Glaze Over A Stain Finish- Brentwood, CA

This desk and file cabinet set was done for Heritage Cabinets.

Wood- alder

Finish- sealer and a coat of stain (brushed on), then another coat of sealer followed up by a coat of glaze

(raw umber and van dyke brown) and 3 coats of pre-catalyzed lacquer.

Stained & Glazed Finish

Alder Wood Cabinets

Matt with Steve from Mercer Woodworks

Matt from Heritage Cabinets

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Paint Contractor’s Manual

40,00 copies sold

The inspiration for Paint Contractor’s Manual came about when I started looking for a book on painting and could not find one. Not in Trade Schools, union apprentice programs or bookstores. I did find a book in the library but it dated back to 1945.

Written by my partner and I Paint Contractor’s Manual is now in its 8th printing with almost 40,000 copies sold. First published in 1985 it is now available world wide. I just googled Paint Contractor’s Manual and 271,000 entries came up (It’s even available in India).

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Troubleshooting Unknown Painter’s Work

Hi Jody,

It was nice talking to you last Tuesday.  Thank you for giving us your professional opinion on what to do with our cabinets that were painted and then just 1 month after cracked.

I have attached some pictures of our cabinets that were painted in July.  The first picture is the way the original cabinets looked before the painter said he could paint them and they would look perfect without cracking or peeling.

The second picture is after he painted them.

The next picture shows the cracking that took place shortly after on all of the cabinets.  Even the cabinet pieces that don’t move cracked.

Finally, the last picture shows the cracking after the painter attempted to fix the cabinets.  This happened just two weeks after his attempt to fix them.

1.       What are your professional suggestions for fixing these (i.e. what would you best recommend we do to fix these cabinets, how would you fix them)?

2.       Would you recommend that we need to reface them?

Please reply at your earliest convenience.

Thank you,


My Reply:


It appears that your painter caulked the cabinets

prior to painting them. Caulking is not compatible

with nitrocellulose lacquer. The solvents in the

lacquer heat-up and eat into the surface of the

caulking. This causes the lacquer to not adhere

to the caulking, thus, you get the cracking and


For confirmation you can call this #. It’s the Help Line

for Dap- the #1 manufacturer of caulking in the U.S.

Ask the Expert

If you need assistance, please call the DAP TIPS Help Line at 1-888-327-8477 Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM EST and Saturday-Sunday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM EST.

Refacing with new doors will work if you go with plywood veneer or hardwood strips

over the cabinet stiles and rails (door frames ). Avoid the pre-glued paper thin

veneer strips- they look second rate and have the potential to peel.

Refinishing solution:

1.- strip off the existing finish.

2.- prep and sand.

3.- apply vinyl undercoater.

4.- sand.

5.-  fill any cracks with Famowood wood filler

and sand.

6.- apply 2nd coat of vinyl undercoater.

7.- sand.

8.- apply 3 coats of conversion varnish paint

sanding between each coat.

Conversion Varnish is applied the same as lacquer,

looks the same as lacquer, is as smooth as lacquer

but is almost almost indestructble and longer lasting.

Jody Toole

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Marina del Rey, CA

Job of the Week….again. Big, big bedroom cabinet, finished to match the bath cabinet

we finished  a couple of months earlier. Custom mixed cherry stain ( Burnt Sienna, Burnt

Umber and Raw Sienna) top coated with vinyl sealer and three coats of pre-catalyzed lacquer.

Big, Big Bedroom Cabinet

Matching Bath Cabinet

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How Green Is My Simi Valley?

I have been derelict in my postings. This Green Job of the Week was actually completed about three weeks ago. The noteworthy aspect of this job is that it was all done onsite using Green finishes.

The kid’s toy cabinet was finished with a water-based white conversion  varnish and on the entertainment center we used a clear water-based conversion varnish.

Based on technology developed over the past twenty years in Italy this is a much more durable and longer lasting finish than traditional lacquer or even pre-catalyzed lacquer.

And, best of all, it’s Green. This means that everybody gets to breathe, from Luis and Jose Sprayman (no, they’re not related, they just happen to share the last same name) to me, to the homeowners and their kids.

You could actually be in the room where we were spraying, without wearing a mask, and suffer no ill effects. This would not be possible with a traditional solvent based conversion varnish or a  pre-catalyzed lacquer, either one of which would have driven the family from the home.

Why we go green.

Why We Go Green.

Kid’s Cabinet

Luis & John Spraying White Conversion Varnish.

Green Finish: Water-Based White Conversion Varnish.

The kids thought it was pretty cool that we got to play tent all the time!!

Entertainment Center- All Tented Up.

Jorge And The Tent.

Jose Sprayman At Work.

Entertainment Center

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Lacquer Painted Cabinet- Art District, Los Angeles, CA

untitled album 8 - 01

untitled album 8 - 02

untitled album 8 - 03

untitled album 8 - 05

untitled album 8 - 04

untitled album 8 - 07

untitled album 8 - 08

untitled album 8 - 09

untitled album 8 - 10

untitled album 8 - 11

untitled album 8 - 12

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Cabinet Finishes- Venice, CA

Job Of  The Week- 3 Oct. 2009. Wall unit and kitchen island made of rift oak, stained gray with a satin pre-catalyzed lacquer finish. The stain was a mix of Titanium White, Lamp Black, Burnt Sienna and  Raw Sienna.

Still Life- "The Mixing Table"

Still Life- “The Mixing Table”

Wall Unit

Wall Unit

Kitchen Island

Kitchen Island

Still Life- "The Finisher's Life"

Still Life- “The Finisher’s Life”

Just another day at the office. Lacquer overspray from spraying inside the cabinets.

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The Chieftess- Glendale, CA

The Chieftess is “The Chieftess” because she is married to the Chief. Chief of Police that is.

So, you gotta do a very, very good job when you work for “The Chieftess” or you might wind up in the slammer.

Need I say, this is our newest Job Of The Week. Actually, it could be the Job Of The Last Year Or So, because that’s when we originally painted her kitchen. We went back this week to polish the cabinets and afford them a bit more protection from water.

She is a wonderful photographer. To see her work, click on the following link:



Pre-Catalyzed Lacquer Finish - Pearl White

Pre-Catalyzed Lacquer Finish – Pearl White

Farmhouse Style - French Country Sink

Farmhouse Style – French Country Sink

Custom Hood

Custom Hood

These Are The Cats Dishes, But, Daisy The Dog Doesn't Care- She Eats Everything.

These Are The Cat’s Dishes, But, Daisy The Dog Doesn’t Care- She Eats Everything.

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Faux Finishing, Pasadena, CA- Another James Barry Job

This weeks, Job of the Week, features a faux finish-Ralph Lauren’s Suede. This is available at your local Home Depot and is marketed as a finish that any do-it-your-selfer can do. And I’m sure you can but for me it was a bit more difficult because I am expected to get professional results. Anything less and I don’t get paid.

We put the suede color on the wall and it came out too dark, so I added a little white to it and that changed the color completely, so then, I primed a spot with white primer and painted Suede over that and it was still too dark (and greenish looking),so, finally, I found a sheet of white poster paper and made a sample on that. And it was perfect!

Problem solved. Put 1 coat of white primer over the existing yellow and follow that with 2 coats of pure white. One of those little details Ralph left out of his instructional video- the existing wall color will influence the color of the Suede finish!

Ralph also said we could put on the 1st coat with a roller, but, that didn’t work out for us,so we wound up brushing on 3 coats of Suede, even though it was supposed to only take 2 coats.

That’s a total of 6 coats of paint. I had planned on 2. But it was worth it, the finished walls do look like suede and it is just the look my customer was looking for. She is very pleased.

Judge for yourself.

The Before Shot. The Red Paper Is Covering A Brand New Just Refinished Wood Floor.

The Before Shot. The Red Paper Is Covering A Brand New, Just Refinished Wood Floor.

Luis Fauxman Cutting A straight Line.

Luis Fauxman Cutting A straight Line.

1st Coat Of Suede.

1st Coat Of Suede.

The Finished Product- Suede Walls, Whitewashed Wainscoting And Refinished Cabinet.

The Finished Product- Suede Walls, Whitewashed Wainscoting And Refinished Cabinet.

I Really Like This Look.

I Really Like This Look.

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Bath Cabinet, Marina del Rey, CA- For James Barry, Barrybuilt Corp.

Job of the week for -The Hiking Woman – of Marina del Rey.

An elegant bath cabinet of cherry wood finished with a

custom hand-mixed cherry stain of burnt sienna, burnt

umber and raw sienna. Top coated with a silky smooth

pre-catalyzed lacquer.

Cherry Bath Cabinet

Cherry Bath Cabinet

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