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Smeared Cabinet Finishes and Variations

By now your search for custom cabinets Tulsa has put you in touch with a reputable cabinetmaker, and you’ve established excellent two-way communications with him. You know that custom cabinets add uniqueness to your home decor. You can personalize your custom cabinets even further by thinking through the type of finish they deserve. This may be the time to discuss a smeared finish.

Why Choose a Smeared Finish?

The smeared finish lets you personalize your custom cabinets and adds character and charm. It is usually applied by hand and involves sweeping stain, glaze, paint or a combination of all three across the wood surface with a cloth or brush. No two smeared finishes are alike.

As with any decision, some preplanning can help you achieve the results that you desire. Here are some things to keep in mind.


Your smeared finish should reflect the “look” you’ve chosen. Is it modern? Antique? Retro? Will it enhance your home environment and decor?


The smeared finish you select should highlight the natural wood grain. Different smeared finishes (or their combinations) work better with some woods than others.


Cabinets in the kitchen might require a different finish than those in a living room or bedroom. A smeared finish comes in several variations. Discuss the following ones with your custom cabinets Tulsa contractor.


With a stain, the wood is sanded down to expose the wood’s grain. A stain is then smeared across the wood’s surface with a cloth. Since a stain is transparent and absorbed, it’s a natural choice for bringing out the natural beauty of the wood.


A smeared finish can also employ a glaze, which is semitranslucent color. Available in light or dark shades, a glaze may be used alone or in tandem with either paint or a stain. Glazes add highlights to the wood by increasing depth and definition. Glaze comes in both water and oil-based formulations and is often applied with a cloth and smeared across the wood’s surface with attention paid to crevices and mouldings. Water-based glaze tends to work well with paint. Oil-based glazes work well with cabinets that have been stained.


You may decide to use paint over a smeared stain or glaze. Once the paint dries, it is then sanded to reveal wood grain and achieve a time-worn appearance. Do note that oil-based paints will last longer. Adding multiple layers of paint by hand can create an antique effect on your custom cabinets.

You may want to go a step further and consider painting stencils or distressing your custom cabinets. Distressing gives the effect of paint that has worn away. Cabinets can be distressed by applying a stain to give the wood some protection, then applying paint. Once dry, the paint can then be rubbed away using sandpaper and even steel wool. This technique can be used with two or three paint colors to give the impression that the cabinet has been painted then repainted over time.

Your custom cabinets Tulsa artisan can walk you through all of these choices and help you to choose the right finish that respects your design and wood choice to best meet your specifications.

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A&S Millworks
809 W Elgin St
Broken Arrow, OK  74012

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