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I have recently purchased a full set of used pickled oak kitchen cabinets. I would like to make them darker with stain. Do I need to strip them down, and if so, with what? I would like to make them a cherry color.
Do you have a picture you could post? Someone told me that is what I have in my house, and I'm not sure I really like it either, lol. I'd just like to see a pic so I can tell if it's the same thing
If you are intending to darken the pickled oak cabinets you will have to strip the old finish off. "Pickling" of wood is done be staining it with a white stain and leaving a fair amount of the white pigment on the surface of the wood.
You will have to remove the old finish and try to open up the grain of the wood. Chemical strippers will get the old finish off, followed by a thorough sanding. Be advised that it is difficult to get a wood that has been stained before to take a darker stain. Try as you may, there is always some residue remaining which hinders the new stain from being fully absorbed.
I appreciate you wanting to remove the pickled look as it is somewhat dated now, having been popular about 15 or 20 years ago.
After re-staining, I would finish the the wood with at least two coats of urethane varnish. A third coat would be a good idea by those areas receiving heavy wear such as in front of the sink.