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Cleaning Custom Oak Cabinets and Drawers.......
Old 02-13-2009, 01:32 PM   #1
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Cleaning Custom Oak Cabinets and Drawers.......

I KNOW we had a small discussion about this last year, but I tried search and couldn't find it.

I have very nice custom oak cabinets and drawers, along with oak trim and chair rails and baseboards throughout the house. After 20 years, some of them are getting beat up, but I may replace those.

The others just need a sprucing up, cleaning off water marks, gunk, etc. They are varnished so I don't want to eat that finish up.

I tried Murphy's oil soap on a small spot, didn't do much at all. Any thoughts? Somwhere I read that regular dishsoap works??

Thanks.......
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Old 02-13-2009, 01:51 PM   #2
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I can highly recommend a product called "Howard Restor-a-finish" (on the right in the picture). You can often find it at antique stores. It makes the imperfections much less visible by tinting the raw wood exposed by the nicks and scratches to more or less match the original finish. It also cleans the finished surface and restores the shine. It does not damage the existing finish. This thing also gets rid of water marks. I did my MIL kitchen cabinets with it and they look almost like new again. She was amazed. This product works best on real wood (plywood doesn't absorb it well) so if your cabinets are solid oak it should work great. I also use on all my antiques.

To cover up small nicks and scratches, I use the product of the left in the picture (Minwax Wood Finish).
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Old 02-13-2009, 01:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIREdreamer View Post
I can highly recommend a product called "Howard Restor-a-finish". You can often find it at antique stores. It makes the scratches much less visible by tinting the raw wood exposed by the nicks and scratches to more or less match the original finish. It also cleans the finished surface and restores the shine. This thing also gets rid of water marks. I did my MIL kitchen cabinets with it and they look almost like new again. She was amazed. This product works best on real wood (plywood doesn't absorb it well) so if your cabinets are solid oak it should work great.
Thanks.........
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Old 02-13-2009, 04:08 PM   #4
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+1 on Restore-a-Finish.
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Old 02-13-2009, 11:36 PM   #5
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I've also used Re-store a finish with good results. I had badly worn kitchen cabinets. May have to use the "wax finish" after applying the Restore. The wax finish is mfg by the same company.

Read the directions on the RE-store can.
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Old 02-14-2009, 10:09 AM   #6
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We explored having our 18-year-old oak cabinets refinished. The furniture specialist said, "Why do you want to refinish those beautiful cabinets? just give them a good cleaning - the finish is dull due to embedded cooking grease and hand grime."

We went over every surface with a paste of baking soda on clean white terry towels, followed by an application of Scott's Liquid Gold. It took a couple of days and lots of elbow grease, but the transformation was amazing.

No doubt, we'll some day have to deal with real estate agents telling us that "buyers expect" 42" to-the-ceiling cabinets, but for us, our 36-inch cabinets are perfectly functional and look great.
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Old 02-14-2009, 10:32 AM   #7
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To clean: Just about anything will work. If it is, indeed, a Varnish finish, then avoid Acetone (Finger nail polish remover, Lacquer Thinner, etc.) unless you do it quite quickly. I would test small areas with Mineral Spirits, Cigarette Lighter Fluid, Goo-Gone, Soap & Water, Simple Green, or any number of other stuff.

After cleaning I would simply apply a coating of Oak Stain (the Gel variety works nicely) and then do one of the following (depending on how "new" you want it to look):

1. Nothing.
2. Apply new coat of Varnish (although I prefer Shellac).
3. (my choice) Apply a coat or two of Furniture Wax (The kind that comes in a can and applied with a cloth)
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Old 02-14-2009, 01:16 PM   #8
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Try Yahoo Answers! Sure you will get some great advice there!
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