July 23, 2014 by Sarah
Painting and staining the doors was a massive undertaking. If you recall I was a little apprehensive about starting this part of the project. With more than 30 pieces, it was difficult and slow work. While the upper cabinet doors only required a coat of primer and two of paint (on each sides of course), the lower cabinet doors required much more energy. While this is a step-by-step of what I did, I didn’t go into a ton of detail about the techniques of applying the DIY Stickley Finish so you will have to read else where about that.
I knew from day one I wanted quarter-sawn white oak cabinets for this kitchen and I wanted them in a medium stain color. I did extensive research on staining white oak and the best techniques to get the unique grain to “pop”. I came across an article from Jeff Jewitt that had a finish schedule I felt comfortable doing.
Jeff Jewitt Stickley Finish Schedule Timeline:
- doors were orders, doors arrived, doors sat in boxes for several months, doors were removed from boxes, doors sat in the guest bedroom for an addition couple months, doors were ready for staining. Standard beginning of timeline.
- Lay doors out and coated with distiller water applied with a foam brush to front and back. Let dry at least 4 hrs.
- Dewhisker doors (sand off fibers that stick up) with 180 grit sanding sponges. Removed all dust with vacuum and a very light wiping with a tack cloth.
- Mix up a batch of dye. I used TransTint in Brown Mahognany, mixed to the equivalent of 1oz of dye to 2qts of distilled water. I only mixed about 3/4 of a qts worth in an old Tupperware container.
- Flood wood with the dye mixture using a foam brush. Worked quickly and applied more dye to areas that soak in fast. Blot excess with clean cloths. Allow to dry at least 8 hrs. Flip and apply dye using the same process to the other side. Again allow 8 hours to dry.
- Lightly sand the entire surface with 320 grit sanding sponge. Remove all dusts with a vacuum and a light swipe with a tack cloth (note I said light).
- Apply an even coat of Seal-a-Cell and let it soak in for a few minutes. Wipe up excess with a clean cloth. I used a foam brush to apply. Let dry for 24 hrs. Flip and apply to other side and let dry.
- Scuff sand with 320grit sand paper or sponge as I used. Remove dust.
- Apply gel stain (I used antique walnut) liberally to the wood making sure to work it into the grain. Let it sit for a few minutes then wipe off excess with clean cloths. Let dry for 24 hrs.
- Flip and apply gel stain to the other side, let dry 24 hrs.
- Scuff sand with fiber pad and remove dust.
- Apply Arm-R-Seal working with the grain. Allow to dry 24 hrs.
- Scuff sand with fiber pad and repeat. In researching, I found that most people suggest at least 4 coats for heavy used items since it is a very thin poly. Cabinets can take a beating, I went with the full 4 coats. I chose a satin finish, but you could also do a semi-gloss. If you are wiping the Arm-r-Seal on you may need to do as many as 10 coats since they will be much thinner coats than brushing.
- flip doors and apply 4 coats to the other side waiting 24 hrs between each coat and scuff sanding between as well.
- After everything was thoroughly dry (several days) the doors were installed.
Aren’t they beautiful guys!? Worth all the hard work and inhalation of toxic fumes (maybe). I think I will stick to small finishing projects from now on though!
The doors and drawer fronts went on really easily since they came with the holes bored for the hinges. Adrian drilled the holes for the pulls and knobs. I installed he hardware and hung them.
We even got the door on the panel-ready dishwasher that I insisted on. The doors and the dishwasher itself was sort of a pain to install but it turned out fantastic. I love it so so much. S/O to my husband for spending 45 painstaking minutes to get the dishwasher attached to the cabinets on either side.
If anyone knows me they know I really hate doing dishes by hand…so much so that we probably only did the dishes 4 or 5 times in the past 6 months. No joke. Adrian’s mom came twice to do dishes for us and most of the rest of the time they sat dirty while we used paper plates and plastic forks. Now there is an end to the madness.
As for the rest of the kitchen we still need to:
- Finish painting fridge surround
- Install vent hood and cooktop
- Strip, finish, and install old trim (baseboard, chairrail, windows).
- Paint windows sashes
- Find, cut, and install glass in ceiling height cabinets
- A lot of tile. A lot. Like scary a lot.
- Build, finish, and install radiator shelf (and paint radiator?)
- Build, finish, and install toe kicks and filler strips for the base cabinets
- Finishing touches (window treatments, drawer organizers, decor, etc.)
and for Mud area/entry that is kind of part of the kitchen:
- install cabinets, crown molding, and trim
- paint walls
- build, finish, and install bench and cubbies
- install coat rod and hooks
- rewire electrical outlet
- replace old flooring with tile
i would have loved to start some of these mudroom things but Adrian won’t let me until the real part of the kitchen is farther along. Party pooper.
So what do you think!? Awesome right? At this rate we may finish this thing before the holidays roll around. Just maybe. Anyone else out there try your own DIY Stickley finish? Or am I the only nutso person to try this on a project this big?