The Cabinet Chronicles

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Part of the plan with the kitchen renovation was that I was to keep the old original cabinet, as long as it was stripped down to the wood and then waxed. This sturdy old cabinet echoes the pre-war detail in the rest of the apartment to contrast the minimal new cabinets. And it’s a good, solid cabinet. I believed in my architect’s vision, so I was up to the challenge, even though I’ve never stripped furniture before.

I’ve devoted three weekends to this task, and there is still a long road ahead. Using Rock Miracle, a chemical paint stripper, I was told that paint will come right off with a scraper Not if there are ten layers of paint! Feeling like an archaelogist unearthing different layers of strata, I have found layers of history in the paint – white, off white, black, purple with red trim, tan, and tan. All the layers react differently to the Rock Miracle – the white bubbles, the black flakes, the tans get watery/oily. It is a smelly, messy affair, but quite satisfying.

The active ingredient in Rock Miracle is methylene chloride, scary stuff, so thick non-corrosive gloves, a respirator, goggles, long sleeves, and protective footwear are a must. I’ve even had to buy a natural bristle brush to apply the semi-paste, which has the consistency of rubber cement. Some no brainer things that I’ve learned are:

-have lots of newspapaer on hand to wipe off the gooey scraped paint sludge and cover surfaces. I’m glad I’m doing this now, before all the new stuff gets put in, otherwise it would probably get wrecked.

-after every application of Rock Miracle, rinse the brush, otherwise it carries and respreads the thinned out paint. Always use cold water, rinsing with hot water makes chokingly hazardous vapor.

-timing is essential. Too much time, and the Rock Miracle evaporates. Too little time, and it doesn’t get significantly absorbed into the layers of paint.

It’s slow going and I can only do this on weekends, but I want it to be good, since it will stand out from everything else. In it’s half naked state, it’s already better than the 70 plus years of caked on paint!

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2 Responses to “The Cabinet Chronicles”

  1. Les plans sont arrivee! « The Littlest Kitchen Says:

    […] today. It finally feels real. Not that toiling every waking hour of my weekends to hard labor aka cabinet stripping, does not feel real, only sisyphian at times. Seeing the plans laid out on paper, I can start to […]

  2. sandrar Says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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