Put a finish on a drawer??

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Forum topic by GSwoodworker posted 08-05-2010 02:02 AM 1106 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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08-05-2010 02:02 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question pine finishing

I am finishing a hall table and I made the 2 drawers from pine. There will be false fronts that are oak and a finished on them but should I put a coat of poly on the drawer sides, back and bottom? The only other drawers that I have built were plywood and some maple drawers for a dresser and I know not to finish them. Maybe a coat of wax?

4 replies so far

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#1 posted 08-05-2010 02:33 AM


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Scott Bryan

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#2 posted 08-05-2010 04:26 AM

This topic will split about 50:50 between leaving the drawers alone and putting a finish on them. I put a finish on all surfaces when I build a table or cabinet. Putting a finish on the drawers takes a little more time but it is just something that I choose to do. There is no right or wrong here, as far as I can find. It just is a matter of personal preference.

A number of respondents do not like using oil base poly due to the odor. If odor is a problem then certainly shellac, as Randy suggests, water base poly or wax will work.

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

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#3 posted 08-05-2010 04:37 AM

What Scott said.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

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#4 posted 08-05-2010 06:19 AM

I also put a finish on all surfaces of anything I make. That includes drawers (inside, bottom and back), the backs of bookcases and the bottoms of tables. If you want woodwork to last then you have to seal all the exposed wood. I’ve refinished a lot of old pieces of furniture that looked great until you opened the drawers – the insides of the drawers were unfinished and after 40-50 years no amount of sanding is going to remove what has soaked into the unprotected wood.

As for oil-based poly, I have found nothing, repeat, nothing that is quite as durable or resistant to anything I throw at it. Shellac is pretty, but alcohol dissolves it, so things like perfume and even Nyquil will destroy the finish. How many white water rings have you had to clean? Oil-based poly doesn’t care. Water-based poly, ptui! I’ve tried what everyone says is the best (multiple times – nobody is in perfect agreement what is the best) and I’ve never had a finish I’ve been happy with and it just isn’t as durable. I refinished my bedroom floors 20 years ago with oil-based poly and they still look new. My son has a bookcase my father and I made when I went to college 35 years ago – simple 3/4 knotty pine shelving, stained and finished with oil-based poly (back and bottom too – I learned that from my father). We recently resurrected it from the ex’s basement, washed it down with soap and water and the finish still looks great! As for smell, let it air-dry, completely exposed, for a couple weeks before putting it into service. It really isn’t hard until a week after you apply it anyway.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

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