Make my old cabinets less wood grainy.

Questions & AnswersCategory: Cabinet Finishing and Refinishing QuestionsMake my old cabinets less wood grainy.
Vicki asked 10 years ago

Can I make my 16yr old oak cupboards look less wood grainy? I would like a maple wood finish, I hate the wood grain look.

I would like to refinish my oak stained cupboards and doors to a light maple color and I would like to somehow cover the wood grain up or have less of it. I’ve seen on a HGTV show that they used a gel stain and added mineral spirits to it and it sort of took the wood grain away (after sanding it down). My cabinets are 16yrs old.

1 Answers
Crowder Painting answered.

You have a couple of options that could accomplish what you are after.

1) Use a gel stain like as on the TV show. This will "hide" some of the wood grain. It depends on how many coats of stain you apply. This technique will darken your present cabinet color. Check out <a href="">Restain Cabinets for a New Look</a> for more information about this technique.

2) Use tinted varnish or a stain varnish mix like PolyShades by MinWax. This is similar to using a shading lacquer to change the color of cabinets. The PolyShades will be much easier to use when compared to shading lacquer.

Both options will cover up your wood grain look, at least to a point. As more color is applied to the surface the wood grain will disappear. It can reach a point where your cabinets look more painted (solid color) than stained.


You will need to experiment with these techniques before committing to your entire kitchen. I recommend using the back of a cabinet door or go to your local home improvement center and purchase a door that closely matches your current stain color and wood grain.

It's really the application of the new color that will be the most difficult. Try using both a brush, white china bristle, and a disposable sponge applicator. The sponge applicator is an angled piece of dark sponge attached to a wood dowel. These are available in many widths and they are cheap.