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Thread: Finishing sched for painting over old "pickled oak" cabinets to a beige with glaze?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Phoenix, AZ

    Finishing sched for painting over old "pickled oak" cabinets to a beige with glaze?

    I have a rental with old 1993 cabinets with a "pickled oak" finish. Boxes are sound, and I don't want to put the $$ of new cabinets in there, or even new doors--I'd like to try painting over the pickled oak. Intent is to modernize it a bit and make the cabinets look better without much $$ invested.

    Currently I'm seeing that an off-white solid paint, with a dark glaze wiped into the creases, is quite popular.
    I'm almost totally ignorant of what coatings will go over what coatings without problems, need some advice from more expert folks:
    1. I want to do this with minimum labor, so don't want to strip the pickled oak finish--it's down in the pores.
    2. Current cabinet doors are half over-lay, oak frame and panel with flat plywood centers, low end. They're kinda dirty from years of oil build up etc., and probably need some sort of cleaning before being painted?

    My current plan is to wipe the doors with some kind of liquid sander or acetone to clean them, spray some interior opaque gloss on them in an off-white, then make a glaze of dark brown and wipe into corners/surface and wipe off. I tried sanding and applying various dark stains, but nothing is going over that pickled oak that doesn't totally cover it...

    Comments/critiques/ideas welcome! What would you recommend for this? Or am I wasting time and effort with this stuff, is it more cost effective to just slap in new cheap stuff from Lowes?
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Tomball, TX (30 miles NNW Houston)
    Cleaning will be VERY important. Use TSP (Tri Sodium phosphate) to clean and degrease. Use a high quality enamel. Do not even think about using latex wall paint.

    A sprayed seal coat of dewaxed shellac before painting will eliminate most problems you could encounter with cabinets that have had a silicone polish applied to them during the last 18 years.

    Finishing is an 'Art & a Science'. Actually, it is a process. You must understand the properties and tendencies of the finish you are using. You must know the proper steps and techniques, then you must execute them properly.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Dallas, Tx.
    Dave, you need to visit a pro at a real paint store. There is more to glazing, properly, than you think. You need to establish what base coat you'll use with your glaze and then top coat with a flat to low luster finish. You shouldn't use just any paint for glazing and expect a good finish. Spend some time with the pro and you'll be much better off.
    Phil in Big D
    The only difference between a taxidermist and the taxman, is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. Mark Twain

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    N.E. Ohio
    Off book......

    I'm doing some stuff in our kitchen (Cherry cabinets).
    I'm toying with the idea of using poplar instead of cherry.

    I'm about 90% of the way "there" with a dye I made up using instant coffee.
    1 tsp coffee to 1 tsp water makes a thick goo which, when wiped on & rubbed in, gives a brown tone which evens out the uneven colors of the poplar.

    You might want to give that a shot.
    It looks like you've already tried a number of other things, so, what have you got to lose?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    east coast of florida
    I have done a fair amount of painting and have painted quite a few different things and have one important thing to say about your project.

    MAN! Are you in for some work. Are you sure you want to do this? If you want a look that will get by thats one thing but if you want it to look really good that another.

    I am assuming you know it really has to be sprayed to get a perfect look. You could brush some oil and that wouldn't look to bad but getting it even with no brush marks over all the edges you have is going to be hard. thats why I say spray.

    There are good primers on the market that will allow a good bond. I am trying to remember one I used over formica. I am going to ask some one who I think knows the name and will get back to you. It was a self leveling bonding primer and worked unbelievably well and allowed me to paint over formica vanities. In that instance I used a flat latex and covered it with a hard clear coat that made it look satin in the end. It came out great but all those pieces were flat and thats much different than what your doing because I was able to use a high density roller and you can't.

    They don't sell this primer at lowes or HD. Its pretty special and will help eliminate most of your problems because I'm pretty sure it will go over most anything and allow for a multitude of finish coatings.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    SF Bay Area, CA
    I recently revamped our pickled oak kitchen cabinets. However, I was attempting to fix damaged-finish (peeling/worn/water-damaged finish) ones versus redoing the whole kitchen. As Scott, said, clean them well first with TSP to degrease and get general dirt, grime, oils, and foodstuff off of them. I then sanded what I could easily reach to remove the finish and tackled the rest with acetone and a toothbrush and lots of blue shop towel to wipe up. It *is* a lot of work to get to this stage but you'll have relatively fresh wood to work with to apply your finish. The experts have already spoken about that. I simply restained mine to match and then clear-coated with EM6000.

    Be sure to test your finish to see what exactly it is. You may find "cleaning" with acetone will gum up the finish because the acetone is actually removing the current finish. Frankly, I found it easier just to get back to bare wood and go from there but if you are basically painting the cabinets, you might get away with simply cleaning them real well with TSP and then starting from there.
    Wood: a fickle medium....

    Did you know SMC is user supported? Please help.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    east coast of florida

    this is what I used. I highly recommend it. I remember it being self leveling but it doesn't mention it. I do remember it worked really really well. If it will bond to formica I bet it will work great in your application.

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