Disclaimer: we aren't professionals

Thanks for reading our silly little blog! As the disclaimer says, we aren't professionals in either blogging or house stuff, but we try. This is mostly to let our friends and family know what we've destroyed so far in the house. We post irregularly and usually forget to take pictures, so thanks for your patience, and please feel free to comment with your thoughts and suggestions!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Picking a cabinet stain

If we're going to redo the kitchen, we're going to have to put in new cabinets cheaply. Therefore, it is logical to use the stock cabinets available at both Lowe's and Home Depot. They are unfinished oak, and are less than $100 each except for special pieces like drawers and corner cabinets with lazy susans built in. For as small as the kitchen is, and for the price range that this house is in, anything nicer would be improving beyond what is required, and semi-custom or custom pre-finished cabinets plus installation would definitely not be cost-effective.

So, my color scheme is going to be medium brown, red, yellow, and green. Nice and sunshiney and cheerful! I'll post on my design plans later, but for now, I shall explain how I'm trying to pick a cabinet stain and find out how long it should sit.

We picked up an end panel for wall cabinets at Lowe's for $7.00, a 1/2 pint of Minwax wood finish, a super-cheap 2" brush, and some rags.
I should have sanded this before beginning, but didn't. I did draw boxes in sharpie so I could tell exactly which part had stain on for exactly how long. 
First I coated the whole thing:
The top row will be for 1 coat, and the bottom row will get a 2nd coat.

After 5 minutes I wiped the first square off. It was definitely too light. 

I continued at 5 minutes intervals up to 15 minutes, then let it dry. I applied a second coat to the bottom. The bottom's first coat sat for 15 minutes total, and then on the 2nd go around for 5, 10, and 15 minutes as shown. 

The differences are hard to tell here, but if you tilt the panel sideways it's clearer.

I don't like that where two planks are joined, there is a clear line, but maybe sanding will help that. I think that 2 coats are definitely required, probably for 15-20 minutes each. I do like the color; it's not too red, not too dark, and it'll go well with stock countertops. I also like that it shows the wood grain. Although it's not as modern and contemporary as my personal style is, or as the Ikea cabinets I liked are, this color and style is pretty and mostly clean-lined and should work with almost anyone's kitchen style. Ultimately, it's all about the resale value! The time for customization will come later.

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