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Project Showcase — Past Winners

James and Gladys Feeley Kitchen

James & Gladys Feeley's Refinished Kitchen 

We are pleased to select James and Gladys Feeley for our Wood Finishing Showcase. They transformed their entire kitchen into a beautiful showcase of wood and color... and they got married while working on the project! Congratulations on the new kitchen and the new life together!

Dear Minwax,

This project started with an ugly white-washed kitchen. At first, my goal was to just sand the cabinets a little and paint them an antique white, but after I stripped one of the cabinet doors, I realized that they were a beautiful Maple. I worked at an antique store during my high school years, and I will never paint over beautiful solid wood. So, I began stripping the whole kitchen.

I really didn’t know how much work this would require, but let’s just say that half-way through, I was ready to give up. If it wasn’t for my Fiancé Gladys kicking my butt, and also lending a hand during the staining, I would probably still be working on it. By the end of the project we were married. You could say that Minwax played a part in bringing us together.

We chose Minwax Sedona Red stain color because we wanted a rich Cherry finish look, and Sedona Red was the reddest of all your stains. Although we had to apply three coats to get the desired results, we feel each time we look at the kitchen, it was well worth the time and effort. We are very proud of the outcome, and some of our neighbors cannot believe that we did it ourselves.

My tips for do-it-yourselfers are:
1) The cleaner you strip the wood the easier the rest of the project is. I started with a thick gooey stripper at first, and finished with Minwax Antique Furniture Refinisher and (0000) steel wool. This cleans the remnants of the initial strip, and prepares the wood for staining with minimal sanding needed.
2) When sanding soft woods like Maple, do not use an electric palm sander. I learned the hard way…the first coat of stain revealed lots of electric sanding marks. I had to go back and hand sand many of the doors again. I recommend hand sanding everything. It’s not that difficult if you use Minwax Antique Furniture Refinisher with steel wool to clean the wood first.
3) Of course, even after hand sanding, Maple is still a difficult wood to stain. That’s why, with soft woods, you should use Minwax Pre-stain Wood Conditioner. I didn’t know about it, until my sister’s husband told me about it. He had put new Pine base boards and door moldings in their home, and he used Minwax Pre-stain Wood Conditioner before staining. It softens and hides a lot of the wood’s blemishes and inconsistencies.
4) We finished the project with Minwax Polyurethane. I tried both the brush-on and the wipe-on, and I think both have its strengths. The brush-on was good for the doors when they were laying flat. You could apply it a little thick, and let it dry like that. The wipe-on is good for vertical surfaces when you         want to keep drips to a minimum.

Our next goal is to have granite counter tops installed, but we’re still saving our money for that. I’m refinishing the master bathroom vanity now…exclusively with Minwax products of course.

Very Best Regards,
James & Gladys Feeley
Chula Vista, CA