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line429 12-22-2008 10:58 AM

Alternative to Cabinet Refacing: Can this be done?
My kitchen cabinets are from the mid 80s. The doors and drawer fronts have a strip of oak at the top and bottom of an off-white plastic veneer (I think it's called RTF). Refacing is too much money to spend right now so what I'd like to do instead is replace the plastic veneer with white oak veneer, stain and finish it. It looks like I can chisel off the strips of veneer on the sides but the front of the cabinet looks like it's a part of the particle board behind it, not adheared to the front. Would I be able to dissolve this layer with something like Klean-Strip, or am I stuck trying to mount the veneer over the existing front? My concern with that is it will not stick. Is this at all possible or am I way off?

glennjanie 12-22-2008 11:34 AM

Welcome Line:
Sand the face with 100 grit paper to rough it up, then apply the new veneer.

line429 12-22-2008 01:03 PM

Thanks Glenn, what would you recommend for adhesive? On a different forum someone mentioned gorilla glue...

glennjanie 12-22-2008 02:51 PM

Hello Line:
Yes, Gorilla will work fine, so will Elmer's wood glue and many other brands. Contact cement may be the easiest to work with. Brush the glue on both bonding surfaces and be sure you have it right before you press the veneer in place. Contact cement needs no clamping, the others do.

Jaybird VuCE 12-31-2008 05:04 PM

You can buy some veneers with adhesive already applied, you place the veneer on the edge and heat it to get it to stick.

line429 11-03-2010 11:07 AM

I just want to post an update in case anyone is interested. Unfortunately this project did not work out as originally planned, here's what I ran across:
1. Gorilla Glue Expands, and no matter how much weight i put on top of the veneer to make it set flat, there was invariably some bubbling.
2. Nothing sticks to Melamine. Because of the bubbling I ended up re-doing a handful of doors; the veneer and glue came off fairly easily.
3. The Oak edging at the top and bottom of the doors were not flush with the melamine, so cuts made to the top and bottom edges needed to be absolutely perfect.
Anyway I ended up buying unfinished doors and drawerfronts from an amish company in wisconsin. When I factored in the time I would have spent messing around with veneer it was a very good deal. Well, lesson learned.

carnuck 11-03-2010 10:44 PM

I redid the plastic (yes, you read right) "oak wood grain" cabinet faces in my past '66 mobile home with white/floral floor vinyl that had a similar sized pattern to the inlays, then I outlined it with wood trim that I painted with black vinyl paint (as well as the rest of the doors). Then I used stainless steel applique panels to make the new fridge look like the expensive side by sides.
Real estate agent was very impressed and so were the people that looked at it (third couple bought it because it was bargain at the time and we used the money as a down payment on a house)

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