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TV Console, should I stain before assembly

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Forum topic by Michigander posted 05-13-2012 03:59 PM 3027 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Michigander

214 posts in 1884 days


05-13-2012 03:59 PM

I am making a TV Concole 60”w x 27”h x 23” d. The box is 3/4” cherry plywood and I’ll be adding a cherry face frame and solid curly cherry top. I am planning to use Charles Neil’s Precolor conditioner and blotch control as the plywood is paticularly prone to blotching. I will stain with General Finish water based die stain in vintage cherry. I haven’t chosen a finish coat but am open to ideas.
I was thinking that it would be much easier to condition and stain everything before assembly as all surfaces would be flat so no issues with runs etc. Does it makes sense to do the stain first or am I going to create more problems than I save.
I’ve never done a project this large so am a bit intimidated. Or am I just paranoid??
Thanks for your help.
John


12 replies so far

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Michigander

214 posts in 1884 days


#1 posted 05-14-2012 01:13 AM

What—nobody has an opinion?????
John

View Sawkerf's profile

Sawkerf

1730 posts in 2534 days


#2 posted 05-14-2012 01:24 AM

I completely assemble my projects – including doors, drawers, shelves, hardware, etc – before they go for stain and finish. This lets me find and fix any problems before having to deal with a finished piece.

When I’m happy with the assembly, it gets disassembled for staining and finishing. That means that everything not permanently attached (i.e. faceframes) gets removed. This way, the only really large piece I have to deal with is the carcass. Tops, doors, drawer fronts, trim, etc are easily laid out flat for stain and finish. Hardware (knobs, pulls, hinges, drawer glides, etc) is packaged up and set aside.

When the stain/finsh has thoroughly dried, I reassemble as necessary for easy delivery to the customer.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

View MNgary's profile

MNgary

295 posts in 1882 days


#3 posted 05-15-2012 04:26 AM

Don’t let the scope of your project intimidate you, Michigander. It’s just a bunch of little projects adding up to the big one. Your staining approach is one I regularly use.

After dry-fitting the pieces I dye, stain, assemble, then apply the protecting finish. But I tape the inside of dados and mortises first. For pieces fitting into dados (e.g., drawer dividers or shelves in a bookcase) I cut 1/4 inch strips of sandpaper and rubber cement onto the 3/8 inch side of a 3/8×1 inch cutout on one edge of a 6” long block to scuff most of the stained portion fitting into a dado.

An exception would be face frames, I assemble the unit and then dye and stain, but before attaching to the carcass. I don’t stain the edges that will be covered by the face frame.

However, I wait until the piece is assembled before putting on a protective coat of shellac, poly, or even just paste wax.

I know you didn’t ask about this, but I usually apply a light coat of yellow aniline dye before staining cherry. Gives a warmer look to the finished project and helps accentuate grain patterns—in my opinion. Try it on some scraps and see what you think.

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

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile

TCCcabinetmaker

930 posts in 1820 days


#4 posted 05-15-2012 04:33 AM

I rarely stain first, it depends on what stain I’m using, if I’m using a dye stain then I may very well stain first, if I’m using the much more forgiving pigment stains, then hard lines won’t be formed in corners and I don’t have to stain first. See the problem with pre-finishing is that stain and finishes tend to block glue penetration and thus diminishes bonding strengths, I have worked at a company that pretty much always did pre-stain, but to be honest, some of their methods I stopped paying any attention to once I started working for myself, as they are unnecessary and tend to be problematic ( though they were totally unaware of it.)

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View Michigander's profile

Michigander

214 posts in 1884 days


#5 posted 05-15-2012 02:19 PM

Thanks guys for the input. I have some questions:
MNgary, The box is comprised of 6 pieces of plywood. The ends will be kreg screwed on to the bottom (with glue), but no dado or mortice, so I propose the inside ends will be stained completely because there is no defined line where to quit staining. Do I need to rout a thin dado to remove the stain? Also, the 2 inside panels will be dadoed into slots, so it should be easy to prevent stain from reaching the glue surfaces. Is tape good enough protection?
Also, I have some Solar-Lux Lemon Yellow, do you think this is OK; how diluted—like lemonaid or lighter than that?
Appreciate your input.
John

View MNgary's profile

MNgary

295 posts in 1882 days


#6 posted 05-16-2012 07:10 AM

I think using a router will remove some wood so the joint would be too loose. I just scuff the stain with sandpaper to remove maybe 40% of the stain.. If the dado is 3/8 inch deep I would use some 220 grit paper on 1/4 inch in from ends of the shelf. If you cut out 3/8×1 inch on one edge of a scrap of 2×4 and glue a quarter inch wide strip of sandpaper in the cutout it goes fast and you will leave enough of the shelf stained to just go into the dado.

When I say scuff I don’t sand all the way thru the stain so 100% wood is showing. Have to keep the fit tight.

Color: darker than lemonade. More like the skin on a lemon. I haven’t used SolarLux so don’t have a ratio of stain to water for you. Be sure to use scraps and then you could try different strengths.

I usr 3M painters tape. Doesn’t create a problem if there is a little bleed through. You can always experiment with a couple leftover pieces of plywood, too.

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

View Michigander's profile

Michigander

214 posts in 1884 days


#7 posted 05-17-2012 11:58 PM

MNGary, thanks for the input. The color help is greatly appreciated. Solarlux needs to be thinned apparently with a their own thinner, so I need to find that as the stuff in the bottle is almost orange. I am going to stain unassembled so I appreciate all your suggestions.
Thanks,
John

View Michigander's profile

Michigander

214 posts in 1884 days


#8 posted 05-31-2012 01:10 PM

Hi Guys, I took MNgary’s advice to try a light coat of yellow aniline dye before staining cherry. I mixed up a batch of Transtint #6000 amber to full strength and applied it over 2 coats of Charles Neil’s pre stain conditioner. It was shockingly yellow, but I went ahead and finished the test boards. I put on a coat of General Finish water based dye (Vintage Cherry) over that. I think it turned out beautiful. Good color and not too dark.
Now I need to find a top coat and need your recommendations. I was thinking of using a gel varnish, but am concerned there might not be enough protection. I have no spray equipment so it needs to be a wipe-on or a brush-on. I think rattle can laquer would be too expensive considering the size of this cabinet. I would appreciate your recommendations.
Thanks,
John

View KarenW's profile

KarenW

131 posts in 1653 days


#9 posted 05-31-2012 01:32 PM

I definitely wouldn’t use spray can lacquer – besides being expensive, that stuff is very thin and would require multiple coats (as in 8-10 minimum). It also has a habit of blushing on humid days with multiple coats. Don’t get me wrong, lacquer is something I use on a daily basis unless a customer requests something else but the only thing I keep canned lacquer for is small touch-ups.
You can brush on lacquer however. It dries fairly quick, can be recoated without too much of a wait time, sands nicely before the topcoat and any mistakes are easily fixed.

-- Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best. --Theodore I. Rubin

View Michigander's profile

Michigander

214 posts in 1884 days


#10 posted 05-31-2012 04:40 PM

Karen, thanks for the input on spray lacquer. As for brush on lacquer, there seems to be numerous types to choose from. Do you have a recommendation? As I am doing this project in my basement, I would prefer to use a water based product. Is there a Water based Lacquer?
Thanks,
John

View KarenW's profile

KarenW

131 posts in 1653 days


#11 posted 05-31-2012 07:34 PM

General Finish makes a WB lacquer called Enduro. I’ve never brushed it (I only shoot) so I can’t tell you how it performs with a brush. But if water based is your requirement there are several out there that should do ya OK. Rustoleum has a WB poly. Minwax has an oil modified WB product and also a polyacrylic (I’ve used both and prefer the polyacrylic myself).
Deft is what I use the most of but if you’re in a basement I’ll warn you about the smell—it’s POTENT. Most people can’t be around my shop when I’m using it so if you use that, make sure you have very good ventilation – fresh air in, shop air out.

Good luck on the finishing!

-- Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best. --Theodore I. Rubin

View woodsyguy81's profile

woodsyguy81

22 posts in 1610 days


#12 posted 07-24-2012 05:23 PM

I’m in the same sort of boat. I’m putting together a six piece entertainment center (only my second major project) and I’m at the point where I finished the cases and will be moving on to the face frames and doors/drawers. I decided, based on some posts, that prefinishing the inside would be easier since it’s wide open and easier to get to. Glue or joining areas will be kept free of finish and I’ll put the final coat of poly on the entire thing when it’s assembled to ensure a consistent and smooth finish. I know what you mean about the large size and intimidation! One step at a time…

-- Loving the outdoors since 1981!

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