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Pretty sure this is Veneer but wondering thoughts on it.

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Forum topic by bucolic posted 04-29-2019 01:08 PM 1202 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bucolic

11 posts in 147 days


04-29-2019 01:08 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi,
I am trying to decide how to proceed with my old kitchen cabinets and first wanted to verify what the current doors are. They are very plain and not raised panels. I thought at first they were solid wood but on closer inspection, they appear to be veneer.

Just trying to decide if it is worth it to strip them and reuse or just start from scratch. We like the current layout so don’t feel like we need to replace the carcasses but don’t want to put a lot of labor into doors that are not that good quality, to begin with.

Thanks for any help!

-- Brian, Amatuer Woodworker Hack


17 replies so far

View Lazyman's profile (online now)

Lazyman

3883 posts in 1871 days


#1 posted 04-29-2019 01:31 PM

My guess would be they are birch veneer. They would look pretty nice if refinished with a nice warm oil based varnish or shellac. Just be careful not to sand through the veneer. It can happen pretty quickly if you use a any sort of power sander so don’t over do it.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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bucolic

11 posts in 147 days


#2 posted 04-29-2019 02:32 PM



My guess would be they are birch veneer. They would look pretty nice if refinished with a nice warm oil based varnish or shellac. Just be careful not to sand through the veneer. It can happen pretty quickly if you use a any sort of power sander so don t over do it.

- Lazyman

Thanks so much. I was thinking it might be Birch. I’ll have to play with some finishes. Thanks again!

-- Brian, Amatuer Woodworker Hack

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bondogaposis

5522 posts in 2835 days


#3 posted 04-29-2019 03:25 PM

I’m pretty sure that is veneer. The doors may be lumber core and if they are, they are worth salvaging. It depends on the thickness of the veneer and whether you have enough to work with. Do you intend to paint them?

-- Bondo Gaposis

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splintergroup

2831 posts in 1706 days


#4 posted 04-29-2019 04:17 PM

The “wild” grain pattern is a giveaway for being veneer. Also look for the cathedral pattern to repeat itself or changes from flat-sawn to rift-sawn grain patterns.

Construction looks like some type of solid core (probably MDF), framed with hardwood strips then the whole piece is veneered on both sides. Decent construction that will stay flat so reusing them would be a sound economical choice, but the veneer is kinda bland (I’d sand then paint them).

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bucolic

11 posts in 147 days


#5 posted 04-29-2019 05:30 PM


I m pretty sure that is veneer. The doors may be lumber core and if they are, they are worth salvaging. It depends on the thickness of the veneer and whether you have enough to work with. Do you intend to paint them?

- bondogaposis


Thank you for your reply!

I planned on filling the knob holes and then putting a finish of sorts on them (not painting), leaving them knobless as the indents on the top and bottom suggest they were originally without knobs or handles… Would probably add updated self closing hinges and be able to get rid of the clasp in the cabinets also. They are solid and flat. This house was built in 1960 and this appears to be the original kitchen cabinet construction. The stain under the paint was darker on the front than the backside.

-- Brian, Amatuer Woodworker Hack

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bucolic

11 posts in 147 days


#6 posted 04-29-2019 05:32 PM



The “wild” grain pattern is a giveaway for being veneer. Also look for the cathedral pattern to repeat itself or changes from flat-sawn to rift-sawn grain patterns.

Construction looks like some type of solid core (probably MDF), framed with hardwood strips then the whole piece is veneered on both sides. Decent construction that will stay flat so reusing them would be a sound economical choice, but the veneer is kinda bland (I d sand then paint them).

- splintergroup

Thanks so much! I think I will test some finishes on the wood to see if anything catches our eye. Going to be a big job stripping the doors and all the cabinet carcass so want to make sure a tung oil finish or something similar wouldn’t look nice before repainting them. IN the end though paint may be the way to go! Thanks again!

-- Brian, Amatuer Woodworker Hack

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Phil32

598 posts in 387 days


#7 posted 04-29-2019 06:31 PM

One of the considerations for rehabbing kitchen cabinets may be the build-up of cooking grease. Perhaps these have had a finish that prevented the grease from permeating the wood, but I advise you to scrub all surfaces with TSP (trisodium phosphate) before sanding.

Since you are also planning to finish the doors with exposed grain, you might patch the holes with birch veneer rather than filler.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

View DS's profile (online now)

DS

3271 posts in 2904 days


#8 posted 04-29-2019 08:51 PM

As others have said, them be veneers.

Some food for thought;
Cabinet refacers usually buy new doors and veneer over the exterior of the existing cabinets.
A basic raised panel door is roughly $10 to $12 per square foot, depending on your specific area, material and style.
They usually take about two weeks to arrive once your order is placed.

Depending on how much work you’re looking at to strip and refinish those doors, you may find it reasonable to just buy and finish new doors.

Just FWIW.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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LeeRoyMan

251 posts in 211 days


#9 posted 04-29-2019 09:07 PM

Refinish them, and they are still going to look like they’re from the 60’s. In my opinion the amount of work to strip and refinish is a lot harder than cutting new doors and putting an edge on them, and you can pick a nicer wood species of your choice.
1st question would be how many doors are there? If you don’t have a lot, I would just buy ready made doors.
No matter to me, I would rather make new or buy new instead of stripping and refinishing.

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bucolic

11 posts in 147 days


#10 posted 04-30-2019 12:42 PM



One of the considerations for rehabbing kitchen cabinets may be the build-up of cooking grease. Perhaps these have had a finish that prevented the grease from permeating the wood, but I advise you to scrub all surfaces with TSP (trisodium phosphate) before sanding.

Since you are also planning to finish the doors with exposed grain, you might patch the holes with birch veneer rather than filler.

- Phil32

Thanks for the advice!


As others have said, them be veneers.

Some food for thought;
Cabinet refacers usually buy new doors and veneer over the exterior of the existing cabinets.
A basic raised panel door is roughly $10 to $12 per square foot, depending on your specific area, material and style.
They usually take about two weeks to arrive once your order is placed.

Depending on how much work you re looking at to strip and refinish those doors, you may find it reasonable to just buy and finish new doors.

Just FWIW.

- DS

I looked into new doors and drawer fronts and it is reasonable at about $2500 roughly for what I have, and that’s for doors in the $24 a sq ft range and not MDF. Still a thought depending on how the cabinet frames strip off and look. Thanks!


Refinish them, and they are still going to look like they re from the 60 s. In my opinion the amount of work to strip and refinish is a lot harder than cutting new doors and putting an edge on them, and you can pick a nicer wood species of your choice.
1st question would be how many doors are there? If you don t have a lot, I would just buy ready made doors.
No matter to me, I would rather make new or buy new instead of stripping and refinishing.

- LeeRoyMan

Boy, that’s the truth! I am going to refinish a bank of 4 smaller top cabinets and see what it looks like. My wife likes the vintage looks so she may prefer it!

For reference here is a video walkthrough showing the kitchen cabinets and layout. We really like the way the kitchen is laid out so if refinishing them is to the wifes liking I don’t mind the work. Keeps me healthy! Thanks again!

https://youtu.be/wesn-aHwAH0

I also found a pic of what appears the exact design of my cabinets and drawers in the original finish. We would like a less shiny finish, however.

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/0b/17/bf/0b17bf3f586c60fd45b5f9b57ea2ddad.jpg

-- Brian, Amatuer Woodworker Hack

View Underdog's profile

Underdog

1391 posts in 2519 days


#11 posted 04-30-2019 01:14 PM

The face of that door looks like birch, but the solid wood edge looks like beech.

I’m with others on this, I’d rather make or buy new doors.
But if I were to re-use the doors, I’d strip and paint them rather than try to make the veneers look good. If you have small dings or cracks less than 1/16”, you can use wood filler, anything larger, use Bondo and paint over it. Actually if I had a crack larger than 1/16” I’d start over…

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

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WDHLT15

1819 posts in 2960 days


#12 posted 05-01-2019 12:09 PM

Jim is right. The solid wood edge is beech. The prominent medullary rays are distinctive.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln. hamsleyhardwood.com

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bucolic

11 posts in 147 days


#13 posted 05-01-2019 11:55 PM



The face of that door looks like birch, but the solid wood edge looks like beech.

I m with others on this, I d rather make or buy new doors.
But if I were to re-use the doors, I d strip and paint them rather than try to make the veneers look good. If you have small dings or cracks less than 1/16”, you can use wood filler, anything larger, use Bondo and paint over it. Actually if I had a crack larger than 1/16” I d start over…

- Underdog

Well, I came home from work and the wife had stripped some of the cabinet frames. So far the wood appears to be in good shape! Weare going to re-do the one side and see what it looks like with refinished wood. May end up with new doors but are going to take the time to do the one side of cabinets and see what we got.


Jim is right. The solid wood edge is beech. The prominent medullary rays are distinctive.

- WDHLT15

Thanks for confirming!

The cabinet frames appear to be solid wood and not plywood so that is a plus. Here is a couple of pics after most of the paint is stripped but not sanded yet.

-- Brian, Amatuer Woodworker Hack

View JoLe's profile

JoLe

3 posts in 116 days


#14 posted 06-06-2019 08:22 PM

Have really enjoyed all the comments and the pictures and video were great! Doors look like plywood to me, with a skinny piece of hardwood glued to the swing side. LOVE mid-century homes and your kitchen is a classic. If it was me I’d want it to look like it did when it was new. Most people want to update the look though. Either way you’ll almost certainly need new doors. Getting all of the old paint off of base cabinetry is tough enough, and it’s usually cheaper just to buy new doors. DON’T buy them from a refacing company! There are several cabinet door manufactures in the US that will sell to you directly for a fraction of the price. There’s even one on Amazon. Personally I like Kendor Wood, their doors are top notch, reasonably priced, and they are a small family business. I certainly wouldn’t want to sand the paint out of the hand holes, LOL. Good luck!

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bucolic

11 posts in 147 days


#15 posted 06-07-2019 03:23 AM


Have really enjoyed all the comments and the pictures and video were great! Doors look like plywood to me, with a skinny piece of hardwood glued to the swing side. LOVE mid-century homes and your kitchen is a classic. If it was me I d want it to look like it did when it was new. Most people want to update the look though. Either way you ll almost certainly need new doors. Getting all of the old paint off of base cabinetry is tough enough, and it s usually cheaper just to buy new doors. DON T buy them from a refacing company! There are several cabinet door manufactures in the US that will sell to you directly for a fraction of the price. There s even one on Amazon. Personally I like Kendor Wood, their doors are top notch, reasonably priced, and they are a small family business. I certainly wouldn t want to sand the paint out of the hand holes, LOL. Good luck!

- JoLe

Thanks for the comments!
I haven’t updated in a bit as the weather warmed up and attention has moved to outside projects.

I have confirmed the doors are MDF board with a veneer and hardwood frames as some experts here noticed!

We have decided to strip the doors though it is quite a task! We got one section done and like the look. I had some success using a planer on the doors set on about 1/48 of an inch and it removes about 80% of the paint without damaging the veneer. The remainder sands off fairly quickly. I can strip a large door in about an hour using this method. The cabinet frames strip pretty quick with a heat gun and hand scraper as they are solid wood. Not sure what it is but it is very hard. Drilling into them it burns more than drills.

Yes, the hand holes are a pain but I found my Dremel with a wire brush and then small sanding drum does a pretty good job.

I then drilled cups for self-closing hinges and upgraded to those. I decided to go with a Tung Oil Finish product by Formbys. I know it’s not the real deal but it applies pretty easily and the pictures below show about 7 coats of a low gloss with 1 coat of high gloss. We have decided to go with high gloss.

We are just going to look at small sections and knock them off so as to not get overwhelmed.

I have to laugh at the cycle. It was wood, previous owners painted them a couple of times down the line, I am stripping them back to wood, and the next owners will probably paint them! It’s the circle of life lol.

Here are a few pics of the first section we got done. I’ll update as we do more!


Top Cabinets Stripped Before Applying Finish


Showing bottom and top doors striped. One coat of finish has been applied here


7 Coats of Low Gloss with one coat of high gloss

-- Brian, Amatuer Woodworker Hack

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