How to complete inter-coat sanding steps when painting Cabinet Doors

Sanding between paint of lacquer coats can help insure a great looking finish on your painted or stained kitchen cabinet doors.

Here is a link to a video from the Woodworking Network explaining the proper sanding method between coats. (for more of the Chemcraft finishing videos click here).

We’ve talked about the importance of primer and sanding steps in several prior posts and this video from Chemcraft is another vote about the necessity of these steps.

Here are some additional links covering finishing steps in more detail.

The six rules for painting replacement kitchen cabinet doors

Paint grade cabinet doors: Which woods paint best and which woods to avoid

How to finish paint-grade cabinet doors and get a finish you can be proud of

How to paint unfinished wood and not screw it up + Links to dozens of web posts

How a do-it-yourselfer can stain and finish replacement kitchen cabinet doors

 

Browse our other CabinetDoors.Com Blog posts.

See and price our cabinet door selections on the Cabinetdoors.com manufacturers website.

The six rules for painting replacement kitchen cabinet doors

Here are some tried and true rules of thumb that relate to painting Kitchen Cabinet Doors.

* The first is the “prep-prep-prep” rule. That means that every hour spent preparing the cabinet door for painting saves two hours in repainting.

* The second is the 5-F’s rule. This rule is “Fine Finishers Finish Firewood First”. It simply means that experimenting with your finish on scrap wood can prevent ruining a door with a failed finishing attempt.

* The third is always break all sharp edges with fine sandpaper before painting. Sharp edges will not hold paint and will give the dried paint an unpainted spot to absorb moisture.

* The forth is to keep in mind that all wood types will expand and contract with changes in humidity. The paint will slow these humidity-caused wood movements, but no paint is totally moisture-proof, and paint will not stop the movements. This humidity-movement of wood presents another potential issue for the painted cabinet door. When the paint dries, it will no longer have the elasticity to move with the wood; so it will crack, usually along the glue joints where the Stiles & Rails join.

* The fifth relates to the hardness of the paint-grade wood. The softer the wood, the more easily it will dent, if hit with a pot or frying pan. The dent in the wood may be slight and hardly noticeable, but dried paint doesn’t dent without cracking. The weakest link in any painted cabinet door is not the door. Regardless of the wood type used, the weakest link is always the paint.

* The sixth practice covers the method of application of the paint. The desired look from painting a cabinet door is usually a high gloss finish, similar to the finish on a piano. A finish of this quality will certainly require a highly experienced finishing professional, and a dust-free spray booth. This doesn’t mean you can’t achieve an excellent finish, but it does mean you won’t get this piano-finish with a paint brush in your driveway. To get a professional looking finish you will need to spray-on the paint. Not from a Krylon can, but from an compressed-air, or airless, spray painting system.

Now for the step-by-step process I’ve learned through years of both success and a few failures.

Lets get started by working through the process step-by-step.

Lay the door on a flat surface and lightly sand the door with a flexible-foam sanding sponge (I like the 3M sanding block sponges best) or 220-grit sandpaper. Be sure to sand “with the wood grain” on the front, back, and sides.

Remove any residual grit with a clean cloth (tack cloth is best) or a vacuum.

Next comes what is probably the most important step in the entire process. Sealing and priming the wood.

The priming coat, is also called a sealing coat, or a Sealing indicating coat. These are essentially the same thing. It’s purpose is to seal the wood so that the final paint will adhere evenly and also make it easy to spot uneven areas in the wood while it’s still easy to correct the blemish. Primer can be applied by brush or roller. I like to use a roller for the bigger areas followed by a good quality brush for smoothing and painting the finer details on the cabinet doors. You won’t need the $25 brush but don’t get the $1 brush either. Expect to pay $6-$10 for a good, fine-bristle brush. Try not to get paint all over the brush, dipping only about 1/2″ to 1″ into the paint is best. Also, between coats you can place the brush in a plastic bag to keep it from drying out, and avoid cleaning it until the end of each day.

Any hardware or paint store will have a wide selection of sealer/primer and paint for your doors. Be sure and match the primer with the paint you plan to use. If you are going to use latex (water based) paint, use a latex primer. If using an oil based paint, use an oil based primer. Also try to use a primer with a drying time of 30 minutes or less. White primer works best because it will show the uneven areas of the door better. This allows you to spot (and correct) the areas that need filling before painting.

Once the first coat of primer is dry you will be able to see some small, uneven areas, scratches, or dents in the wood. Now it’s time for the filler. This is the most important step in obtaining that perfect painted finish.

All hardwoods have voids, which cannot be seen until it is primed. I use a filler to fill all of these spots. The two types of filler I’ve used with success are Bondo 907 Glazing and Spot Putty and Elmer’s Wood Filler Max White. The Bondo putty works best, mainly because it is an orange color than makes it easier to see where you have filled. The Elmer’s is white. Fillers must be sanded smooth after drying and then sealed with primer before painting to prevent the color from bleeding through.

After filling, sand the filled areas (use the 3M sponge to keep your fingers from sanding dips in the filled areas), wipe the dust off, and apply one last primer coat.

When the primer has dried, give the doors a light sanding and wipe them clean of any dust. If the final inspection doesn’t show any unfilled scratches or small voids, you are ready to paint.

Now comes the actual painting, which is actually the easiest phase of the project. But without going through the priming-sanding-filling-priming process, there would be little chance of obtaining a truly great painted cabinet door.

Using the same technique you used with the primer–roller for the large areas, and paint brush to smooth and paint the smaller and detailed areas–apply your paint to the doors.

There is no need to sand between paint coats but it is a good idea to insure there is no dried paint on the brush that could work its way into your finish on the following coats.

Although the finish may look good after one coat of paint, two coats are normally applied to assure durability of the finish. Just follow the directions on your paint (and primer) and follow the drying time recommendations.

Here is a link to the CabinetDoors.Com Blog where you will find several other posts on finding, sizing, ordering, painting, and staining Unfinished Replacement Kitchen Cabinet Doors.

Our complete line of Replacement Kitchen Cabinet Doors can be browsed here at CabinetDoors.Com

How to locate sources for Replacement Kitchen Cabinet Doors

July 2014 by Jim Hill

There are two distribution channels for most manufactured products. One is directly from the manufacturer. The other is from the manufacturer, through a distributor, and finally, through a retailer, before reaching the consumer.

Distributors and stocking representatives are simply middlemen who buy directly from manufacturers. They must increase the price to cover their expenses and obtain a desired profit. They then sell to retailers. The retail store again adds his expenses and profit to arrive at the price the retail stores charges the consumer for the item.

In the pre-internet times the middleman assumed the marketing function for the manufacturer. This marketing and sales function being handled by the assorted middlemen allowed the manufacturer to concentrate on engineering and production issues while avoiding the expense of maintaining marketing and sales staffs. But today, the internet has dramatically reduced the costs of marketing and sales to the point where many manufacturers are reconsidering their sales strategies. Every year more manufacturers offer their products to the public through websites, which not only reduces marketing and sales expenses, but also passes significant savings to the consumer.

Before the internet, the only choice a home-owner had to buy cabinet doors was from a retailer like Home Depot, Lowes, or Menards. These big-box stores didn’t actually make the doors they sell, they contracted with manufacturers and middlemen to supply the doors for them.

Also before the internet came into existence, the home-owner or small remodeler would be unlikely to even find a cabinet door manufacturer, so the possibility of buying direct from the manufacturer just didn’t exist.

The internet has broken through that barrier for remodelers, home-owners, and do-it-yourselfers, allowing small users the opportunity to buy direct. A quick Google search for “cabinet doors” returns several sources. The top returns are the big-box stores, Ikea, and Ebay, and other large retail outlets, but following those listings you will start to see some actual manufacturers. While several of the manufacturers sell only to the cabinet trade, some others will sell to the public.

CabinetDoors.Com, a division of The Door Stop is one of those manufacturers that make custom cabinet doors available to everyone.

The Door Stop was the first cabinet door manufacturer to offer cabinet doors and drawer fronts factory-direct on the internet (that’s why our internet division is was able to register the domain name www.cabinetdoors.com).

Our manufacturing efficiency and cost structure has not gone unnoticed by other internet entrepreneurs. Many internet websites offering cabinet doors are actually purchasing our products and simply re-selling them on their websites…with an additional markup as their profit.

The internet is still evolving but it’s impact as of today is clear. Customers now have access to manufactured goods without the requirement of buying those goods from the end-of-the-chain retail store. Like many manufacturers, The Door Stop is offering our products directly to the consumer.

Our internet division, www.cabinetdoors.com, offers far more choices than any retail store can carry and at prices they just cannot march.

How to finish Paint-Grade Cabinet Doors and get a finish you can be proud of.

June 2014 by Jim Hill

So you just received your new Paint-Grade Cabinet Doors and are ready to start painting. Here are a few tips to get an attractive and durable finish on those new doors.

Don’t stress-out about the painting process, even if you are an inexperienced painter.
Painted doors are not like stained doors where a disappointing stained finish can ruin your day. If you don’t like your painted finish just scuff the doors a little by re-sanding and paint them again.

First, unpack the new doors and inspect them front and back for any scratches caused by shifting during shipping. Smooth these scratches with 180-grit sandpaper and brush off the dust with a fine brush. Sand in the direction of the wood grain to avoid making cross-grain scratches on your doors.
The better the prep-sanding the better the painted finish will be so take some time making sure the sanding is as good as you can make it.

Next, lay the cabinet doors flat and either wipe them with a clean cloth or blow them with compressed air to remove the last traces of dust. Laying the doors flat makes paint runs less likely and makes it easier to see your progress from the same angle.

Now the painting process starts. Raw wood needs a primer coat before painting and there are a few primer tips that will be helpful: Always match the primer to the type of paint you plan to use.
If you intend to use water-base (or Latex paint) then use a water base primer and if you are using an oil based paint then use an oil based primer.
In my experience Latex paints have advanced over the past decade to the point where they produce both appearance and dependability equal to their oil based counterparts, especially for indoor applications.
These advancements coupled with the water clean-up and environment-friendly disposal are worth considering when choosing your finishing materials.
While buying your primer and paint, also get a brush or two. You don’t need to buy the $20 super brush, but don’t get the $1 special either. A 2-3″ fine brush should be about $5.
You may also want to buy a small 3-4″ fine roller.

Now for the priming: Lay the doors out flat on some kind of dropcloth. Newspaper works fine for this. It will reduce your anxiety to start with the doors face down. That way you will be finishing the backs first so as you get better at painting your best work will be on the fronts, and your learning experience won’t show.
Use the roller to apply a lite coat of primer to the panel and the inside detail of the stiles and rails. Now use the brush in those deep recesses to get the primer to cover all the machined surfaces. Use the roller again to coat the flat surfaces followed by the brush to give a smooth, even coating. After the primer is dried (follow the drying time instructions on the primer can) sand by hand gently with 220-grit paper, just enough to remove any fibers the primer raised, and to restore the smooth finish. Now turn the door over and repeat on the front.
After the primer is dry and lightly finish sanded, repeat the process with a second coat or primer.

Once the primer is dry you are ready for the paint.
The paint basically follows the same steps as the primer operation. Follow the instructions on your paint can to determine if you should sand between coats or not.
After the paint is dry you are ready to install the hinges.
If you are using hidden hinges, like our Blum Clip-tops, try not to get paint into the 30mm hinge cups. The hinges will be a snug fit into the cups and if you get paint into the holes you may need to sand it out to get the hinges into the cups.

Once you get started you’ll see that the process is really not difficult at all, and you will be able to obtain results that will impress your family and friends.

So, get started and if you haven’t ordered you new Paint Grade cabinet doors yet, now may be the time. Cabinetdoors.com has been manufacturing custom cabinet doors for 34 years and we’ve been offering doors on the internet longer than anyone else in the country. We have shipped hundreds of thousands of doors to every region and our customer reviews are a consistent 4+stars.

If you have any questions just visit our website at www.cabinetdoors.com, our Blog at www.cabinetdoors.com/blog, or call us. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have. We also have extensive posts, advice, and how-to’s on our Facebook page and our Google+ page.

How a do-it-yourselfer can stain and finish replacement kitchen cabinet doors

Jume 2014 by Jim Hill

There are as many ways to apply a finish to cabinet doors as there are custom cabinet shops, but this post will focus on a method of finishing that can be applied by an amateur woodworker with limited staining or finishing skills.

Airless spray guns and $10,000 dustless spray booths and not required for this method. A beautiful and lasting finish can be produced with one $50 visit to Home Depot or Lowes.

The first step is to consider the region where the red oak used in your cabinet doors was grown. Southern Red Oak will have the widest color variations and Northern Red Oak will be the most uniform in color.

Wide variations in color, which is common in Southern Oaks, will be made to appear even wider if finished with light stains of lacquer only. If attempting to make wide color variations seem less pronounced, a darker stain will help.

Less pronounced color variations are found in the growing regions of Northern Red Oak, with the “Wheat Color” of Glacial Northern Red Oak being the most color uniform.
Cabinet Doors made with Glacial Northern Red Oak can be given a light stain, or even no stain and simply finished with polyurethane with excellent results.

Glacial Northern Red Oak is used exclusively by The Door Stop in all our Select Red Oak Cabinet Doors, and this post will focus upon finishing these doors.

Below are examples of a few cabinet door styles made from Glacial Northern Red Oak and stained with differing amounts of Minwax Golden Oak.


The top row of Cabinet Doors are stained with two coats of Minwax Golden Oak. Each coat was allowed to soak-in for 15 minutes than wiped dry with a clean rag. The first coat was allowed to dry for an additional 6-hours then the second coat was applied.
The bottom row of Cabinet Doors were finished exactly like the top row, with the exception of each coat of stain was wiped off after being allowed to soak-in for only 5-minutes.
Golden Oak, like most wood stains, will provide a darker finish if stain is allowed to soak longer before wiping. It will also provide a darker finish when more coats are applied.

It’s very important to not let any stain dry on the surface, and as stain seeps out of the wood, to keep it wiped off.

After 24 hours 2 coats of Minwax Polyurethane (brush on, not spray) was applied following the instructions on the can. In areas of low humidity, the drying time prior to applying the polyurethane can be shortened to as little as 8-hours between coats.

In the sample pictures above the Maverick Cabinet Door is built in Knotty Northern Red Oak (Knotty Oak). All the other doors are shown in Glacial Northern Red Oak (Select Oak).

Minwax Golden Oak Stain is an Oil Based stain that is easy to use and produces exceptional results. It will provide a rich and even finish when used on cabinet doors manufactured with color-matched oak components.

If you are considering Custom Made Cabinet Doors in Oak, you will not find better color matching, higher quality, or better prices than at The Door Stop. We have been offering our products on the internet longer than any other cabinet door manufacturer,

Visit our website at www.cabinetdoors.com and get instant pricing, including shipping costs on any of the hundreds of door styles we make. We are America’s supplier of Custom Cabinet Doors!

How to finish Paint-Grade Cabinet Doors…Like an expert:

Paint Grade Kitchen Cabinet DoorSo you just received your new Paint-Grade Cabinet Doors and are ready to start painting.
Here are a few tips to get an attractive and durable finish on those new doors.

Don’t stress-out about the painting process, even if you are an inexperienced painter.
Painted doors are not like stained doors where a disappointing stained finish can ruin your day. If you don’t like your painted finish just scuff the doors a little by re-sanding and paint them again.

First, unpack the new doors and inspect them front and back for any scratches caused by shifting during shipping. Smooth these scratches with 180-grit sandpaper and brush off the dust with a fine brush. Sand in the direction of the wood grain to avoid making cross-grain scratches on your doors.
The better the prep-sanding the better the painted finish will be so take some time making sure the sanding is as good as you can make it.

Next, lay the cabinet doors flat and either wipe them with a clean cloth or blow them with compressed air to remove the last traces of dust. Laying the doors flat makes paint runs less likely and makes it easier to see your progress from the same angle.

Now the painting process starts.
Raw wood needs a primer coat before painting and there are a few primer tips that will be helpful: Always match the primer to the type of paint you plan to use.
If you intend to use water-base (or Latex paint) then use a water base primer and if you are using an oil based paint then use an oil based primer.
In my experience Latex paints have advanced over the past decade to the point where they produce both appearance and dependability equal to their oil based counterparts, especially for indoor applications.
These advancements coupled with the water clean-up and environment-friendly disposal are worth considering when choosing your finishing materials.
While buying your primer and paint, also get a brush or two. You don’t need to buy the $20 super brush, but don’t get the $1 special either. A 2-3″ fine brush should be about $5.
You may also want to buy a small 3-4″ fine roller.

Now for the priming:
Lay the doors out flat on some kind of dropcloth. Newspaper works fine for this. It will reduce your anxiety to start with the doors face down. That way you will be finishing the backs first so as you get better at painting your best work will be on the fronts, and your learning experience won’t show.
Use the roller to apply a lite coat of primer to the panel and the inside detail of the stiles and rails. Now use the brush in those deep recesses to get the primer to cover all the machined surfaces. Use the roller again to coat the flat surfaces followed by the brush to give a smooth, even coating. After the primer is dried (follow the drying time instructions on the primer can) sand by hand gently with 220-grit paper, just enough to remove any fibers the primer raised, and to restore the smooth finish. Now turn the door over and repeat on the front.
After the primer is dry and lightly finish sanded, repeat the process with a second coat or primer.

Once the primer is dry you are ready for the paint.
The paint basically follows the same steps as the primer operation. Follow the instructions on your paint can to determine if you should sand between coats or not.
After the paint is dry you are ready to install the hinges.
If you are using hidden hinges, like our Blum Clip-tops, try not to get paint into the 30mm hinge cups. The hinges will be a snug fit into the cups and if you get paint into the holes you may need to sand it out to get the hinges into the cups.

Once you get started you’ll see that the process is really not difficult at all, and you will be able to obtain results that will impress your family and friends.

So, get started and if you haven’t ordered you new Paint Grade cabinet doors yet, now may be the time. Cabinetdoors.com has been manufacturing custom cabinet doors for 34 years and we’ve been offering doors on the internet longer than anyone else in the country. We have shipped hundreds of thousands of doors to every region and our customer reviews are a consistent 4+stars.

If you have any questions just visit our website at www.cabinetdoors.com, our Blog at www.cabinetdoors.com/blog, or call us. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have. We also have extensive posts, advice, and how-to’s on our Facebook page and our Google+ page.

New Machinery At The Door Stop

IMG_1036

New Coping Machines

New Coping machinery arrives at The Door Stop

Along with new Triple-head Widebelt Sanders and additional CNC Mitering machinery, The Door Stop has added two additional Cope & Stick Coping Machines.

Accuracy in Coping is essential in hi-quality cabinet door manufacturing. Accurate and tight-tolerance copes make for exceptionally tight joints and are necessary for the widebelt sanding operations that follow. Without highly accurate copes the sanding operations will remove unequal amounts of material across the face of the door, not allowing the successively finer widebely grits to completely remove the scratch pattern left by the prior sanding belt.
Continue reading

Triple-head Widebelt Sanders

IMG_1001

New Triple-head widebelt sanders


IMG_1013 Our old widebelt sanders are being sold to smaller cabinet door manufacturers around the country.

Every few years the manufacturers of sanding equipment make major improvements in the Widebelt Sanders. These new sanders are Triple-head, 43-inch wide unite with computer control of the wood removal and built-in dial indicators to allow for sanding-thickness tolerances of a few thousandths of an inch.
The Panel Sanding has a 43-inch helical-head knife planer to clean the glued-up panels followed by two additional sanding heads. Continue reading

How To Recognize Real Quality

Cabinet Door Assembly LineThe demand for new cabinets in new housing and remodeling is addressed by two very different manufacturing approaches.

One approach is to optimize manufacturing efficiency by limiting the sizes manufactured and maximizing employee productivity. This approach is referred to as “Modular Cabinets”.

The Modular Cabinet manufacturer usually makes the cabinet boxes with widths starting at six-inches and increasing in two-inch steps. This maximizes employee productivity by manufacturing one cabinet box size one shift and another size the next shift.

While working on an assembly line making 10,000 of the same thing might not be the most challenging or rewarding of jobs, productivity certainly increases and labor costs are reduced.

The modular manufacturer simply adjusts his schedule to maintain a readily available inventory of cabinet boxes in his warehouse.

Modular Cabinet Manufacturers usually offer a selection of cabinet doors to give the finished Modular Cabinet a more “Custom” look.

Entry-level home builders typically install Modular Cabinets. These cabinets are also stocked and sold by all the Big Box Stores across the country.

For the past several years, Modular Cabinet manufacturing has been moving to Asia, with China becoming the largest manufacturer. American manufacturers have been finding it impossible to compete with the lower labor and regulatory costs found on the far east.

The second approach to manufacturing cabinets is referred to as “Custom Cabinet Manufacturing”.

Unlike Modular Cabinets coming in 2-inch increments, Custom Cabinets are manufactured to the actual size needed.

Also unlike Modular Cabinets, Custom Cabinets are made in the United States by thousands of Custom Cabinet Shops. These shops typically have between ten and fifty employees who design and build each cabinet to the exact size requested in the design plans. If the architect requires cabinets in 1/16″ increments, that’s what the Custom Cabinet Maker builds. Cabinet Makers in Custom Cabinet Shops tend to be highly skilled, and well paid, professionals with years of experience mastering their profession. These Cabinet Makers are not tied to an individual workbench, but tend to move between many skilled positions within the manufacturing process. The Custom Cabinet Shop uses a creative approach which utilizes the skills and experience if the Cabinet Maker, as opposed to an assembly line which stresses repetitive action to compensate for the lack of motivation and inexperience of the minimum-wage workforce.

Most high-end Home Builders and Furniture manufacturers utilize Custom Cabinet Makers because of the large difference in overall quality of the cabinets.

The quality differences are usually visible and include differences in workmanship, wood grain and color matching, sanding and finish quality, overall appearance, and reliability.

Custom Cabinet Makers purchase woods harvested in the United States, and almost 100% of American woods are grown and harvested using sustainable processes.

This is not usually the case with woods harvested in Asia or South America.

Another major difference between Modular and Custom Cabinets is with the Cabinet Doors installed on the cabinets.

Modular Cabinets from Asia have doors made in Asia. These doors should be expected to show the same levels of quality as the cabinets.

Modular Cabinet Door quality levels are generally lower, sanding and finishing are less stringent, an unskilled or under-aged workforce is commonly recruited, and no importance is given to the sustainability of the woods used or the harvesting methods.

American Custom Cabinet Shops, on the other hand, typically purchase cabinet doors from a few large cabinet door manufacturers, or the hundreds of smaller manufacturers.

These dedicated Custom Cabinet Door Manufacturers will offer from dozens to thousands of cabinet door styles built in every sustainable wood type that grows in the United States or Canada.

Major Cabinet Door Manufacturers are producing thousands of doors per shift using skilled labor and most use computerized machinery to guarantee accuracies modular manufacturers simply cannot match. Modern American door manufacturers will measure door size tolerances with accuracies within 15-thousandths of an inch. Door thickness will be uniform across the door within 5-thousandths of an inch, and sanding quality is considered by cabinet makers to be “stain ready”.

In summary, the differences between Custom and Modular Cabinets are visible in appearance, obvious in quality, and the difference in expected lifetime is triple, with Custom Cabinets often being kept in the home and simply refinished after generations of useful service.

Return to the Cabinetdoors.com/blog

Visit our cabinetdoors.com website

Moulder Knife Marks Per Inch

Proper Moulder operationImproperly set moulder feed rates can cause a Washboard finish that is often invisible until stain is applied.

Here is a table published by Wisconsin Knife Works, Inc. summarizing the results of their study on the number of knife marks per inch required to produce a stain-ready finish on various wood types.
This table shows the Knife Marks per Inch ranges generally recommended for wood species commonly used in manufacturing Cabinet Doors. Continue reading