|base cabinets - photo taken with flash|
|base cabinets - photo taken under the ghastly fluorescent light|
First I removed all the drawers, doors, and hinges. I sanded the fronts of the cabinet boxes by hand, using damp sanding sponges to minimize dust. All the doors and drawers went with me to the basement, where we spent about four hours of quality time with the electric sander. I used 80 grit sandpaper to remove the finish, then 150 grit followed by 220 grit to smooth the surface.
|attendees of Bane's sanding party|
The 220 was probably overkill because no amount of sanding would eliminate the obvious grain. I used wood filler to help level the largest crevices on the cabinet boxes, and primer helped smooth the door and drawer surfaces a bit. But the panels in the center of the doors were beyond help. I would have sanded completely through them before they'd look anything like smooth. The solution was to cover them with a more pleasing texture. I chose beadboard.
Yeah, I know beadboard is typically associated with that palest of decorating themes, cottage style. I have no shame in admitting that I like the look of cottage style even though its white furniture, floral fabrics and soft colors are not at all like my usual decorating style of black velvet, wrought iron and dark colors. But hey, it's my house, and if I want to combine two clashing decorating styles, no one can stop me. Muahahaha! I think "gothic cottage" sounds lovely. ;)
Anyway... I chose beadboard. Instead of purchasing real wood beadboard, I opted for less expensive and easier-to-install beadboard textured wallpaper. I cut the wallpaper to size and glued it to the center panels with wallpaper paste.
|sanded doors with beadboard wallpaper added|
The next step was to prime the cabinet boxes, doors and drawers. To help smooth the surfaces, I applied two coats of primer, sanding lightly between coats. I used grey Glidden Gripper. It has the consistency of glue and dries almost instantaneously, which makes it somewhat difficult to use because you have almost no working time. If you pause for three seconds, the brush practically gets stuck to whatever you're painting. :P But with a heavy dose of Floetrol paint conditioner added, it turns into an excellent primer.
I had just enough primer on hand for one coat. When I went to purchase more, I happened across a can of Gripper in the "oops" paint section for $2 (normal price is $12). Better yet, it had been tinted a dark grey (presumably too dark for the intended purchaser, making it an "oops"), perfect for me to use under black paint. Sweet!
|primer coat one|
Now it was down to the hinges and screws. Their dull goldish color would not look good on the black doors. Out came the black spray paint - magic in a can. There were about 100 tiny screws, and it was quite tedious holding each individual screw so I could spray paint it. Okay, I'm kidding. I did not paint each screw individually. I used a small screwdriver to punch holes in a box and popped the screws into the holes. :)
|screws standing up so I could paint their wee little heads|
I laid the box out with the hinges...
|I wasn't exaggerating when I said there were 100 screws|
And sprayed on the magic.
|later I flipped the hinges so I could spray their backsides|
Then it was time to put it all back together. I added little felt pads to the inside corners of the doors so they will close softly without banging against the cabinet. Still to come: addressing the toekicks, which were shredded when I removed the blue vinyl cove base, and adding hardware.
- Floetrol paint conditioner is awesome. It gives more working time, so I end up with fewer brush marks and a smoother paint job.
- Latex paint is fairly durable for walls, but for cabinets in high-traffic kitchens, you probably want to add a couple coats of polyurethane. I'm skipping the poly for now only because my kitchen is very lightly used.
- In humid climates, surfaces painted with latex paint can sometimes stick to each other (the door sticks to the cabinet). Adding little adhesive felt pads to the doors and drawers will prevent this.
And lesson learned:
- Seal paint cans extra carefully and maybe even weave a little spell to ward off air bubbles.