We chose to resurface the cupboards instead of refinish them. Resurfacing means to sand the existing finish and apply a new coat of stain. Refinishing means to sands down to the original wood with a heavy sand paper. The purpose of refinishing is to remove all deep nicks, scrapes, scratches, stains, etc. Our cupboards were in pretty good condition, so we chose to go the easy route of resurfacing. We will have to refinish the floor when we get to that part.
We started with the cupboards first. It was the easiest thing to get out of the way. To start with this HUGE task, remove all the cupboard doors from the cupboards. Find a place where you can lay them all out horizontally.
This project becomes quite the mess, especially when you kick up so all the dust and there are cupboards scattered all over the place.
Next, assemble your supplies and tools. For tools you will need a couple sponge brushes, a sander, lots of sandpaper, stain, and polyurethane, and your hands.
For the stain color, we wanted to match the golden oak color of our cupboards that we had before. It is not our most favorite color of stain, but we have it everywhere in our house so we chose to embrace it. To achieve this color, my husband has perfected a mixture of 2 parts of Golden Oak stain to 1 part Date Walnut stain. The result is a very similar color to the original, but with more of a darker red hue to it.
We REALLY like this 3M Sandblaster sandpaper. It is more expensive then your average sandpaper, but it last so much longer. It is totally worth the extra cents you pay for it. Get it in the 220 fine grit. Again, we use the 220 fine grit because we are just resurfacing the cupboards. We just need to remove the top polyurethane coat.
Here is where the fun begins! Actually it can be fun at first, but after a while it gets boring. We were luck to have our awesome friend Justin come over help out with the project. I think it was his first time resurfacing, but he picked it up like a pro. Now he has some mad resurfacing skillz. With his help we were able to finish most of the cupboards in six hours. Thanks for your help Justin!
To begin sanding, sand the wood in the direction the grain is running. (That means, the way the lines run in the wood.) Just sand so that the gloss sheen is not visible. Do not try to sand down to where the wood is it's natural color. If you do that you will be wasting a lot of time and you risk that you color becoming uneven. After sanding with the sandpaper, you can choose to sand with a steal wool. It is really up to you. If the wood feels rough to the touch, I would use the steal wool to smooth it out.
After all the sanding is finished, dust all the wood. We use a rag with some bamboo oil on it. You do not want to use water on a rag, it will raise the grain of the wood and make it a little rough to the touch.
The next step, is by far the most fun part: Painting on the stain. GLOVE UP! I mean it, this stuff will stain your hands for days! And if the thought of brown fingers aren't very appetizing, I suggest buying a box of latex gloves. For staining, we like to use the sponge brushes that you can pick up pretty cheap at any hardware store. I think my Mom prefers to use rags though. Whatever one you prefer. The brushes keep our hands a little cleaner, so I think that is why we have always used them.
Apply the stain with even pressure to one side of the cupboard. Don't attempt to do both sides at once, it will just not work. If you see drips, wipe them up right away. Try to keep the color consistent on the entire cupboard. Once finished, let it dry for 24 hours. Do not let anything touch it or you might mess up the consistency of the stain. The next day, flip the cupboards and stain the other side.
After all the staining has been applied and you have waited 24 hours, it is time to apply a polyurethane coat to the cupboards. This gives the wood that nice glossy, new look. Really any polyurethane will work, but ask a local hardware person what they recommend.
And here is the result.
Notice the glossy look of the cupboards. The color is slightly richer and just looks more vibrant. Now all we have left is to get our counter tops installed, back splash installed, and the floor refinished! We are getting so close!!!