them that you “…drove a black car…” or would you be a bit more specific; perhaps the make, model, maybe the year or even the engine size or transmission type.  I’m trying to have a bit of fun here; but, I am also trying to help.  Knowing that you “…used pre-cat lacquer…” was established in your first post.  Now we would like to know what pre-cat lacquer…make, model, engine size, transmission option, etc.  The information will really help…

 

Steve

Finishing & Refinishing Forum Host
Apprentice Member
captainlfr
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎10-26-2009
0

Re: What's the Best Finish For Kitchen Cabinets

I forgot about the reply. Sorry. Here's the original finish that's on the cabinets now.

http://www.hoodfinishing.com/2011-Catalog/Magna-Shield.pdf

Eddie

Honored Advisor
Howard Acheson
Posts: 1,087
Registered: ‎10-24-2009
0

Re: I think we need to clarify something…

>>>>   Applying gloss sheen (no flatting agents) over a dull sheen will not produce a high gloss finish since the flatting agents in the dull (or duller) finish are still there.

 

Steve, hate to pick a nit but I do not believe the above is correct.  A few years ago I wrote up the following for woodworking club newsletter.  The most recent edition of Flexner's book has a section on the same subject arriving at the same conclusions.

 

The additive used by most finish manufacturers is a silica (glass) that is optically clear. Compare a well stirred satin finish to a gloss finish and you will see little or no difference in clarity.

The way the flatters work is that as a finish dries, it shrinks slightly. This pulls the top of the film tighter causing the granular sand-like silica items to make the surface un-smooth. It's the non-smooth surface that refracts and scatters the light rays giving the appearance of a non-gloss surface. The whole effect of the non-gloss is only the surface of the finish. If you apply a second coat, the hills and valleys of the underneath coat are filled in and the drying of the new coat again creates new hills and valley at the surface. If you apply a gloss finish (which has no flatters) it too will fill in the hills and valleys in the prior coat but no new hills and valleys will be created. You are left now with a gloss finish even though the underneath coat was a non-gloss.

Think about scuff sanding a surface as preparation for another coat. The scuff sanded surface will have a non-gloss surface appearence because of the scratches (hills and valleys) that the abrasive material creates. But, what happens when you apply another coat of gloss to your scratched surface? The resulting new surface is gloss because your gloss finish has filled in the scratches just like it does to the hills and valleys resulting from a non-gloss finish.

So, what should be taken away from this overly long dissertation is that for almost all finishes used in woodworking, it makes no difference what the gloss of the underneath coats were, the final gloss will be dependent on the gloss of the final coat.

 

 

 

Howie..............
Community Manager
MSWOODcraft
Posts: 5,132
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
0

Re: I think we need to clarify something…

That's an interesting set of theories.   I don't have enough knowlege about it to refute it, but I do have a followup question.

 

The silicates do refract light to some degree, don't they?   If they do, I'd presume that any undercoats of satin (or semi) would serve to obscure the wood.  Following that presumption, holding two boards next to one another - one coated exclusively with gloss and the other with undercoats of satin and then a gloss top coat - you'd see some differences.   Er...right?

 

Not trying to argue - just trying to see if what I think I know matches with what others actually do know about clearcoat clarity.

Best,

Matt Seiler
Wood Online Moderator

Advisor
Tarner
Posts: 442
Registered: ‎12-18-2009
0

Re: I think we need to clarify something…

You know, that I know, that he knows, that we know.......er what were we talking about?:smileyvery-happy:

 

As far ah sheen goes they should look the same.  But if you're talking about the clarity there should be a difference.  At least that what my brain is telling me.:smileyfrustrated:

 

© Copyright 2009, Meredith Corporation. All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy | By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Service.