A question about how to refinish my cabinets, in a kitten-friendly (low VOC) way? Apologies in advance, as I'm new to furniture / wood stuff and think I'm missing something obvious. Kitten pictures inside.
I have cabinets that previously had a shiny, honey-colored, "builders oak
I was planning to paint them white. But while sanding them, I came to really like the way the wood itself looks while covered in sawdust. The counter is dark green (tunis green? this
), and the grayish wood looked better than any white I've tried. But now I'm not sure how to get that look.
The main priority is that it look somewhat modern, not too yellow-orange or too shiny. Here are a few pictures I like: left half here
, or darker like this
, also okay
, grayish brown
, you get the idea
. Ultimately, this does need to be stain-proof and durable, as this unit will turn into a rental in a few years.
So far, I have removed the doors and hinges, washed everything with TSP equivalent, given everything a quick sanding down with 80-grit, primed most of the doors (oops!), and tested a few whites on the back of a few doors (oops again!). Tips on a healthy way to strip that primer back off would be helpful. The first picture linked above
is not far from how the un-primed stuff looks now, but when I wipe it with a tack cloth, it starts to look yellow-ish again.
To add to the difficulty, I want to go low-VOC on this, as the poor kitten has probably injested
enough wood-related chemicals already. This rules out Dura Supreme, for instance, at 500 g/L.
I tried this Rubio Monocoat
stuff, and it seemed to do very little. My friend pointed out that the grain still seemed to be sealed, and sure enough, when we sanded the heck out of it, the Monocoat had a different effect. But since I was using the white Monocoat stuff, the effect it then had was to make the grain lighter, which isn't my goal. That said, maybe I just need to try a different Monocoat color
(like aqua? top row, second from the left)? But is there an option that would let me avoid 6 more hours of sanding and taking 1/8" off of everything? I feel like I'm missing an obvious, easy solution. Thank you for any advice from me and the kitten