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Stephen Wilson
Senior Member
Username: swilson

Post Number: 24
Registered: 02-2019
Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2022 - 11:59 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Hi everyone,

I'm working on a project where we are renovating some college chemistry labs that have existing wood lab casework. The bodies of the casework are in good shape, but the door and drawer fronts have taken a lot of abuse and water damage.

In addition, a major goal of this project is modernizing the lab appearance. The existing cabinets have an amber, plain sliced, red oak finish, which gives a very dated appearance.

Have any of you done a spec for refinishing cabinets like this? We are assuming we will replace the door and drawer fronts, but the cabinet bodies still need updating. I know theoretically new veneer can be applied over the existing cabinet bodies but that is something I've never done on a project before.

Thanks for any advice you can provide!
Ronald J. Ray, RA, CCS, CCCA, CSI, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: rjray

Post Number: 213
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Friday, October 14, 2022 - 08:37 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Laboratory wood casework is typically factory finished using a chemical resistant finish system complying with the Scientific Equipment and Furniture Association (SEFA) standards. I do not know if the factory finishing materials are available for field finishing.

I suggest you contact the manufacturer of the casework or any SEFA manufacturing member.
James Sandoz, AIA, CSI, CCS
Senior Member
Username: jsandoz

Post Number: 359
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Monday, October 17, 2022 - 09:11 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Ronald is referring to a catalyzed conversion varnish and it cannot be applied in the field. Stephen, your idea of replacing the door and drawer fronts and refinishing the cabinet bodies (perhaps with a polyurethane) may be the best bet. No matter the existing finish, preparation for refinishing will be critical.

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