I am going through the kitchen remodel from hell and know nothing about woodwork. these are the cabinets that we’ve had installed. I can’t stand the crazy patterns/business in the wood. We wanted Victorian inspired cabinets.
What can be done to fix these? I believe they used Honey (maybe Minwax) and sealer. In some places, however, there is not stain or seal and the rough wood is coming through. The carpenter did not finish them – just a general laborer.
first photo is what we have and other two is what we wanted.
It looks like you have somewhat low budget cabinets stained lighter than what you wanted. Did you not see samples of the stain or did you go by its description?
Is someone at fault here rather than you?
Have new cabinets made by someone who knows why you are disappointed with those cabinets .
As wood workers we are picky about grain patterns unless we paint it.
I agree the grain is overpowering - typical of budget cabinetry.
If you want to make these cabinets work, you can:
Have them painted a solid color by a pro. A pro will sand back the existing finish and apply a filler or primer that will conceal the heavy grain pattern (as much as possible) trying to prevent it from telegraphing through the brand new paint.
Apply a tinted polyurethane or tinted lacquer overtop the existing finish. The tint will necessarily have to be darker than what you have now. A darker tint will make the grain less obvious. Hopefully you have some scraps to test the tinted finish on.
Remove the doors and front faces of the drawers and toss them. Paint the cabinet boxes a color you like and then have new doors and drawer faces made. Have them stained and finished to your liking. I've seen combinations of painted cabinets with natural wood doors and drawers that are beautiful.
Looks like what you received was a very open pored wood, the grain suggests oak of some kind. Fixing these to get a different look/color is going to require a great deal of labor. Specifically, the grain in the wood will need to be filled in order to get a dead flat surface. You would use grain filler. Oil based filler or waterbased but there are issues with both. If you plan to stain the cabinets to the color you want, oil based filler won't accept stain very well but waterbased does. Waterbased dries very quickly and if you are not familiar with working with filler, you might be creating more problems than you have right now. Bear in mind, because of the heavy grain of the wood on your cabinets, you're not going to be able to hide it by simply applying a different color stain. Your option if you want to keep these is to fill the wood pores then paint these cabinets.
Yikes! I could skip the coffee walking into that kitchen in the morning. I agree that you will need something akin to paint to cover that figure. If you paid to have these put in and they are not what you want, that is on the seller/installer. If they made a crap decision to have an unskilled laborer finish kitchen cabinets . . . there is so much wrong with that I don't know where to start.
What you wanted was finely made American black cherry with traditional inset doors and drawers with solid wood raised panels. What you got was stained oak (seems) or maybe poplar rails and styles with full-overlay, flat panel doors. The wild figure you dislike is the result of using rotary sawn (maybe exterior grade) plywood. You were envisioning vintage champagne, what you got was Pabst Blue Ribbon (not that there isn’t a time or place for both! Or either!).
If your contractor saw those 2 images in advance you got hosed. Those look like the lowest-end-box store-budget boxes. On top of that you got the absolute center of the veneer log. Yikes! I would not count on the same crew to fix it, if you were indeed shafted (no way to know from here), I hope there is a balance due that you can redirect to the fix.
My fave from the above entries is @mikeinohio's #3. Paint the boxes and get new doors & drawer fronts. With measurements taken off what you have, you could easily source the replacement parts yourself online through one of many sources like http://www.cabparts.com.
Hopefully you have a written contract.
Exactly what does the contract specify as to wood species, design, stain and finish? Did the contractor meet the terms of the contract?
As a 40+ year professional kitchen designer and remodeler I am a loss how this could happen. My clients and I work out all the details ahead of time such as door styles and construction, wood species and stain and finish and it's all specified in the contract. Did you not see samples of the door and wood, stain etc before agreeing to such a project? You posted pictures of cabinets made from a tight grained wood, probably maple, but possibly cherry or Alder and what you seem to have received is cabinets made from red oak and to make matters worse low quality rotary cut veneered plywood not furniture grade sliced veneer. It is this rotary cut plywood veneer that is creating the unnatural grain patterns and the worst of the problems. How do you fix it, well that depends on your contract and how good your lawyer is.
Barring that you don't have many options, you might find a skilled finishing specialist to try to tone down the crazy grain using glazes and other techniques but I would insist on a sample before agreeing to a contract.