Message from the Universe

I have received the second message from the Universe.  I presume it is from the Universe as the first message that I received, as I remember it, said in a man's voice "The Universe loves you."  A surprisingly uplifting message.

On Sunday, I had a missed call to voice mail.  Two simple words from a female voice--said so strongly and quickly that I had to listen to it a couple of times to be sure of it:  "Be now".

That, too, was a comforting thought as I was stripping away 48 years of varnish from the cherry cabinets at my SR project. Rather than curse under my breath about having to undertake this hateful task, I elected to "Be Now" (rather than "be bitchey") and marvel at the beauty of the wood after scraping off the ribbon of varnish pudding with my plastic scraper.

This task is a dreaded but necessary one that I thought I could avoid by simply cleaning the cabinets and the door hardware.  Here is a picture of a demounted cabinet face.  I chose this one because it represents the dilemma of having crustaceous hardware and a recalcitrant finish that resisted cleaning.

I had the big idea of removing the handles.  Let's take a close up. . .

This was NOT cleaning up very well.As you can see, 44 years of kitchen grime has chemically bonded with the finish.   The hardware is the ubiquitous "Colonial" style in solid copper.  Unlike contemporary hardware, this hardware was not coated individually.  Rather, the hardware was afixed to the cabinets and then the entire unit was finished--a simple, but depressing fact that I discovered after I thought I could remove the hardware and clean it.

So cleaning morphed into stripping the cabinets.  Though I was reluctant to tackle this project, hoping that I really could just clean these cabinets, after pulling off the icky finish and seeing the beautiful wood underneath, , I know that this is the right thing to do.

I've gone through a first strip of most of the cabinets.  The drawer faces were easy.  The doors had some unevenness relative to the quality of the first strip. I'm using Kleen Strip (K-3), but I also tested the JASCO.  I found the JASCO consistency very 'lumpy' to the point of "rubber cement" rubbery/sticky.  The Kleen Strip did not have this issue.  So far, I like the performance of the Kleen Strip far an above over the JASCO.

I will perform another strip this weekend, and ensure that all of the residue is off the cabinets.  I plan to remove the hardware stains, and I'm hoping that oxalic acid will do this for me without th need for my sanding.  The stripper has NOT raised the grain in these cabinets.  I'm planning to finish these with Waterlox.

It has been been many years since I've undertaken a stripping project--and certainly not one on this scale.  I hope that my confidence is not misplaced--and that I will end up with a cabinets that are both useful and durable to the next owner.  I will also have a chance to upgrade the hardware, and that will change the tone of this kitchen.

Here is a before picture (but after the installation of granite and the backsplash and the installation of the floor):

A kitchen island, which is not in my scope of work, would offer some additional flexibility and storage.  I could see an addition in the home's future that would offer a more spacious kitchen.  However, in the current confines of the existing floor plan (and it is quite a nice floor plan), this kitchen will be very serviceable to the new owners.


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