Best finish for Sapele Kitchen Cabinets

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Hey Guys,

As a favor to a good friend I have decided to build him some kitchen cabinets for his home. I have about 300 bf of sapele in my shed so I plan on using this for his project. This is a "favor" so no money here at all, just the love of woodworking and knowing you did a friend a good turn. Here is the question, I'm using pre-finished maple plywood for the boxes and the Sapele for face- frames, drawers and the frame and panel doors. I will be using solid panels not plywood for the doors.

I've only ever used BLO that I let dry 14 days with a few coats of Lacquer when I used Sapele, but I feel I need a lot more protection for kitchen cabinets. I would appreciate any and all suggestions and opinions. I have a lot of ribbon in my pieces and it sure does pop with the oil but I'm just unsure of the durability. Would the mixture Mark uses in his simple varnish mixture work ok with all the grain changes in this wood?



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Thanks D,

Yeah, I know I could spray NCL but I'd rather apply the wipe on if it would work fine in this application. I've been trying to get away from the heavy fumes and I don't have a booth or area I can spray something this large in. My small projects I just opened the doors of the shop and let it air out, but this is way too big for that. I could wipe on a coat a day and be done in a week if the finish would hold up to kitchen abuse. I know Gregory uses 3-2-1 in his awesome book on cabinets but I'm not sure how it would work on the Sapele. Maybe I should do a couple of test boards first. Still looking for opinions.


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