Home>Discussions>PAINTING & FINISHING>refinish varnished dark kitchen cabinets to lighter shade
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refinish varnished dark kitchen cabinets to lighter shade

we want to lighten the stain on our varnished kitchen cabinets that were installed in 1977. If we do, can the stain on all the windows be left dark? I do not want to redo them if possible.
Is sanding the best option?

Thank you

Re: refinish varnished dark kitchen cabinets to lighter shade


It is really difficult to significantly lighten wood which has been stained dark. It depends somewhat on what kind of finish was used. Some factory finishes were of a one step lacquer in which the color was in the finish, not penetrating deep into the wood. If so, you stand a good chance of getting the wood to lighten. Some dark stains use dyes, in which case you will never get all the color out of the wood.

If the wood is veneered, you are limited on how much you can sand. Veneer is very thin. Chemical strippers would be my choice in any event.

I would take the smallest, less used door to make a test stripping and staining. It will give you a good idea of what you are in for and what kind of results you can expect.

I personally don't care for mixed stain colors in the same area. IMO What really looks bad is if they just look like they were mismatched.

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