Introduction: Out With the Old in With the New -- Kitchen Cabinet Refinish

About: Hi I'm Tyler and I do everything around our home myself. Follow along with me as I make our home a better place!

After finally finishing our kitchen ceiling, used to be drop ceiling with florescents, it is time to move on to refinishing the cabinets. We wanted a fresh new look and the plan to accomplish this; paint over the heavy grain pattern, remove the cross piece that made the cabinets look very busy and add new satin nickel hardware.

Tools I used:


Screw Drivers

Table saw

Drill Press


1/4 Sheet Sander

Nail Gun

Heat Gun

Lots of elbow grease

Step 1: Prep Cabinet Doors for Modification

Removed all cabinet door from their respective frames and numbered so that each door would be replaced to the correct area. Quickly removed all hardware using a drill.

Step 2: Removing Door Panel

To remove the cross piece section I knew I was going to have to remove the thin panel from the door frame. There was no clean way to do this besides literally tearing this panel out so that is what I did!

Used the table saw to cut the back flange off the doors to allow us to remove the panel without cracking the frames. I used a 140 tooth 7 1/4" blade on the table saw partly to reduce tear out but mostly because I was pretty sure that I would hit a nail or two. Am glad I used a cheap blade because in the end that blade was TOASTED, definitely hit a few nails.

Used a super cheap chisel to cut though the small section that the table saw blade couldn't hit, pulled off the flange and tore out the thin panel.

I have been asked why I removed the back panel only to put a new panel it but as I said this was the only way to remove the cross section.

Step 3: Remove Cross Section

Now that the door panel is removed it is time to get rid of the cross section. To do this with minimal damage to the fame I used water and a heat gun to dissolve the glue. Heated each door for 2-3 minutes spraying with water as it evaporated. After heating I lightly tapped with a hammer and the cross pieces came right off!

After the section was removed I used a 1/4 sheet sander to sand off the left over glue on the frame.

A few of the cross pieces needed a little more persuasion causing a little damage to the frames, this was easily fixed using a bit of water putty and reshaping to the design of the frame.

Step 4: Prepping for New Hardware

To accommodate the new hardware pulls we planned on installing I needed to drill and countersink some new holes in the door frames. To make all the holes consistent I made a real quick drill guide jig using some small scraps of plywood.

I first made a shallow hole on the back of the frame, this prevents tear out when I drill the through hole and it gives me a reference for countersinking. I drilled the countersink hole using the drill press but you can easily use a drill.

I then flipped the frame to drill the through holes from the front.

Step 5: Cutting New Panels

To replace the door panels I removed I used 1/2" Oak Plywood. In the USA a 4x8' sheet of this plywood is about $45 and I needed one sheet to replace all the door panels.

Took measurements of all the doors and cut out the panels using the table saw and a homemade panel sled.

Step 6: Adding Bevels to the Door Panels

The 1/2" plywood I used was thicker then the rabbet on the door frame so I added a bevel to the back of the panel to blend it into the frame. One might ask why I didn't use 3/8" cost upwards of $300 a sheet since it is not a regular plywood thickness, that's why!

To cut the bevels I tilted the table saw blade to about 8.5° and ran the panels on all four sides on the back of the panel. (8.5° was a trial and error number that looked right.)

Step 7: Installing New Panels

Installed the new door panels using a small amount of glue in the corners of the frames and 3/4" brad nails.

Step 8: Painting and Installing Hardware

After the doors were all together again it was time to paint and seal them! I first used some caulk to fill around the edges of the beveled door panels, this made the transition from panel to frame even smoother yet.

We painted the cabinets and cabinet doors using a homemade chalk paint. (Instructable to that recipe here). After the paint dried we sealed the paint using Sherwin-Williams Superdeck. The deck sealer gave an excellent finish, not too shiny but very durable...we are ecstatic with the results.

New hardware was added after everything was given ample time to sure.

Step 9: Finished and Enjoy!

What a difference a little paint makes. The final tally for this kitchen cabinet refinish was right about $200 which is fantastic for the difference it made!

Be sure to check out the video to see the refinishing action!

If you have any comments or questions please leave them in the comments and I would be glad to help! If I can do it you can too, I am DIYTyler, you guys have a good one!

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