Touching Up Finger-Rubbed Glossy Areas Near Knobs

Quick thoughts on how to correct shiny areas near cabinet door knobs, caused by continual rubbing by fingers in use. July 26, 2010

We have a client that has some cherry kitchen cabinets that have a honey colored finish. They are made by Plato. The actual finish is very flat, and they look great. Where the knobs are, you can see a shininess that surrounds the knobs by maybe three inches from people's hands. Nothing, and I mean nothing, can get this shininess off the doors. Not Murphy's oil soap, Cabinet Magic, or Furniture Cream. Is there anything that anyone has found to either remove the shininess or give the doors a sheen that will cause the shiny areas to blend in better?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor B:
The constant touching around the handle area has a polishing effect. You can dull and blend it in with 0000 steel wool. Just use light even stokes until it matches. Cleaning or polishing it will only increase the shine. One other thing I just thought of, if itís a lacquer finish, a light spray of "No Blush " might return it to the original sheen.

From contributor C:
Contributor B is correct, the finish has been polished. These doors are most likely finished "off the gun" I haven't had much luck blending these spots myself and just price to re-spray all of the affected doors. Steel wool gives a very different appearance then an off the gun finish and you will probably need to wool/wool lube all the doors to get a uniform appearance.

From contributor T:
I have cabinets that have rings round the area of the knobs, where the finish would come in contact with a personís hand. The finish is low gloss (10 degree), non-yellowing conversion varnish. Is there an easy way to touch this up, without having to refinishes all the doors?

From contributor C:
Are these areas polished to a higher gloss then the surrounding finish? Is the original finish off the gun or rubbed down? If the answers are yes, the areas are polished and the original finish is off the gun, you will most likely not be able to touch these areas up and will most likely need to spray the entire door to get a satisfactory result.

From contributor F:
Have you tried cleaning those areas? If not, remove the knobs and clean with a cleaner like Orange Blast full strength on a soft cloth. If the problem is dirt and oils from hands, this may get you where you want to go. If you find the finish to be gummy or comes off with the dirt and oil, it may still be possible to touch up the areas by color application and use of a flat aerosol touch up lacquer.

From contributor N:
If the damaged finish is opaque then it's unlikely you can have much success with an acceptable repair. Color on color doesn't work without a lot of trial and error, touch and go. Even then, it still may look like a Lichtenstein. If it's clear over wood stain, great - you have a shot. Replace the missing color - Blendal Sticks spot-coated with Mohawk's aerosol precat sealer which they don't tell is vinyl sealer and topcoated with Mohawk's aerosol precat in the correct sheen.