Prepping for a Kitchen Re-Finish

Advice regarding stripping, sanding, and sealing before refinishing with pre-cat lacquer. April 9, 2007

I have a job going right now where we're re-doing a large kitchen. It has all new doors, drawers and panels. The existing maple face frames are 13 years old white lacquered finish. There has been some new work (range hood and arched area over sink) added and it has Benjamin Moore Alkyd Enamel Underbody on it. The ML Campbell rep says to strip or sand all existing finishes.

Does it have to be completely sanded, as in zero finish on it? The system that is going over it is 2 coats Magnaclaw primer, 1 Magnamax color, clear vinyl sealer, alkyd glaze, clear vinyl sealer, and one coat Magnamax finish. Does this sound right? Color is a creamy yellow, glaze is Van Dyke Brown.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor T:
Yes, all gone. You won't be able to get lacquer to behave properly over an enamel - not at least what I'd trust. Anyhow, for safety reasons, I would skip Magnaclaw and use WVP - white vinyl primer. WVP will work just fine under Magnamax. WVP also adheres to just about anything and will help seal off any old enamel residue and other contaminants – it’s very helpful. Two coats of WVP will do fine. You can catalyze the WVP following whatever the can says to do, but I don't bother - I tried it and it does not help the performance.

Second, MLC sells in our area a glaze called "no-vinyl glaze" that is much more user friendly. If you use this glaze, which looks just like the thick goopy junk, only thinner and let it dry according to directions, you can skip the clear vinyl sealer sandwich coat. Just prime, paint, glaze, and clear-coat with Magnamax (dull hopefully)!

From the original questioner:
Thanks Contributor T. We started the cabinet doors today and went over several test pieces that were removed from the kitchen. The existing cabinet finish sanded slightly didn't react at all under the two coats of Magnaclaw. Others were completely sanded off. They were fine also. What kind of reaction should I be looking for? I'm comparing the finish to a Rutt Cabinet door sample, and so far, so good. And yes, it is Magnamax dull.

To date I have been finishing with oil by hand for several cabinet makers and contract jobs of my own (I have a paint crew) but these jobs are getting too large. This one has almost 100 doors total. A friend painter sprays so we went to the ML Campbell class to get a better understanding of the system. I'm not afraid of his spraying abilities; it's just the fear of the unknown. I can't remember what glaze they gave me but I asked for something with a longer working time because of the large panels for the refrigerator and pantry and most wall cabinet doors are 40".

I hate to be the dummy on this forum but I guess I'd be more of one if I didn't ask and just assume. I really appreciate all the help I can get. The clients always trust me that I will do the best finish for them. I can't let them down.

One more question - to what extent do I have to mask off the kitchen and what do I use? It is 11 feet high with a coffered ceiling (beams painted oil).

From contributor W:
Make sure to mask off everything you don't want overspray on or it's going to happen. You make the kitchen like your spray booth - air in and air out. Mask and cover up floors and all.

From contributor M:
Yes, mask off everything and wear a respirator. Put tape over every single electrical outlet on that floor where vapors may travel - one person plugs in a drill or saw and turns it on and kaboom.

The no - vinyl glaze has plenty of open time and it cures slow as heck. Second, as far as a "reaction" with the undercoating, spray a door and wait for 2 years. If it peels or cracks at any point then oops – you’ll have to redo the job or get a bad reputation. Sometimes adhesion problems don't show up for a year or so.