Question about the Finishing Sequence in a Project

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Forum topic by SeaWitch posted 11-13-2011 07:27 PM 969 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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149 posts in 2388 days

11-13-2011 07:27 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi, I’m confused about something and I hope you folks can educate me.

I’m a rookie and I’m building a big built-in bookcase project. 35 lineal feet on 3 walls. I’d like to build and finish everything in the shop (a little at a time) and install as the pieces are finished. But the face frame can’t be installed until each section is already in place.

So do I finish all parts except the face frame, then install everything but the face frame, then fit the unfinished face frame, then take it back to the shop and finish it, then install it finished onto the already finished bookcases? Is that right?

Same question about the base and crown moldings. Do I fit them, then go back and finish them, then install them? Or do I just fit everything in place, install, and then finish it where it sits in place?

-- When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.”   Theodore Roosevelt

5 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4928 posts in 3954 days

#1 posted 11-13-2011 09:51 PM

Is the face frame a one piece unit? Most prefinish, but the install may require a different technique. Any pics of drawings that will help us answer.


View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3068 days

#2 posted 11-13-2011 10:00 PM

I probably don’t know enough about your situation to give you a really good answer.

Nonetheless, based on what I have read, I think I would finish everything except the face frame and install it. Then I would fit the face frame and finish it in place.

On of my reasons for saying this is that I assume you will attach the face frame with finishing nails or brads. You may want to set the nails (or brads) in place and fill in the holes with wood filler. Then you would sand it smooth before finishing. That will not be an option if you pre-finish the face frame.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View SeaWitch's profile


149 posts in 2388 days

#3 posted 11-13-2011 10:36 PM

Thanks Bill and Rich. Rich just answered my question. That was exactly what I was worried about. If I want to fill the holes, how can I do that after it’s finished? The answer is, you can’t. THANK YOU. I get it now.

-- When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.”   Theodore Roosevelt

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3887 days

#4 posted 11-13-2011 10:58 PM

nothing I like more then seeing nail holes

why not use pocket screws and pre-done biscuits with masking to tape to hold the face from on until the glue is dry ?

nail holes…………4 ever staring at you

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View MNgary's profile


298 posts in 2411 days

#5 posted 11-14-2011 12:30 AM

If the built-in is for a house with stained and varnished woodwork, I would consider pre-staining as the project progresses and waiting to varnish until after completely installed.

This makes it easier to hide the installation fasteners and repair nicks and dings that happen between installing the first and last components.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

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