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Putting a Finish on a Garage Cabinet

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Forum topic by 1voyager1 posted 12-01-2015 12:16 AM 822 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1voyager1

74 posts in 896 days


12-01-2015 12:16 AM

I have rarely worried about applying a finish to my wood working projects in the past.
I tend to be easily sensitized to various chemicals, and just don’t like to deal with it.
I now have a good organic vapor respirator to deal with this problem.

Now, this project is going to be in our attached garage where M’Lady will be seeing it every day.
I do not want to get any grief from her over the appearance of this cabinet.
In fact, I want her to like it and be happy with it.
Keeping her happy makes my life so much easier and simpler.

So, I have chosen a better material than my usual C/D fir PW, and will stain and finish it.
I will be using birch PW and boards.
I have proposed staining the cabinet to her.
She has chosen a darker stain: Dark Walnut, Jacobean, or a similar shade, so that my dirty fingerprints will not be so noticable. I had been thinking the same myself.

I’m thinking of a couple of coats of a 1# shellac pre-stain to keep the birch from blotching, then a water based stain, and finally a spar type varnish topping it off.

I’m thinking of pre-finishing the parts before final assembly to make sanding and staining easier and make for a better looking end product.
I’m also thinking that applying the varnish after assembly might be the better way so as to seal the joints after gluing.

Any thoughts and/or advice will be appreciated.

-- Every mighty oak is nothing more than a nut that has stood it's ground.


17 replies so far

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 1826 days


#1 posted 12-01-2015 12:51 AM

Exterior water based solid stain, topped with a waterborne floor finish.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1058 posts in 1454 days


#2 posted 12-01-2015 01:00 AM

Personally I prefer semi-gloss white paint on the inside and outside of shop cabinets because it reflects much more light, but if you must go dark…............for prestain conditioner I use Elmer’s glue all thinned 4-1 with water. Let it fully absorb for 5 minutes or so, keep brushing/wiping, then wipe off. Ley dry, sand raised grain lightly, I use 320. I much prefer glue size to shellac – I’ve used both many times. Oil or water based can be used over it. Don’t use a spar varnish, use interior varnish – I doubt you plan on it being rained on. I would use whatever brand poly. I finish sand, then glue all joints, then do all finishing – never had good luck keeping the finishing liquids off the glue surfaces. I design the project with this in mind. Typically plenty of access to cabinets with doors and back panel off. That’s me, though.

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woodbutcherbynight

2437 posts in 1873 days


#3 posted 12-01-2015 03:16 AM

Every cabinet in my shop is a different color, helps with memory, every bench is stained various colors to show and tell what furniture might look like in that color. Also for memory purposes as well. LOL

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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1voyager1

74 posts in 896 days


#4 posted 12-02-2015 08:25 AM

It may not get rained on, but between the humidity [95 to 100% at night dropping to as low as 65% on a hot dry day] and rampant termites, I think I’ll be going with a urethane type varnish to seal the wood off.

I’m still thinking that I’ll pre-finish the pieces before assembling them.
Some I may pre-finish before cutting the final edges to be glued, and use dowels or biscuits in the joints.
We’ll see.
I’ll experiment with some of the scraps before the final decisions.

-- Every mighty oak is nothing more than a nut that has stood it's ground.

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1voyager1

74 posts in 896 days


#5 posted 12-02-2015 10:48 PM

I had ordered some shellac flakes before I posted this here.
So, I was kinda locked into using shellac as my pre-stain, until this morning.
I received notice that they were out of stock on the flakes and won’t have any more before the end of the month.
I’m canceling the order and gonna give Elmer’s Glue a try.

-- Every mighty oak is nothing more than a nut that has stood it's ground.

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1voyager1

74 posts in 896 days


#6 posted 12-06-2015 10:23 PM

I have found that Elmer’s Glue is not available locally except in small bottles.
Titebond is available in Original, II and III formulas in larger sized containers.
Will one of the Titebond glues work in place of Elmer’s as a pre-stain sealer treatment?

As long as I’m here with that question,I’ll ask this one too.
I’m going to have to go with poplar banding on the birch PW.
It is the closest match in locally available woods.
Will this combination of woods stain up reasonably similar?

-- Every mighty oak is nothing more than a nut that has stood it's ground.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1058 posts in 1454 days


#7 posted 12-08-2015 05:13 AM

Yes, any pva glue will work. I like the Elmer’s Glue All because it dries clear and is cheap. TBIII might give the wood a slight brownish cast since it dries darker. The poplar and birch should color closely using the glue size. Best thing to do is test on each.

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1voyager1

74 posts in 896 days


#8 posted 12-08-2015 08:41 AM

Thanks OSU55,
I picked up my stains and a pint of both Elmers and TB Original today to test on my PW scraps.
I’ll start on it tomorrow.
If the TB Original work out, I can get it in a gallon bottle.

-- Every mighty oak is nothing more than a nut that has stood it's ground.

View Fettler's profile

Fettler

200 posts in 1461 days


#9 posted 12-10-2015 10:06 PM

When I was younger my uncle installed a set of shop cabinets and used a machine blue/grey paint (I call it gun metal grey or navy ship blue). Think, heavy, probably cancer causing paint. After 25 years , while coated with oil and grease from years of neglect… The paint is still intact.

I bet you could get the same effect now with a water based conversion finish like someone like Bona makes.

-- --Rob, Seattle, WA

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1voyager1

74 posts in 896 days


#10 posted 12-14-2015 07:57 PM

OK, I did a test staining of some scrap pieces.
They did not turn out as expected or wanted.
The coloration of the wood was very much lighter than expected.

I mixed both the Elmer’s and TB to compare them.
I applied them in the same manner to test pieces.
They both ended up with almost exactly the same results after staining.
I think that I applied too much of them.
I flooded the surface leaving a liquid film on the PW’s surface, letting it sit for at least 5 minutes, then wiped it off and allowed it to dry for a couple of hours.
After applying the stain in two applications the wood’s color was still very much lighter than expected and wanted.

The stain seemed to dry too quickly.
It seemed to wipe off unevenly after it began to solidify on the surface.
I ended up wiping it off after somewhere in the 3 to 5 minute range while still wet.
Should I have allowed it to somewhat “dry” before wiping it off?

Getting ready to try a test staining again.

-- Every mighty oak is nothing more than a nut that has stood it's ground.

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1voyager1

74 posts in 896 days


#11 posted 12-14-2015 11:07 PM

@ Fettler
I haven’t seen any Bona products around here.
But, I need for this project to meet M’Lady’s expectations because it will be seen by her almost every day.
She parks in the garage.
I park outside.
By agreeing to that arrangement, I get part of the garage set aside for shop space and the cabinets need to look as good as kitchen cabinets, or at least a close as possible as I can.

-- Every mighty oak is nothing more than a nut that has stood it's ground.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1058 posts in 1454 days


#12 posted 12-15-2015 12:56 PM

Try a test piece w/o conditioner. With a very dark color you may like it just fine.

Although the color was not as dark as expected, how even was the color? Did it greatly reduce the blotching? It sounds like you applied the glue sizing correctly. What grit did you sand back with? If 320, try 220. If using pigmented OB stain, a rougher surface will allow more pigment to lodge and add color. If that is not enough color, try cutting the glue sizing by 50% again with water, 8 or 10 to 1, and apply the same way. Don’t let the stain dry, it turns to a gummy mess. You can let it sit longer, and keep adding a bit of stain to keep it slightly “wet”. This lets the voc’s flash and leave more color. You can do this as long as you like, but after 20-30 min it’s pretty much maxed out. Rub the stain “dry” at the end.
Also, to add color depth you can add some of the “dye” from the stain (off the top after the pigment has settled) to the 1st and 2nd coats of OB top coat, cut 50% with thinner. Not sure what topcoat you plan to use.

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1voyager1

74 posts in 896 days


#13 posted 12-15-2015 06:32 PM

Thanks OSU55,
I guess I’m paying the price for having always shied away from applying finishes.
I gotta learn how it’s done.
it’’s beginning to look as if there’s more art to this than simply painting a bedroom wall.
Because of my past reactions to many solvent based finishes and other materials, I am using only water based finishes on this.

I applied the stain to untreated wood.
It was still too light and slightly blotchy.

Next, I applied the glue sizing letting it sit for only about 1 minute, then applying 2 applications of the stain.
No blotchiness, and by rubbing more lightly while wiping the stain off, the coloration was much better after 2 applications.

I think I will thin the glue sizing more and let the stain sit longer.
I think I was wiping it off too soon with too much pressure.
The Minwax instructions said to let it sit no longer than 5 minutes.
I’m going to try longer time periods, maybe I can get away from having to make 2 applications of the stain.

I’m also going to run into town to pick up the top coat, a water based polyurethane, and apply it to the test pieces.
I think it may help darken the coloration of the wood.

Being as I’m using a water based stain, could I use water mist from a spray bottle to keep the stain moist while it sits longer?

I think slowly but surely, I’m beginning to get a feel for dealing with this.

-- Every mighty oak is nothing more than a nut that has stood it's ground.

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OSU55

1058 posts in 1454 days


#14 posted 12-15-2015 09:46 PM

I work with WB 90% of the time. You should get some Transtint dye which can be added to the wb stain to darken & can be added to the wb top coat to tone/shade. Transtints appear expensive but are very concentrated and go a long way.

Yes finishing well requires more knowledge, but it is knowledge, and experimentation, not magic. Finishing is an aquired skill, no different than the other skills learned for woodworking.

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1voyager1

74 posts in 896 days


#15 posted 12-16-2015 01:13 AM

I can only find 2 sources for TransTint, Rockler and Homestead, neither is a viable source.
I cannot find anything locally.
Rockler will not ship to AK or HI.
The smallest Homestead will ship is a 16oz. with $50 for shipping, about $100 for a pint I’ll never finish.
Apparently, USPS will not carry the liquid form.
It will have to come by UPS or FedEx air.

I can get the TransFast dry dye at reasonable shipping cost.
How does using that compare to TransTint?

-- Every mighty oak is nothing more than a nut that has stood it's ground.

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