Five Favorite Tools for Painting Cabinets + Furniture

Hello friends!

As I continue to tackle more cabinet and furniture projects, I’m constantly on the hunt for new products and tools to streamline my process and provide a high quality finished look.  So, I read and I talk to experts.  A lot.  And in doing so, I find, and experiment with lots of different products and tools in the process.  I’ve shared some of my favorite tools and products before, but the list just keeps on growing.  This post contains some affiliate links.

Abranet Sanding Discs
I started using these after reading about them at Traditional Painter.  Abranet discs are, by far, the best sanding discs that I’ve ever used, and I’ve tried a lot of different products.  The way they are designed is different than any other product out there, and I think that’s what makes them stand out above the pack.  You can use them with your orbital sander, and watch them go to work.  They’re a mesh type of sanding disc, and all I can say is that they get the job done.   Do you have a furniture piece that needs to be stripped?  You need these.  As the guy at Woodcraft said, “The 40 grit could take the bark off of a tree.”  By the same token, they also can give a finished look with a higher grit.  Love them, and they’re a staple in my toolbox.  When I was ready to give up on furniture paint removal, I used them to get the two layers of old paint off on this dresser redo.

If you don’t have an orbital sander, don’t worry.  You can use these with a hand sander, or you can get the rectangular ones and work with those.  Even for hand sanding, I was amazed at how well they work.

Festool Orbital Sander
While we’re on the subject of sanding, I can’t not talk about my Festool Orbital Sander.  By far, one of my favorite tools for a task that is not my favorite.  It should be said that it’s an investment tool, but worth every penny, in my opinion.  Considering the fact that I expect to have this tool for a long time, and it’s a pleasure to use, it was worth the money ($195).  It’s a low vibration tool, and when you lift it off of what you’re sanding, it stops vibrating so that you don’t get those “skid marks” on your furniture piece or cabinet doors.  That alone makes it worthwhile, in my opinion.

Plus, one thing I have learned as I do these projects, is that prep is key to a beautiful end result. And, since prep is arguably the worst part of painting, why not make it as painless as possible?

Festool Dust Extractor
Granted, this tool may not be for everyone, but I have to share it anyway because it is just that good.  Again, I’m doing a lot of work for other people, and you know that sanding and dust go hand in hand.  The use of this dust extractor (the Festool Mini) has practically eliminated dust from the equation.  I kid you not.  My orbital sander hooks up to it, and it sucks the dust away while you work – brilliant, yes?  

I was working on this kitchen, and the homeowner told me that she had put off dusting because she was expecting a dusty mess from the painting of the kitchen cabinets.  She was amazed at how there was no dust flying around while I worked.  That is a huge selling point for me, as a painter.  If you can reduce the dust factor and keep a clean work environment, that means less prep work, and everyone is happier as a result.

I also used it for sanding down and repairing my walls after removing wallpaper during the One Room Challenge.  We all know what a mess drywall dust creates, and this tool eliminates it.  Like a boss.

If you don’t want to invest in a dust extractor (or even an orbital sander), but still want to minimize dust, you can go with this handheld setup and hook up to your Shop Vac, which I did for awhile before making the leap to a bigger set up.

For this, I used the Abranet rectangular sanding sheets (that can be cut to size), along with this hose to hook up to my Shop Vac.


High Quality Paint Brushes
If you’re brushing your cabinet frames, you’ll want to make sure you have a good paint brush to keep brush marks to a minimum.  I have a couple that I’ve been using regularly, and am embarrassed to say how many of them I have in my toolbox.  I have shared Fox paint brushes here, but Picasso is another brand that I like – particularly, their angled brush.  I like using angled brushes for cutting in, and I also like the shorter handle for getting into small spots.

Paint Brush Cleaner
While I try to avoid it, in some instances, I need to use oil-based products, and this paint brush cleaner is great for clean-up.  It’s also a great product if you happen to forget to clean your brush, and it gets a little bit hardened as a result.  Not that I know anything about that…  You can pick this up at Home Depot or Menards (which is where I found it).

As I finish this up, I’m thinking of even more products and tools that I like, so I’m going to have to do another installment on this topic.  Bear with me – there is just a lot out there that makes the job easier!

In the meantime, I’m going to be getting started on this gorgeous client kitchen (and using these tools as part of my arsenal). 🙂

If you need me, I’ll be painting…


  • Reply
    Marcio Wilges
    September 30, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Look at that kitchen! I can't imagine having to do a paint job around so many pieces of cabinetry! I'd rather work on plain walls without any furniture in the way because removal of paint is a pain in the butt!!

  • Reply
    October 10, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Excellent post. Great blog. Your blog is interesting and so informative. Wait for your next blog post. Thanks for sharing with us. Thank's for sharing. see more: toolsadvisors

  • Reply
    Kristine A
    April 29, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    I hate sanding but I have to say that my favorite power tool so far is my random orbit sander. It does the job so perfectly not to mention I had it for a couple of years without any major issues so far!

  • Reply
    January 5, 2018 at 2:49 am

    Perfect timing! Going to paint my kitchen in the next few weeks, and you really laid out all the steps in detail. Super helpful :D

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