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Kitchen Cabinets Won’t Absorb a Wood Stain

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Kathy in Minnesota on the line who is doing a kitchen-revamping project. Tell us what’s going on.

    KATHY: These cupboards are varnished and they had hinges on that were on the outside, so they’re kind of like the barn-look (ph) hinge and also the handles, the ends that were anchored. When we take those off, the wood under there is much, much lighter.

    TOM: Right. Mm-hmm.

    KATHY: And so we stripped the door completely and sanded it to be ready to take on a new stain. And those areas do not absorb the stain.

    TOM: Yeah, they probably have some sort of a sealer or something that got under that. After you sanded it, did you use a sanding sealer on the whole surface?

    KATHY: I did not. In my experience, I’d always put the stain on first and then use a …

    TOM: Well, it’s not a sealer at that point; it’s a finish.

    But one thing I’m thinking they could have helped, Leslie – and you tell me what you think – is that if she used a sanding sealer, she may have improved the absorption rate of all the wood so that it was maybe a little evener, a little more uniform. So that it would have all soaked in at about the same level.

    Can you get any stain to take in those areas? Even if you take dark stain and put it on with a small paintbrush? Or will nothing stick to that?

    KATHY: No.

    TOM: Well, all I can say is that something is applied there that’s sealing the wood and unless you can get it to absorb, it’s going to be a problem. Those old hinges, they didn’t look so bad after all, did they?

    KATHY: I kind of get that feeling.

    TOM: Yeah. Yeah. If you’ve already sanded it down and you still can’t get the stain to absorb, there’s probably nothing that you’re going to do that’s going to change that.

    Listen, the other thing that you could do is paint the doors. I mean there’s a lot of painted cabinets today; they look pretty nice.

    KATHY: Yes. Yes. And we’re looking at other options but wanted to be sure that we really had to go that route.

    TOM: As long as you sanded it thoroughly and you still can’t get it to absorb, then I say that you’ve done all that you can do at this point, Kathy.

    KATHY: OK. Alright. Well, I appreciate your taking my call.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project.

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