Monday, June 18, 2012

Top Ten Things I Learned While Refinishing Our Kitchen Cabinets

  1.      When you get a burning sensation on your skin, wash it really quickly. If you ignore the pain, you will get a chemical burn. And they can blister. (BTW, pain is a gift from God for the foolish who strip cabinets in shorts and a tank top.)

2. If you live in an old house, you can assume that nothing in your house is standard. It means that hardware is very expensive. I found drawer pulls that would fit our drawers and cabinets. But they cost $400 a piece. Apparently, they were “vintage.” (Vintage is code for it-costs-way-more-money-than-it’s-worth.) We drilled new holes and used wood putty.

3.      “Eyeballing” where you should drill the holes for the new handles doesn’t work. If you don’t want angled handles, use a ruler.

4.      White wood-stain dyes fingernails. I’ve been very hip for weeks now. Not intentionally hip however.

5.      The “helpers” at Home Depot know absolutely nothing about the products that they sell.

6.      Don’t assume that the cabinets are dry. High humidity keeps things wet for a long time.

7.      Remind your kids not to dump laundry on the cabinet doors that are “drying” on top of the washing machine and dryer.

8.      Climbing inside a cupboard while staining the inside leads to volatile chemical brain-fry.

9.      When you talk about stripping, you need to be very specific. People misunderstand. Enough said.

10.  Don’t polyurethane when your dog is shedding. Seriously. Especially if you have a black Lab and your cabinets are white. 


  1. LOL on #9!

    $400 a piece!! A yikes. Pass.

    We're still waiting to get my kitchen walls painted and then I'm doing some new window treatments. Then my kitchen will be DONE. Finally.

  2. Sounds like a lot of work. I was just looking at my cupboards yesterday thinking it was almost time, now I'm thinking we can wait.

  3. Those all sound like very sage pieces of advice!

    As a former Ace hardware store employee, I am always very smug about the fact that WE were expected to know what we were talking about when assisting customers. The "I'm just stocking shelves, this isn't my department" or "Let me go check with Joe in plumbing, he repainted his house once, he might know about this" excuse never cut it for us.

  4. You need to make a youtube video about don'ts. It would be hilarious!

  5. You learn number one in freshman chemistry. And number eight! Gack! That doesn't even require chem. How did you make it this far? :)

  6. LOL@ being mom's first job was at a piano refurbishing company...stripping. She then worked in a university ag a hoe-er. Yeah, she loves telling people that.