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Polyurethane Stain old cabinets?

Looking to darken stain color on 15 year old bathroom cabinets that are in good condition. Rather than stripping, buying new, or refacing, might this combo product be a possibiility?

Similarlly, have new shelving unit, with 3 coats of clear poly, that is lighter than aged pine wall behind it. Any thoughts on how to get a better match (built-in look) or do I just wait?

What is general opinion of a poly-stain product...on new wood?

A. Spruce
Re: Polyurethane Stain old cabinets?

I am not a fan of poly/stain blends because most of the color is in the finish, not the wood, which means that any scratches, chips, or damage to the finish results in removing the color as well. A much better way is to stain first, then apply your clear finish.

Other than time and sunlight, I don't know of a means to darken prefinished materials. Wiping stain on won't work because the stain cannot get to the wood to do it's job. A poly/stain might do a little, but as previously mentioned, this is only a topical coloration and without direct contact with bare wood, the stain can't do it's job.

Tip: Stay away from Minwax polyurethane products! They are extremely low quality, hard to work with, and result in poor finish quality. Their stains are great, it's the poly's that are in question. You'll fair much better with McKloskies or General Finishes brands of poly.

Re: Polyurethane Stain old cabinets?

My personal opinion is, if you are going to color wood use a stain or dye if you are going to finish wood use a finish not combos. Surface applied stain/poly combos can start to look bad very quickly because any scratch not only remove the finish it removes the stain. As I said this is just my own personal opinion.

Re: Polyurethane Stain old cabinets?


I do what it is that you desire all the time. Most manufactured furniture these days is colored in this manner... to varying degrees.

The crux of the matter is that the colorants must be applied by spray gun...and then protective clear coats are applied over those. So....if you intend to do this yourself, it will require spray equipment and skill in using it.

The colorants for this will not be found on the big-box or hardware store shelf. They can be mail ordered though.

Also, whether or not this can be done (should be done) is dependant upon what type of finish exists on the cabs now. Most manufactured cabs and furniture of the last 25 years come with a catalyzed finish of some manner. Nothing likes to bond securely to these finishes, including more of the same. If I am asked to recolor and recoat these pieces, I'd advise the client that the work will not come with a warranty as regards peeling or chipping. (Mostly I just refuse because if it does peel...my name is still attached to it and that is not good for my reputation) It is far safer to strip these pieces and start from scratch.

I am not a fan of the colored polyurethane finishes you can buy off the store shelf and don't use them.

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