I've done a few DIY projects, including painting our kitchen oak cabinets using brushing putty as the primer (followed John Dee's excellent tutorial on TOH). However, I've decided to stain the oak cabinets in our master bathroom and I haven't been able to find thorough instructions on stain prep, technique, etc. I'm hoping to get some good advice on this forum.
Here's a few specifications with regards to the cabinets:
1. As mentioned before, the cabinets are Oak and in almost new condition. There's a very light varnish on the wood, which can easily be lightly sanded off so this isn't a problem. Is 100 grit sandpaper sufficient for this?
2. I'm looking to do a very dark stain, like an espresso black so any brand/color(?) recommendations would be great. Should I go with an oil-based or water-based stain?
3. Do I need to apply any sort of conditioner to the wood before staining? Should I use a brush or a staining rag? If a brush is better, do I need to get a specific kind?
4. How long do I let the stain sit post-application, before wiping the excess off?
5. What should I use to seal the stained surface? Varnish or polyurethane? I've heard polyurethane is better? If that's the case, which brand should I go with, and what type of brush should I use for the application?
Thanks in advance for any help that is provided.