This is how my cabinets started out. Dark and pretty grainy wood. There were lots of dings on the cabinets but I think they were made that way.
The first thing I did was give them a good wash down with TSP. There was lots of grease and gunk build up that I needed gone. After they were clean, I started to fill most of the dings with wood filler. I didn't fill them all, perfection wasn't the look I was going for and with a house that is 60 years old, that isn't what you are going to get so don't fight it. If you are painting your cabinets use WHITE wood filler or the brown will blead through.
Make sure you number your cabinets. Even if they all look the same and you think that you can just rehang them any way you want, you most likely can't. So just take a few extra minutes and label the cabinets, it will save you a big headache in the end.
Since I had hidden hinges I just numbered inside the hinge socket.
I layed everything out and got prepped to paint. I did a light sanding on the cabinets.
After this picture was taken we bought some sawhorses. They were a life saveer and gave us more support and room to paint the cabinet doors.
This was what our paint shop looked like. I don't know how I lived like this. But I am really big on goals and deadlines so I knew it would be over soon enough.
This is the primer I bought from Sherwin Williams
If we had a nicer kitchen I would have loved to have the doors sprayed, but my paint job was good enough.
I didn't seal the cabinet and I used a latex paint. I didn't want to run the risk of the paint yellowing. I would rather have to touch up some spots instead of my cabinets turning yellow. There have been a couple of little dings in the paint but a 2 second touch up and all is well again.