We purchased pre-made cabinets but wanted them a different color, so we sanded the gloss completely off and painted over with alkyd. After a week in a 70°F room, and with fans going, the oil is still mildly tacky. We contacted the store where the cabinets were purchased and it turns out the original finish was conversion varnish paint (they couldn't address our concern). Any suggestions, like using a heat lamp to assist in drying time, or was this a mistake from the beginning?

  • We just got the answer we need from a paint specialist who does conversion varnish painting.
    – RET
    Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 2:04
  • The comment is nice, but tt is perfectly acceptable and even preferred that you actually post an answer down below in the box labeled "Your Answer". Self-answered questions are generally well received here. Just saying "I found an answer elsewhere" doesn't help others who may run into the same problem you did.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 16:16
  • The answer I received from someone outside of Stack Exchange: Oil paint can be used over conversion varnish ~ conversion varnish should be lightly sanded, and then primed over with oil primer to ensure a good bond before finish coat is applied.
    – RET
    Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 23:44
  • Thanks for the additional info. Please actually put it in the "Your Answer" box instead of an additional comment. Not everyone reads the comments and they can actually be deleted...
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 11:29
  • I wonder if the usual advice for going between water-solvent and oil-solvent finishes would work here: Apply a layer of alcohol-solvent finish between them, specifically shellac, which bonds happily with either of those.
    – keshlam
    Commented Apr 23, 2023 at 2:23

1 Answer 1


A specialist told me to lightly sand conversion varnish with 320 grit, then spray cabinets with oil primer before spraying finish coats of oil paint over them. The oil primer will ensure a good bond between oil paint and conversion varnish.

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