I read your article in the April 2010 [print] edition of Woodworkers Journal where you added a veneer to an old cabinet. I have a question for you. We have some kitchen cabinets that are 1970’s vintage, and they are particle board-covered with some type of veneer that gives them a “walnut” type look. The cabinets are in very good shape, we just don’t like the look. I was wondering if you had ever refaced cabinets like this? Is it a good idea to take on this or just replace the cabinets? I keep looking at putting all of this in a landfill and it just seems such a waste! – Bill Sostrich
Tim Inman:Refacing, or resurfacing, kitchen cabinets like this can definitely be done. In fact, it is a major part of some cabinet shops’ business.
There are a couple of common-sense precautions you should take. First, be sure the surfaces are clean, dry and grease-/oil-free before you attempt to bond anything to them. Second, remember Rule Number One in Veneering: The grains must not run parallel between two adjoining layers – ever! In other words, you don’t want to lay a long grain veneer over a long grain cabinet part. If you do, I’ll guarantee a “glue” failure sooner or later. The solution is easy: add a “crossbanding'”layer under your new face veneer to fix the problem. This is super easy to do, if you just buy veneer that is already ‘”two-ply” with the crossbanding factory installed for you. Presto! No worries.