St. Paul Haus
St. Paul Haus
  • Hometalker
  • Saint Paul, MN

DIY Stickley Mission Finish on Kitchen Cabinets


I knew from day one I wanted quarter-sawn white oak cabinets for my craftsman style kitchen remodel that mimicked the old Stickley mission finishes. I did extensive research on staining white oak and the best techniques to get the unique grain to "pop" that did require expensive equipment or strange chemicals and was actually easy to follow. Check out my DIY Stickley finish.
After
After
Before
Before
kitchen cabinets staining wood, diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting
Lay doors out and coated with distiller water applied with a foam brush to front and back. Let dry at least 4 hrs. Dewhisker doors (sand off fibers that stick up) with 180 grit sanding sponges. Removed all dust with vacuum and a very light wiping with a tack cloth.
kitchen cabinets staining wood, diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting
Mix up a batch of dye. I used TransTint in Brown Mahognany, mixed to the equivalent of 1oz of dye to 2qts of distilled water. I only mixed about 3/4 of a qts worth in an old Tupperware container. Flood wood with the dye mixture using a foam brush. Worked quickly and applied more dye to areas that soak in fast. Blot excess with clean cloths. Allow to dry at least 8 hrs.
kitchen cabinets staining wood, diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting
Lightly sand the entire surface with 320 grit sanding sponge. Remove all dusts with a vacuum and a light swipe with a tack cloth (note I said light). Apply an even coat of General Finishes Seal-a-Cell and let it soak in for a few minutes. Wipe up excess with a clean cloth. I used a foam brush to apply. Let dry for 24 hrs.
kitchen cabinets staining wood, diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting
Scuff sand with 320grit sand paper or sponge as I used. Remove dust. Apply General Finishes Gel Stain (I used Antique Walnut) liberally to the wood making sure to work it into the grain. Let it sit for a few minutes then wipe off excess with clean cloths. Let dry for 24 hrs.
kitchen cabinets staining wood, diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting
Scuff sand with fiber pad and remove dust. Apply General Finishes Arm-R-Seal in satin working with the grain. Allow to dry 24 hrs. Scuff sand with fiber pad and repeat.
kitchen cabinets staining wood, diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting
Apply at least 4 coats for heavy used items. If you are wiping the Arm-r-Seal on you may need to do as many as 10 coats since they will be much thinner coats than brushing.
kitchen cabinets staining wood, diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting
After everything was thoroughly dry (several days) the doors were installed.
kitchen cabinets staining wood, diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting
Aren't they beautiful guys!? Worth all the hard work and inhalation of toxic fumes (maybe).
kitchen cabinets staining wood, diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting
kitchen cabinets staining wood, diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting
kitchen cabinets staining wood, diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting
kitchen cabinets staining wood, diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting

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St. Paul Haus

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • Paula K
    on Aug 15, 2018

    We bought a small townhome. We are older and I have a disability with right shoulder. The home was built in 1960. There was a flood in kitchen, pre purchase. The inside of cabinets smell. The shelves are not removable. We can not get in to this poorly designed corner upper and lower corner cabinets to try to sand the particle board shelves and whatever we would need to do. The base cabinet needs redoing, the hinges and the doors. I am not sure we could do all this alone. We need some suggestions of what we could do? Anybody? I am not sure how I would get an answer if anyone has suggestions? No I would be able to get contacted. I am having bad allergies from these and our carpet. We just need suggestions that old people can do.

    • Gail
      on Jun 15, 2019

      So I am reading all the responses. This was prepurchase damage, so your insurance may not cover but if you bought Policy that covers damage the first year you may be in luck(it has worked for my kids). If you are on your own, then try Council on Aging, Habitat or churches, as people have said, in Texas that works alot. Otherwise, this is a hard project for older people. I know I am older but have done this in my past life. I have right shoulder issues also, It is a alot of down on the floor work, under cabinets in a dark hole so YecK. If none of the above, then take your time and sand the bulges in the particle board, this is hard so you need an electric sander and it will create lots of dust. Pace yourself. Once sanded then use a bleach solution to kill the mold. I agree with the comment that it could be behind the wall and you ought to look before you do too much work. Make sure there is not a leak that will undo all your work. Then if no mold behind wall, I like the Kiltz Mold killing primer. Then paint everything in the interior cabinets white. White is so much easier for seeing in and as we age that matters! You will always have those particle board cabinets and they will always swell if gotten wet. I always line under all my sinks(including bathroom) with a heavy clear plastic ( I buy it at Walmart in the fabric dept, it is sold as a vinyl table cloth cover) I make sure it runs up the back wall and sides. then if you have another leak, it will run out to the floor and you will feel it and know you need to deal with the problem. It's also easier to wipe clean.

      None of this is rocket science, so a good handy person or church youth group should be able to handle it, but as with all work, you need to be on site to watch and guide what you want done, particularly if you are new to the community and don't know the people.

      Best of luck. I am sorry you did not have the best guidance when you purchased the home.

  • Barb C
    on Dec 19, 2018

    Beautiful. Have always loved mission style. Am I understanding correctly, these were new unfinished replacement cabinets?

    • Tammie
      30 minutes ago

      Sally Tucker----we have seen unfinished cabinet doors at Menard's. Have also seen unfinished kitchen cabinets at The Home Depot. Not sure about Lowe's----haven't looked there yet for them.

  • Chris J
    on Dec 19, 2018

    Your kitchen is beautiful!! Did you start off from scratch with untouched cabinet doors? Were they raw wood, or were they the old doors from your old cabinets? If they are old doors, how did you prep them?


    Our house is a Craftsman bungalow style house and I would LOVE to have those kind of cupboards in my kitchen. You did a wonderful job.

    • St. Paul Haus
      on Dec 19, 2018

      Chris,

      These were raw, unfinished wood doors that we ordered from Scherr's. You can achieve the same finish on previously finished oak doors with a bit of work. You would need to completely strip the finish off the doors and start from scratch. I have done this myself on a number of other projects with good results. It is a lot of work, but it can be done with existing doors. Good luck!

Join the conversation

2 of 18 comments
  • Sheila Ryan
    on Jun 17, 2019

    Beautiful! Lots of hard work is right! Wow!

  • Wxw
    on Jun 30, 2019

    Your determination and patience paid off in a BIG way. The cabinets are absolutely beautiful. One reason custom cabinetry is so very costly. Job well done.

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