A cabinet door can sustain damage ranging from a few shallow scratches to a deep crack in its surface. Accidents happen; the cabinet can hit against the door frame, or small children can end up swinging from it when you're not looking. Fortunately, you can fix cracks in wooden cabinet doors effectively by following the steps below.
Step 1 - Determine the Depth and Full Length of the Crack
Examine the door closely to get a good look at the full extent of the crack in the wood, and how visible it will be once repaired. Also check how far it is from the edge, top, or bottom of the door and its handle.
Step 2 - Clean the Door Surface
Clean the wood surface of the door with soapy hot water and a sponge to remove any grease, dirt, or other debris. Then, rinse the door surface well with hot water to expand the crack slightly. That way, it will be easier to fill.
Step 3 - Strip Any Existing Paint or Varnish
While wearing protective gloves, use paint stripper to remove any paint or varnish currently on the surface around the damaged area. It's important to be thorough in this case because these finishes adhere so tightly to the wood that they will prevent the crack from resealing when filled.
Step 4 - Remove Any Materials Used to Patch the Crack Before
Sponge the crack with a clean cloth soaked in hot water to loosen and release any caulk, putty, epoxy glue, or other materials used to try to patch the crack previously. Allow the crack to dry for several hours afterward.
Step 5 - Sand the Inside of the Crack and the Edges
Using the coarse-grit sandpaper, sand the inside of the crack and the surface edges to create a moderately rough texture to which the epoxy wood paste will be able hold more firmly.
Step 6 - Apply the Wood Epoxy Glue
Fill the crack in the door with the epoxy wood paste right up to the surface. Spread a small bit of the paste over the sanded surface to help close and bond the edges of the crack together as well.
Step 7 - Clamp the Crack on Both Sides
Attach wood clamps across the crack where you can to hold the sides as closely together as possible while the wood epoxy glue dries. This will help create a more inconspicuous repair. Drying time should be about three to four hours, but be sure to check your epoxy packaging if you are unsure.
Step 8 - Refinish
When the crack is dry, remove the clamps carefully. Sand all around the repaired area with the fine-grit sandpaper to create a smooth surface. Then, refinish as neatly as possible with a varnish or paint that matches the other doors. If the new finish does not look satisfactory, strip and refinish the entire door, or take this opportunity to revive all your kitchen cabinet door fronts by cleaning and refinishing them in a new coat of paint, varnish, or other material.
The most important keys to success in this task are clean, dry surfaces for patching, careful preparation and filling, and patience to ensure the patch is completely dry before refinishing. Don't try to rush through this steps, as you will likely end up with a look you aren't happy with as a result.