Sanding Cabinet Doors

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Topic by Sgt_Lobo posted 06-15-2009 08:16 PM 15222 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Sgt_Lobo's profile


2 posts in 3909 days

06-15-2009 08:16 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cabinet sanding kitchen restoring finishing

Hi all,

I haven’t posted here before, but this looks like a great resource for information, so hopefully someone here can help me with a little problem I’m having.

I am trying to decide if I want to re-finish my kitchen cabinets myself. I removed one of the doors and began sanding off the old finish. The wood appears to be red oak and seems to be in decent shape.

I’m using an orbital sander for the majority of the door, but it can only get so much. My question is, what is the best way to sand in the corners and the rounded edges without doing it by hand? I was thinking along the lines of a detail sander or a flap wheel hooked up to my drill? If you all have a better method, I’d appreciate the knowledge.

Here are some pictures of what I have so far…Thanks in advance for the advice.


Cabinet Edge

Cabinet Corners

-- Sgt_Lobo, Soon to be in Denver, CO

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

331 posts in 3911 days

06-15-2009 11:12 PM

I currently lust after the Festool LS 130 linear sander, which seems like it’s made for exactly this purpose.

It oscillates along just one axis, has a bunch of profiles, and blocks from which you can make your own profiles (usually by putting a piece of sandpaper face up on the profile you want to sand).

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/

View thoughtfulconsumer's profile


1 post in 3458 days

06-30-2009 05:48 PM

What you want to use first is hand cabinet scrapers. Stanley makes a set of 3 or 4 different ones in a pack for about $15. I find that the gooseneck scraper and the rectangular scraper work best for me. When the scrapers are right out of the package they will just peel that old finish off,even down into the edges and cracks.And if you are careful with a light touch they won’t scratch the wood. Next on the contours you really have to sand them by hand with those foam sanding sponges,starting with 80 and stopping at 150. I just haven’t had good luck with any sort of detail sander, on those small contours they always seem to leave some sort of trace swirl mark that doesn’t become visible until I put the stain on. So I just go it by hand and be done with it. An alternative way to sand those contours requires a light touch and some money…I recently tried out a Fein Multimaster. It’s expensive but did a nice job. It seems to work with an odd vibration rather than a random orbit pattern.

View 3fingerpat's profile


86 posts in 3792 days

07-02-2009 03:37 AM

I agee with using the cabinet scrapers, but be careful on your panel, since it is plywood, there probably isn’t much wood to work with.

View randal's profile


1 post in 3623 days

07-03-2009 06:52 PM

I agree with thoughtfulconsumer on the scrapers. I would make sure you use a RANDOM ORBITAL sander on the flat surfaces. An orbital sander, vibrator sander, or a drill attachment will leave swirl marks that will show up badly when you finish the wood. I’d also do some hand sanding after the orbital sanding just to ensure it’s free of any cross-grain marks.

View dbray45's profile


158 posts in 1706 days

04-22-2014 05:15 PM

For the corners, I use a very sharp chisel – like a scraper. Cleans things up nice. Card scrapers work really well for paints ans finishes. Old finishes can dull a blade in a few seconds, learn to sharpen them and you will do well.

-- Love woodworking and fixing most anything

View richcollins's profile


4 posts in 1179 days

09-26-2015 06:35 AM

Haha.. you definitely need to use various types of mechanical sander. You much need one that sands corners and edges.

-- http://caldwells.com/ - 2070 Newcomb Avenue, Unit B, San Francisco, CA 94124

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