Category Archives: Cabinets

How to Stain Unfinished Oak Cabinets

Tools Needed:

  • Minwax Wood Finish
  • Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane
  • Natural bristle brush
  • Drop cloth
  • Disposable gloves
  • Dish pan

Unfinished oak cabinets before staining

I spend a lot of time in my garage workshop, and I also spend a lot of my time looking for bargains, so when these unfinished oak cabinets went on sale, I bought them to go with some cherry cabinets left from our recent kitchen remodeling.

1. Apply wood stain to the surface
Preparing to apply Minwax wood finish to oak cabinets

While I knew from experience that I could never make my oak and cherry cabinets look identical, as they have totally different grain lines, I also knew that the right Minwax Wood Finish, such as Red Chestnut, would come close. And to make sure that it wouldn’t ruin my floor if I accidentally knocked over my can of stain, I placed my can of stain in an old plastic dish pan.

Using foam brush to apply cabinet stain

2. Remove excess stain

Brushing stain on a vertical surface can be messy, which is why I also used a drop cloth — and wore disposable gloves — but ….

Removing excess stain will reveal the finished look of the cabinets

… when I wiped off the excess stain a few minutes later, the color really brought out the beauty of the oak grain.

3. Apply a clear, protective finish

Apply a coat of fast-drying polyurethane to seal in cabinet stain

Stain provides color, but not the protection these garage cabinets would need, so I reached for a trusted finish:  Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane. Two coats brushed on with a natural bristle brush gave both my stain and the wood itself the protection they need.

How the Finished Cabinets Look After Staining

And while the oak cabinets still look a little different than the cherry cabinets, the combination of Minwax Wood Finish stain and Fast-Drying Polyurethane made me happy — and the cabinets take away any excuse I might have had for not keeping my workshop organized.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!


Making Those Missing Shelves

You may recall that I recently transformed a discarded 1990s microwave cart into this rolling serving center. However, each time I looked at the inside of the doors all I could see was the opportunity to add a pair of shelves to them.

So, I picked up some half-inch thick oak boards from my local home improvement center, then cut them to fit the inside of each door.

These thin boards were easy to glue and nail together, but I was left with some unsightly nail holes. To fill them, I squeezed in a small amount of Minwax® Stainable Wood Filler, which I sanded smooth as soon as it dried.

To match the rest of the serving center, I left the oak boards natural, but sealed and protected them using Minwax® Clear Aerosol Lacquer.

The lacquer dried quickly and it was easy to attach my shelves to the inside of the doors with small L-brackets positioned under each of the two shelves. Now when I open the doors, I no longer see a missed opportunity!

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!


A Rolling Holiday Serving Cart

The holidays are always a time for parties, so when I took a closer look at this 1990s rolling microwave cart Leigh Ann had been using to pot plants in our garage, I got an idea.

All it had was a thin natural finish over the birch boards, so a light sanding with #150-grit sandpaper quickly removed it, along with the unsightly water marks.

Inside the cabinet was a single shelf and an open storage area, which I decided to use for a wine rack. Needing just four boards, it was easy to cut and nail together.

Under the shelf, I wanted to hang glasses. Using some scrap wood, I made some simple glass racks.

Birch boards always look great when kept natural, so I knew this was an ideal project to finish with four coats of Minwax® Clear Aerosol Lacquer. Note: see how I have my garage door open for ventilation? You can see, too, how the Aerosol Lacquer brings out the natural rich color of the wood.

Remember those dated round, white porcelain knobs? I replaced them with a more contemporary pair of square knobs.

When I was done, the rolling cart looked like this when closed….

And like this when open. The white center section is the original formica, after I scrubbed off the dirt from Leigh Ann’s potting projects. And in case you want a closer look at the interior….

Here it is.

So, the next time you are out hitting the thrift shops, keep an eye out for an out-dated kitchen cart you can easily transform into a contemporary serving cart.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!


Make a Rolling Finishing Cart for Your Workshop

After one of my recent television appearances, I was left with this cute oak nightstand that had been my prop. The truth be told, it had suffered through several cross-country trips and was ready to be retired, but we really did not have a place for it in our house. After a recent staining and finishing project, during which I seemed to be running all over my workshop looking for brushes, openers, stirring sticks, and rags, I came up with an idea.

Why not turn it into a one-stop staining and finishing supply cabinet?

And to make it even handier in my crowded garage-workshop, I first attached inexpensive castors to the bottom of the frame so that I could roll it wherever I was doing my staining and finishing.

I also found a plastic desk drawer organizer I wasn’t using that fit inside the top drawer, so that I could organize and keep separate my cotton swabs, sea sponge, openers, blue gloves, foam brushes, artist brushes, masking tape, and stirring sticks. In the lower drawers I put larger items, such as a roll of paper towels, an assortment of brushes, and a dropcloth.

Now when I’m ready to stain or finish a project, I simply roll my supplies cart over to where I need it, set my can on the top (or even the actual project, if it’s small), and take out whatever I need from the drawers. It has already saved me many, many steps — and lots of frustration!

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!