Ask the Staff

Question:

I am interested in giving my kitchen cabinets a "facelift." They are old and dingy-looking. I'm not sure what kind of wood they're made of, but they are stained a reddish brown and appear to have a thin coat of a clear finish over them. I would like to avoid stripping and re-staining them; I would simply like to enhance the existing finish and make it look a little richer.

Is this even possible? Any suggestions would be much appreciated.


Answer:

Fortunately, if you are not interested in dramatically changing the existing color of your cabinets, it is possible to refurbish them without stripping them. Briwax is excellent for cleaning and rejuvenating old, dirty, dried-out finishes. It cleans away the dark sticky build-up, covers nicks and scratches, and removes watermarks.

Briwax is a blend of beeswax and carnauba with a toluene solvent; the solvent helps clean and even partially re-amalgamate old lacquer and shellac finishes, while the wax blend dries to a hard, durable film that protects against dust, fingerprints and spills, without ever building up. We carry Briwax in seven colors, plus clear. Apply a thin coating in the appropriate color with a fine white Scotch-Brite pad or 4/0 steel wool, let dry a few minutes, then buff to desired finish with a soft, clean, lint-free cloth, such as our Finishing Cloths . Be sure to use solvent-resistant gloves and adequate ventilation when using Briwax, as the toluene does have an odor to it. If your cabinets are extremely dirty, you may want to clean them first with mineral spirits and 4/0 steel wool; this will save you a little elbow grease when it comes to using the Briwax.

Briwax can also be used on smooth, dry and clean unsealed wooden surfaces. Improved shine and durability can be achieved by first sealing the surface with sanding sealer. Multiple coats will give increased hardness and shine. Before applying Briwax to protect a newly finished surface, be sure to allow the maximum curing time for the finish.

Normal maintenance for a Briwax-ed surface is a wipe with a soft, clean, lint-free cloth. A dulled shine can easily be buffed back without the use of furniture sprays. Should buffing not bring back the luster you once had, just apply some fresh Briwax to renew the finish. A non-abrasive general purpose spray cleaner can also be used to remove surface dirt without damaging the Briwax coating.

Note: Some finishes due to age or quality may not be compatible with Briwax; we recommend you test a small hidden area first.


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