Another LJ asked: Do you have reason for doing the assembly before applying the finish?
Yes, i did give that option some thought and here are my reasons for not finishing prior to assembly.
1. There are no “plans” for this project. I am designing as I go. As a result it’s not possible to pre-cut all my pieces, apply finish and then assemble.
2. Without plans I avoid measuring cuts as much as possible, I use the already assembled parts to transfer my marks for cutting. As an example if I’m going to cut a piece of trim, I don’t pull out a tape and measure the length, transfer the measurement to my piece, then cut. When i do that, often the workshop gremlins change the numbers on my ruler around because even though i measure twice and cut once … the piece still ends up too short. Instead I take the trim to the already assembled part where it will be installed and mark off the cuts. I find that approach is better for me with fewer errors. As a result of this there is no big stack of pieces all neatly cut to size. I cut as i build so to pre-finish means I would have to work with a can of finish by my side the whole time. I would also have to wait for the finish to dry on that part before moving onto the next part. With this project, that means I would be done in spring of 2034!
3. I’ve not had a lot of success with finishing prior to assembly. On projects where I’ve tried this, the finished pieces get coated in dust, get scratched or dinged while being knocked around in the shop. This means they need to have the finish cleaned or repaired after assembly. Dust in the finish has also been a problem for me when pre-finishing. I hate finishing so I don’t want to do it twice!
4. When you prefinish you have to be very careful not to get finish on the joinery surfaces. I tend to forget that part and end up with finish on some joints which means a fix or replacement of the part.
5. In this project we want to showcase the natural beauty of the oak so we won’t be using any stain. The final finish will likely be a natural danish oil which will be easy to apply after assembly.
I understand the advantages of finish before assembly and applaud those who do. However for me, as a general rule I sand to final grit, then assemble with finish applied last. Having said that i should add, with some projects, I will finish certain parts prior to assembly. This is the case when it would be difficult to access the area or awkward apply the finish afterwards, especially if using stain. An example of this is the interior of small boxes or areas with tight corners such as the interior of a bookcase.
I’m sure there are LJ’s who wouldn’t do it this way, but for me, pre-finishing wasn’t an option with this project.
Hope that answers the question.
-- Jim in Langley BC Canada --- www.sollows.ca