Repair Cabinet Doors with Cracked Varnish
LESLIE: Rick in North Dakota, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
RICK: On my kitchen cabinets the varnish is starting to get waxy in spots, especially where the drawer pulls are and the door pulls are. And the rest of the varnish is starting to crack a little bit. Is there anything I can do to revive them?
LESLIE: Hmm. Well, are you finding that waxy deposit around the knobs and pulls – does it seem like it’s just, you know, dirt and grease from your hands from usage?
RICK: Somewhat. We’ve tried, you know, Liquid Gold and things like that. Doesn’t seem to do much good.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. So even those orange-based cleansers that are really made to get rid of grease aren’t – isn’t doing a thing?
TOM: Yeah, it sounds like this is more of a heat damage issue.
RICK: Yeah, I think you’re probably right with the heat damage because where we did have the coffee pot it’s probably worse than any other place.
TOM: Well, I think he’s going to have to refinish.
LESLIE: Yeah, I mean are you thinking about taking them to a point where you’re restaining them in sort of a natural finish or do you want to get to a point where you just want to paint them?
RICK: I would like to just strip the varnish off if I could get by with that and just revarnish.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah. You can absolutely do that. There’s a bunch of products on the market that’ll help you strip off the existing finish. First off, you want to make sure that you pull all of those cabinet drawer fronts off; the drawer fronts and the doors themselves. Get them off so you can work on a flat surface. You want to make sure that you keep the hinges on either the door or in the cabinet themselves. This way you’re not trying to reset things later on by adjusting things back and forth. And label everything where it came from; which door came from where and which door front came from where. This way, again, things are going exactly right. Put them on a flat surface.
A good stripper that I like is one called Rock Miracle. It’s a good consistency. You can see it working. It works easily, efficiently. You might have to do it a couple of times but if it’s just a clear varnish it’s probably not going to be that problematic. Follow the directions. Clean it off really well. Go ahead and apply your new varnish and then put it all back together.
RICK: I will do that. Thank you very much. Bye-bye.