How to Stain and Finish Wood Cabinets
Tools and Materials to Stain and Finish Wood Cabinets:
– Pre-stain conditioner
– Wood stain
– Wipe-on polyurethane
– White cotton rags
– Tack cloth
– Sanding block
– 220 sandpaper
– Foam brush
Take the doors off the cabinets and remove the hinges and any knobs or pulls. Put each type of hardware in its own zip lock bag or other container along with its screws so nothing gets lost.
Most unfinished cabinets come from the factory sanded smooth enough to stain. Lightly sand all surfaces with #220 grit to remove any dirt that may have settled into the pores of the wood and to ensure that the surface is even and smooth. Use a sanding block and sand only in the direction of the grain. When you come to a butt joint, such as where a door rail meets a stile, sand the rail across the top of the stile and then sand the rail to remove the minute cross-grain scratches left by the sandpaper.
Cut 6-inch squares of white cotton cloth to use as applicators for pre-stain and later for stain. A coat of pre-stain conditioner will help the wood absorb the stain more evenly. Use scraps of wood to raise doors and cabinets above the surface.
Then, wearing disposable latex gloves, bunch up one of the rag squares you cut and use it to wipe on the conditioner. Let it soak in for about 10 minutes and then wipe off the excess.
Use painter’s tape to mask off areas where the face frame meets the inside of the cabinet.
The longer you let stain soak in, the darker it will get. Apply stain to one surface at a time, wait five minutes or so, then don your gloves and wipe it off with a clean white cotton cloth.
Let the stain dry for at least four hours.
Fold up one of your applicator squares, dip it into the polyurethane, and rub the finish onto the surfaces. Lightly sand with #220 grit. Repeat this process for a total of three or four coats. Sand between coats but not after the final coat.