LumberJocks

Finishing Birch cabinets and workbenchs

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by Vedder posted 03-18-2016 04:11 PM 807 views 1 time favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Vedder's profile

Vedder

9 posts in 1055 days


03-18-2016 04:11 PM

Hello Im in the process of building my shop cabinets. They carcuses will be made out of birch plywood. And the bench top will be made out of hardboard. Just need ideas on the best way to finish both. Im looking to keep the natural look. No staining. Heard birch is a pain to stain anyway. Thanks for the help


17 replies so far

View ChrisK's profile

ChrisK

1809 posts in 2549 days


#1 posted 03-18-2016 04:52 PM

Water based polyurethane. Easy to apply, dries quick, helps with dusting later, and the birch will keep its natural look. I would go with a semi-gloss to keep the surface a little smooth to help with dust removal. It also helps protect the surface from water rings and spills.

-- Chris K

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4859 posts in 2280 days


#2 posted 03-18-2016 04:53 PM

I would be tempted to use pre-finished plywood, which is widely available in my area. I don’t see it in the big box stores, but most of the local plywood and lumber retailers stock it. It’s about the same price too.

The hardboard op can be unfinished, or maybe an occasional coat of shellac.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View conifur's profile

conifur

955 posts in 619 days


#3 posted 03-18-2016 05:01 PM

On Birch I like to use Min Wax Natural stain or a 50/50 mix of BLO and MS, it pops the grain but does sightly darken them, then semi gloss of your choice.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

2575 posts in 1724 days


#4 posted 03-18-2016 10:43 PM

Vedder, I just finished some birch cubbies with SW Wood Classics Interior Oil stain (cinnamon) and top coated it with Minwax wipe on poly to match existing cabinets and they look great. However, it is definitely more work than the pre-finished ply Willie mentioned. You either have time or money, so pick the method that better fits your situation.

-- Art

View Vedder's profile

Vedder

9 posts in 1055 days


#5 posted 03-19-2016 12:55 AM

Ok thanks for the responses so far. I’ve also heard that zinnser seal coat shellac is good. Anyone use that? And conifur what is BLO and MS? And do I need to deal it with anything?

View conifur's profile

conifur

955 posts in 619 days


#6 posted 03-19-2016 01:16 AM

BLO =Boiled Linseed Oil, MS= Mineral Spirits, Turpentine can be used instead of MS.
Seal Coat Shellac is nice too, unwaxed, Regular Zinnser is waxed, it is softer after it is dry. Sealcoat is a 2lb cut of Shellac, The regular is a 3lb cut. A cut is 1lb of Shellac crystals to 1 gallon of Alcohol.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View chiseler's profile

chiseler

121 posts in 356 days


#7 posted 03-19-2016 01:36 AM

I found the Minwax wipe on poly a real pleasure to use,and with care ,and sanding between coats the finish comes out like glass.It’s a good protective finish for shop fixtures

-- Scott.Triangle,NY Becareful and don't forget...They cut meat too!

View conifur's profile

conifur

955 posts in 619 days


#8 posted 03-19-2016 02:31 AM

I found the Minwax wipe on poly a real pleasure to use,and with care ,and sanding between coats the finish comes out like glass.It’s a good protective finish for shop fixtures
Ditto, I use it for most of my stuff, not just shop fixtures, may take an extra coat or 2 to get the same as the thicker brush on but the finish comes out better in the end.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1063 posts in 1457 days


#9 posted 03-19-2016 05:54 PM

Whatever brand ob poly cut 50% with min spirits. Easy, hard durable finish. Both cabinets and benchtop. Really toughens up hardboard for bench top use. Much more chemical and abrasion resistance than shellac.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2200 posts in 948 days


#10 posted 03-19-2016 11:35 PM

I like Polyacrylic. Like WB polyurethane, it dries fast and sands well.
If you can spray it, so much the better.

Personal pref, but I wouldn’t use oil based penetrating types like BLO, etc. on the cabinets.

Fine for the workbench, tho.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Dabcan's profile

Dabcan

252 posts in 2138 days


#11 posted 03-20-2016 01:39 AM

I use a lot of baltic birch plywood, can’t stand it when the varnish yellows it, so I almost always use water based poly, keeps it fairly close to the original colour.

-- @craftcollectif , http://www.craftcollective.ca, https://www.etsy.com/shop/craftcollective?

View Vedder's profile

Vedder

9 posts in 1055 days


#12 posted 03-20-2016 01:57 AM

Thanks for the ideas. I’ll just have to try some suggestions on a scrap piece to see what I like best

View Vedder's profile

Vedder

9 posts in 1055 days


#13 posted 03-21-2016 09:37 AM

Ok now that I have some ideas. I have decided that I may want a little darker look but don’t want to use a stain. Will any of these suggestions darken up the look of the birch plywood? I was thinking about using dewaxed shellac or tung oil mineral spirits mixed. And then finished off by a waterborne poly. And I also bought a spray gun at rockler to use. Will these work with a spray gun? I have a lot of csbinets to finish so that’s why I invested in one. Anymore suggestions would be appreciated thanks

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1063 posts in 1457 days


#14 posted 03-21-2016 11:46 AM

Investigate Transtint dyes. They sound expensive ($17 for 2 oz bottle) but are highly concentrated and go a long way. I prefer Transtint already dissolved to Transfast or other powders, but it’s the user’s choice. TT can be added to both shellac and WB finishes to add color.

Yes, both shellac and WB poly can be sprayed. Any spray gun will spit them out, but not necessarily provide even a decent finish. Shellac is fairly easy. Cut it to 1 to 1-1/2 lb cut and about any sprayer will work. Waterbornes are another story. Unlike solvent finishes they can’t be thinned and thinned until they work. They need a gun that atomizes well, and I never had much luck with cheap guns (I use a CA Technologies HVLP CPR-G) , but others may have recommendations for <$100 guns that work well with them. Remember, people have different expectations – what one calls good another may think is bad and vice versa. Shellac and WB poly need different tips and needles due to the different viscosities.

This and this might help some as a start with learning about guns and spraying. It’s a new set of knowledge and skills to acquire. It’s not that it is hard to do, but can seem little complicated at first.

I can’t emphasize enough – test, test, test. I create panels of the wood I’m going to finish, and then go through the entire finish schedule (a list of all steps and any blending of materials), from sanding through to the final finish, and keep notes. The notes are then put in a journal for future reference. I scrape of all finish and coloring and reuse the panels (handplanes and Stanley #80).

View Vedder's profile

Vedder

9 posts in 1055 days


#15 posted 03-21-2016 06:48 PM

Thank you for the advice. I of course will test and practice with anything I use

showing 1 through 15 of 17 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com