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Finishing drawers?

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Forum topic by zlatanv posted 1648 days ago 3340 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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zlatanv

689 posts in 1836 days


1648 days ago

I am building a wooded legal size file cabinet and am wondering about finishing the drawers. I don’t think I will in this build, but I have an entertainment center coming up with two drawers and not sure if I should finish those or not. Most are made of 1/2 in ply birch or oak and edge banded the seen edges.

Does anyone finish your drawers with any sealers or anything else and on what type of projects would you seal or completely finish the drawers with multiple coats of a finish?

-- Z, Rockwall, TX


12 replies so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2424 days


#1 posted 1648 days ago

This topic comes up periodically and basically you will get an even split on whether to finish the drawers or not. I prefer to stain and finish all surfaces including the drawers. I will usually just use whatever topcoat I am using for the visible surfaces to finish out the drawers.

But an equal number of members do not put any finish on their drawers for a variety of valid reasons. So I guess it really comes down to a personal decision as to whether to finish them or not and to what level they are finished. There are pieces of antique furniture that were built without finishing the drawers that have withstood the test of time but I just prefer the integrated look that finishing the drawers gives to the project. It is a little more work, but then I am a glutton for punishment who happens to enjoy the finishing process. :)

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View rhett's profile

rhett

697 posts in 2269 days


#2 posted 1648 days ago

I think following the idea that its not seen so don’t spend time finishing it is kind of a lazy approach to working. If thats the plan then why finish the backs of doors or the underside of any overhangs, or even sand them for that matter. If nothing else wipe on some oil or something. The only time I would even consider not finishing a drawers interior is if it were cedar or some other wood which benefited from staying raw.

-- http://planeandsimpleblog.wordpress.com/

View G_Bishop's profile

G_Bishop

58 posts in 1649 days


#3 posted 1648 days ago

When It comes to drawers, I don’t necessarily stain them but I do spray a couple coats of poly on them or rub an oil finish on them.

-- ---- Jack of all Trades, Master of None ----

View hObOmOnk's profile

hObOmOnk

1380 posts in 2730 days


#4 posted 1648 days ago

I have a house full of real antique furniture and none of my pieces have fully finished drawers.
I’ve done furniture restoration and repair for more than 40 years and it’s the same story.
Occasionally I’ll see a piece that has minimal finish on the inside of drawers, such as a little stain and shellac.

I generally use a little shellac to seal the unseen parts of any drawers that I make.
If I color the wood, I use a water-based dye not an oil-based stain.

Avoid multiple coats of finish, especially oil-based products.
It could make the drawers stick and the smell will linger for a long time.

-- 温故知新

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

5414 posts in 2031 days


#5 posted 1648 days ago

I’ve done it all three ways. Gotta agree with Randy about the smells. Shellac is your friend.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View ND2ELK's profile

ND2ELK

13495 posts in 2376 days


#6 posted 1647 days ago

I finish my drawers the same as the cabinet itself. Two coats of poly and apply wax with 000 steel wool. I also keep my drawers natural even if the cabinet is stained. Thanks for asking.

God Bless
tom

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2697 posts in 1888 days


#7 posted 1647 days ago

I agree with Tom, I always finish my drawers. I don’t stain them anymore (I used to) because I feel they look better longer with a natural finish, espescially in kitchen cabinets where utensils will scratch stain. I generally finish with lacquer, so it’s not hard to spray inside the drawers. The smell doesn’t last too long either.

-- She thought I hung the moon--now she just thinks I did it wrong

View zlatanv's profile

zlatanv

689 posts in 1836 days


#8 posted 1647 days ago

Thanks all, will probably go with a couple of coats of shellac just to seal them. This is a copy of a cabinet the guy already has and he wanted a replica, that one didn’t have finished drawers. I have usually cut drawer sides to depth and then finished them and the bottoms with 3 coats of poly then cut to size and and add groove for bottom and assembled them, seems easier than to finish assembled drawer. The smell does linger for a while, so will probably try something new.

-- Z, Rockwall, TX

View Bob Areddy's profile

Bob Areddy

177 posts in 2004 days


#9 posted 1647 days ago

I think it depends on what finish you’re putting on it. I’ve finished the insides of drawers before with Tung Oil, and the stink has lasted for 4 years because there’s no air circulation around it.

-- --Bob http://www.areddy.net/wood

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8718 posts in 2701 days


#10 posted 1647 days ago

I have finished all of my drawers to date, but it is a personal preference and I am aware that many drawers are not finished.

I would not put a film finish on sliding parts. That would be if the drawer had rabbets on the side that slid on rails, it should not have a film finish that may be caused to peel off. An oil and wax finish would better.

I use pre-catalyzed and post-catalyzed lacquers and varnishes and a lingering odor has not been a problem.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14609 posts in 2278 days


#11 posted 1647 days ago

Some women can smell a mouse fluctuate next door, so I would be concerned about the smell of the finish in dresser drawers impregnating their clothes. Just because you can’t smell it, doesn’t mean others can’t.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View zlatanv's profile

zlatanv

689 posts in 1836 days


#12 posted 1647 days ago

This is for a two drawer hanging file cabinet with heavy duty ball bearing slides. Haven’t used lacquers before but sounds like a good option.

-- Z, Rockwall, TX

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