How to Update and Refinish Pickled Cabinets

Pickling is a painting or staining process that adds color to wood without heavy use of paint. Once pickled, your cabinets will have a light sheen of color, but the wood grain will still be visible. Depending on the color and method of the pickling job, it may look classic and timeless--or dated. If your cabinets fall into the latter category, you can refinish them to change the color or simply to bring the wood back to its original finish.

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Refinished cabinets look new with a fresh coat of stain.

Step 1

Spray the cabinets with ammonia-based cleaner and wipe them down with a rag to remove grease and grime.

Step 2

Attach medium-grit sandpaper to an electric hand-held sander. Sand the cabinets, moving in the direction of the wood grain. Remove as much of the shiny topcoat that you can with the medium-grit paper.

Step 3

Switch the sandpaper to fine-grit paper. Sand the cabinets again, removing as much color as possible. The cabinets should be smooth and free of color when you have finished sanding.

Step 4

Fold a piece of fine-grit sandpaper in half. Use the folded edge to sand the small crevices and difficult-to-reach portions of the cabinet. Wipe the entire cabinet down with a damp rag to remove the sanding dust.

Step 5

Apply stain to the cabinets with a quality paintbrush. Wipe away the excess stain with a clean rag. Allow the first coat of stain to soak into the wood. Apply a second coat in the same manner. Let the stain dry completely.

Step 6

Dip a quality paintbrush into polyurethane. Apply a thin layer of the polyurethane topcoat to the cabinets. Let the first coat dry to the touch before applying a second coat.