Paint Panels before Rails and Stiles?

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Forum topic by jcyphert posted 11-10-2016 08:14 PM 602 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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34 posts in 1021 days

11-10-2016 08:14 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cabinetry paint

My wife wants me to paint the new kitchen I’m building her. Due to the ash beetle, I have a surplus of it I got for next to nothing. Please refrain from reminding me about the whole painting wood sin…

Anyhow, My question is: Considering ash is one of the species with the least amount of movement, do I still need to paint it before the rails and stiles? It was recommended to do so for expansion/contraction of the panel so that we don’t have edges without paint. I guess my concern is will the paint throw off the fit of the panel due to the paint thickness? Would it be better to make a single pass around the parameter “stick” of the panel and paint the rest after assembly?

Also, is there a type of paint that one would recommend over another?

I’m new to the cabinetry department so any advice (aside from divorce) is appreciated.

6 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17683 posts in 3155 days

#1 posted 11-10-2016 08:27 PM

Id spray them after assembly. If you cope and stick properly (which isn’t as easy as youd think) the joints will be good and tight and I think your paint may throw that off. Id also be a little worried about the paint interfering with the glue in the joint as well as marring it during clamping. You’ve got to move pretty quickly gluing them up and id hate to worry about dinging up a fresh paint job while under the gun.

Just my 2 cents worth though.

As to paint I had good luck with BM advanced. It takes a while to cure but it was pretty tough stuff once fully cured.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Cooler's profile


299 posts in 992 days

#2 posted 11-10-2016 08:56 PM

I would paint the panels. Expansion and contraction cycles can reveal the unpainted parts that are hidden in the rails and stiles. I’ve seen this in kitchen displays. Personally I would apply one coat of the final finish. If you are priming, then the primer plus the final finish.

-- 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.

View CampD's profile


1715 posts in 3635 days

#3 posted 11-10-2016 09:14 PM

I prime my panels before assembly, to take it a step further you can tint the primer to match the finished color. I spray on a thin thinned on coat. Give them a quick sand before assembly, saves much aggravation.

-- Doug...

View AandCstyle's profile


3165 posts in 2406 days

#4 posted 11-10-2016 10:42 PM

J, I always finish panels before assembly. Yes, it avoids an unfinished edge showing with seasonal movement, but more importantly, the finish prevents any glue that might touch a panel from sticking to the panel which might cause future catastrophe. FWIW

-- Art

View jcyphert's profile


34 posts in 1021 days

#5 posted 11-10-2016 11:01 PM

Thanks for the feedback. With a painted panel, do you need to wait to cope the rails or is there enough play in the panel that it fits with the original 1/8 inch extra?

View cabmaker's profile


1740 posts in 2958 days

#6 posted 11-11-2016 12:00 AM

jcyphert….I have and still fab quite a few cope and stick doors.

have done so since 1984 when i got my first shaper.

I do the finish on approx 75% of what i build.

some paint, some stain

I have never once pre finished a panel before assembly.

I can only recall a couple of minor holidays showing up over these years.

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