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How to Refinish Cabinets without Sanding them down - Part 2

So last time, I started telling you how I refinished some awesome pantry cabinets that I got from a client. Let’s pick up where I left off.


After you have cleaned your cabinet boxes with Krud Kutter and then used liquid deglosser on them and let them dry, it’s now time to prime them. This step is not one you can skip. Once again, the primer is an integral part of the process in helping the paint to adhere to the cabinets. In my case, since I was painting the cabinets white, it also helped block the orange color from coming through. For this project, I decided to use an oil-based primer even though I am using latex paint. It’s ok to go in this order but according to my trusty salesperson at the paint store, you don’t want to reverse it. So oil before latex and you are in the clear! (I think there might be another saying that sounds like that but I don’t think it has anything to do with paint LOL)

I chose this primer by Zinsser called Bin Primer. This primer has excellent stain cover abilities and also really preps the surface to accept the paint.


The boxes were easy to prime, I used a combination of a brush and small roller. Check out the images below. Excuse the mess!


After I did prime the boxes I realized I had to fill some of the holes. The knotty pine looked great natural but as I primed it, it looked unfinished. So I used some paintable silicone caulk to fill the small holes. I didn’t fill all of them, but just the ones that really bothered me.


I had a fill them a few times and then hit them with a little 220 grit sandpaper. Once all that was done, I was ready to move on to the doors.

I repeated the same cleaning and deglossing process on the doors as I did the cabinet boxes. I ran into one snag when I was removing all of the hardware. The doors had matching wood knobs which I think are charming but I was going for a farmhouse feel so I wanted to replace them with matte black pulls. I looked inside the door for the screw to remove from the back of the knob and there wasn’t one. As it turns out, the knobs were attached with wooden dowels and glued in. It was a little challenging getting them out but they left me with a bigger problem, a ½” diameter problem to be exact.


I was a little stumped. I’ve used putty before but that would be a lot of putty. I asked a cabinet maker that I worked with and he suggested buying a ½” diameter wooden dowel, cutting in into ¾” length piece and gluing them in. Then just using putty over to smooth it out. Brilliant! So that’s what I did.



After that crisis was averted I was back on my way to priming. I followed the same steps for priming the doors as I did the boxes. I just laid them flat on folding tables in my garage to make it easier. I filled any obvious holes after the first coat of primer.


After the priming was done, it was time to paint. I use one paint and only one paint when I am painting cabinets or furniture. It’s Benjamin Moore Advance. A latex paint that performs like an oil-based paint. I love it. Goes on smooth and is super durable. I chose Chantilly Lace because it is my favorite white, clean crisp but not stark.


After the painting was complete I decided to clean and then spray paint all of the hinges matte black to match my new pulls. No need to replace them just a good cleaning and coat of paint was all they needed. I used Krud Kutter and then a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and warm water.


After cleaning them, I spread them out on a plastic drop cloth and sprayed them with Rustoleum Matte back spray paint.


Once they were dry, I took all of the painter's tape off and hung all of the doors. I installed new Matte Black cabinet pulls and this project was a wrap. Check out the results!



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Mohegan Lake, NY 10547 

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