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Do you finish the rarely seen parts of your projects?

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Forum topic by derrickparks57 posted 03-24-2016 03:51 PM 754 views 1 time favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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derrickparks57

128 posts in 1339 days


03-24-2016 03:51 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question finishing

I always find this to be an interesting topic between woodworkers. Do you finish every surface of your projects exactly the same, or do you skimp out on the unseen sections?

For Example:
If you build a table do you finish the underside exactly as the top, do you give it less coats than the top, or do you leave it unfinished?

If you build a cabinet of some sort does the inside of it get the same treatment as the outside? What about the drawers?

As for me I always apply at least 1 coat of whatever clear coat I’m using to the unseen sections sometimes more than 1 coat depending on how it absorbs. Whether I stain the unseen sections depends on what the project is. My theory is if it’s gonna see normal wear and tear from usage than it gets the same amount of coats for durability (inside of drawers for example).

What do you guys do?

-- Derrick, Florida, DP Woodwerks


19 replies so far

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1063 posts in 1457 days


#1 posted 03-24-2016 04:09 PM

All surfaces should be fully sealed, but dont have to be finished, to equalize moisture movement. Not as important if using ply, but still good practice. Definitely seal the underside of a top, and all surfaces of a panel glue up. Its easy enough to do and I cant think of a good reason not to. I like a nice finish inside drawers, and a slick finish on the outside for sliding guides/runners.

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Cooler

277 posts in 311 days


#2 posted 03-24-2016 04:10 PM

I always seal the reverse side of a piece of stock or risk warping. I often use Sealcoat for this as it dries very quickly.

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

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a1Jim

115207 posts in 3045 days


#3 posted 03-24-2016 05:59 PM

Ditto what OSU said

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4859 posts in 2281 days


#4 posted 03-24-2016 06:09 PM

I seal, recoat, buff and polish everything. I smile when I do it because this is what separates factory work from one-of-a-kind pieces.

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

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CB_Cohick

460 posts in 719 days


#5 posted 03-24-2016 06:51 PM

Since I am the woodworker, I finish all the parts I see :-) And I agree with Willie, it is one of the things that separates it from a factory piece.

-- Chris - Would work, but I'm too busy reading about woodwork.

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splintergroup

832 posts in 690 days


#6 posted 03-24-2016 06:58 PM

I tend to do every surface equally, especially if I finish before I assemble. Drawer interiors tend to only get wax or shellac, other finishes often release fumes into closed spaces for some time after applying. This can make items placed in the drawers also smell.

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JBrow

822 posts in 388 days


#7 posted 03-24-2016 07:23 PM

derrickparks57,

I sand, finish, and otherwise treat the entire project as if it will be seen. The one exception is a cabinet that will be affixed to the wall. The only thing I do not do on the never seen backside of the back and lower surface of the bottom on a permanently affixed cabinet is sometimes not knocking the finish back between applied coats.

The only reasons I can see to treat unseen parts differently are to save some time, a little extra effort and/or maybe save a dollar or two on finish. These savings are not especially important to me. But then woodworking is a hobby, the wife is the client, and while no one else would know, I would and it would bug me to no end.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

22052 posts in 1806 days


#8 posted 03-24-2016 07:41 PM

Rule of thumb, all sides finished. Some may not get the fine finish, but finish none the less.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View derrickparks57's profile

derrickparks57

128 posts in 1339 days


#9 posted 03-25-2016 03:52 PM

All these responses are what I expected to hear from you guys. I’m in a woodworking group on the book of faces and someone asked this question. I responded and was overwhelmed by the amount of people who said that if it isn’t gonna be seen then it doesn’t need finishing. Heck even one guy said he doesn’t even sand those areas…...

-- Derrick, Florida, DP Woodwerks

View jbay's profile

jbay

820 posts in 367 days


#10 posted 03-25-2016 04:04 PM

Some people think that doing extra separates the pro from the factory, reality is not everything has to have a finish and somethings your just wasting your time and money doing them.
I see no benefit from sealing the outside of a base cabinet that is going to go against a wall.
Maybe that puts me into the garage mentality, so be it.

-- My “MO” involves Judging others, playing God, acting as LJs law enforcement, and never admitting any of my ideas could possibly be wrong or anyone else's idea could possibly be correct -- (A1Jim)

View AZWoody's profile

AZWoody

700 posts in 692 days


#11 posted 03-25-2016 04:07 PM



All these responses are what I expected to hear from you guys. I m in a woodworking group on the book of faces and someone asked this question. I responded and was overwhelmed by the amount of people who said that if it isn t gonna be seen then it doesn t need finishing. Heck even one guy said he doesn t even sand those areas…...

- derrickparks57

Actually, I don’t sand the unseen areas. I might do a quick rough sanding but just enough to make sure the finish can cover the area. I just do rough sprays or brushing to make sure it’s sealed but I don’t sand the finishes or worry about making it pristine as I would any part that would show.

Go look at old furniture that was done by the “old masters” you’ll see lots of unseen areas that have no finish whatsoever and off grade woods, etc.

View Bluepine38's profile

Bluepine38

3341 posts in 2553 days


#12 posted 03-25-2016 04:36 PM

Reminds of the anecdote about a sculptor and an observer who asked the sculptor why he was taking such care
finishing the back of a statue when no one would see it. The sculptor replied “The gods will see it.” or to
paraphrase, my conscience will bother me if I do not do it right, it does not matter what others have done, or
will do, only what I should do.

-- As ever, Gus-the 77 yr young apprentice carpenter

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derrickparks57

128 posts in 1339 days


#13 posted 03-25-2016 05:15 PM



Some people think that doing extra separates the pro from the factory, reality is not everything has to have a finish and somethings your just wasting your time and money doing them.
I see no benefit from sealing the outside of a base cabinet that is going to go against a wall.
Maybe that puts me into the garage mentality, so be it.

- jbay

I agree, I see no need to finish the parts of a cabinet that will be hidden and not seen. But there’s no worries about wood movement when your using plywood for the carcass of the cabinets. I would still hit them with a sander though.

-- Derrick, Florida, DP Woodwerks

View biggeorge50's profile

biggeorge50

14 posts in 1659 days


#14 posted 03-25-2016 06:28 PM

I finish all parts of a project, whether seen or not. I don’t use plywood so I want to prevent warping, and I also wouldn’t feel right if I left some areas unfinished.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4037 posts in 1819 days


#15 posted 03-25-2016 07:29 PM

I don’t completely finish everything to the same degree. For instance I don’t sand the undersides of tables to the same degree as the top. I will seal everything the same and give one coat of finish to the underside, where as the top might have 4 or more coats. I do not finish unseen parts of plywood at all, that is just a waste. I also distinguish between seen parts, lesser seen parts, and completely unseen parts. An example of lesser seen parts is the interior of kitchen cabinets. The interior certainly needs to be finished but not to the same degree of refinement as the exterior and the doors. If I am putting 4 coats of finish on the exterior and doors, I would 3 on the inside. Why, because nobody cares, once the shelves are loaded no one ever looks at the finish and it is also quite a bit darker, so minor finishing flaws don’t show up. I always think about the application, what parts need the most attention and which parts can get by with less, especially in a commercial setting where the customer is going to be more concerned about price than whether the undersides of shelves have exactly the same coats of finish as the doors.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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