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Finishing and final assembly technique quesion

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Forum topic by lumberjoe posted 05-23-2012 04:38 PM 1789 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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lumberjoe

2893 posts in 1715 days


05-23-2012 04:38 PM

For every project I have done up until the last one, I sand everything down to the final grit, assemble, then finish. On the last project, I actually finished each individual piece before assembly/after a dry fit. Anywhere glue would be used I taped off and was sure to sand off any finish that made it under the tape. This was very time consuming, but worked very well for me. I produced my best quality (I hate the color, but that was the wife’s call) finish to date. I had no runs, drips, blotches, buildup , or bare/under finished spots. The finish was extremely uniform and even. This also made glue-up a lot easier as the squeeze out doesn’t stick to finish and was easily removed.

Am I going to have any issues with this method as far as stability? Is this even recommended, or is it something most advise against? I can say it is much more time consuming, but I am willing to put in the effort if the results warrant so.

-- https://pinepointwoodworks.wordpress.com/


10 replies so far

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lumberjoe

2893 posts in 1715 days


#1 posted 05-23-2012 04:41 PM

One thing I will mention is the final finish coat went on after it was assembled. It’s impossible not to get a few nicks and scratches when fitting really tight pieces together.

-- https://pinepointwoodworks.wordpress.com/

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Tennessee

2410 posts in 1981 days


#2 posted 05-23-2012 04:47 PM

That’s fine, if you have the patience. For me, I tried to learn to make sure I had no glue squeeze-out. I do most of my sanding before assembly. Staining, save for multi-colored pieces, I do after glueup. I finish pieces in one piece, save for doors and such. My guitars are a one piece body, with a second piece being the wooden pickguard which is screwed into it’s inlay, so they are finished separately, as is the neck which is bolt on. My last project for my wife, a large breadbox, I finished it as one piece save for the door.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

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lumberjoe

2893 posts in 1715 days


#3 posted 05-23-2012 04:52 PM

I do finish everything at the same time to ensure color continuity. My issue now is planning better. I need to plan my cuts so glue-ups come out of the same board to ensure I get grain and color continuity. This also factors into sizing the lumber correctly when I buy it. I am building some small tables out of oak now and I notice the legs and skirts have slightly different colors

-- https://pinepointwoodworks.wordpress.com/

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AJLastra

87 posts in 1695 days


#4 posted 05-23-2012 04:56 PM

Joe

Any time you can prefinish pieces before assembly, make the effort to do so. I use the method you describe all the time. Mask off the areas that will be glued so glue doesnt get into the joints. What I accepted a long time ago is that a finish isnt “finished” until AFTER you rub it out. No finish will be acceptable right off the brush or gun unless you are fortunate enough to be able to work in a finishing environment that is absolutely perfect: no airborne dust, contaminants, perfect humidity and temp. Most of us simply dont work in such an environment. I make antique reproduction furniture primarily. I prefinish all the pieces first because it is soooooo much easier to rub out the different components while the piece is disassembled. sure, when putting it together, you have to be careful to avoid the light scratch here or there but that’s taken into account when I put the piece all together. It DOES take more time. But I make money with my woodworking part time so I try to present as perfect a piece as I can humanly produce for the gallery I build for. I also feel that way for anything I make for family and friends. I think we call it PRIDE in our craftsmanship. I did a piece once where every part of it, top, legs, stretchers, aprons, had to be rubbed out to gloss because that was what the customer wanted. Talk about WORK!!!!!!! I had to assemble the entire piece while it rested on a huge moving blanket because I had to protect that finish from even a slight scratch. It was like handling dynamite!

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lumberjoe

2893 posts in 1715 days


#5 posted 05-23-2012 05:19 PM

Thanks AJLastra. This did take me at least double the time it would have if I assembled then finished, but the results were far better than I expected or could have mustered if I assembled then finished. I also had a few moving blankets on the floor and finishing table and covered my clamp blocks in terrycloth. I did have a scratch on the inside from sliding in a shelf, but the shelf hides it so I didn’t have to touch it up.

Any other tips to avoid tool marks or accidental damage when assembling?

-- https://pinepointwoodworks.wordpress.com/

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lumberjoe

2893 posts in 1715 days


#6 posted 05-23-2012 05:23 PM

Paul, squeeze out is a big problem for me. I brush my glue on and make sure I have a very thin, even coat but I always get some (or a lot) of squeeze out. Any tips to prevent it?

-- https://pinepointwoodworks.wordpress.com/

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a1Jim

115202 posts in 3043 days


#7 posted 05-23-2012 05:27 PM

I think prefinishing areas that are hard to reach makes a lot of sense,I do it all the time,but I usually finish the outside after everything is together so I don’t have to do it twice touching up where clamps were or other assembly nicks or marring.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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woodsyguy81

22 posts in 1611 days


#8 posted 07-23-2012 06:50 PM

Great advice here. I am building a large, full wall entertainment center/storage/bookcase and just finished the carcasses. Before I get ready to build the face frames, I’m going to pre-stain and poly the interior pieces while they’re easy to get to, be mindful of the ends where the face frames are being attached. This is my first time pre-finishing, but it sounds like it may be the better way to go.

-- Loving the outdoors since 1981!

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lumberjoe

2893 posts in 1715 days


#9 posted 07-23-2012 06:56 PM

I am 100% sold on pre-finishing. My finishes come out 100% better than they did before. It does add some time and complexity, but I won’t finish any other way now.

-- https://pinepointwoodworks.wordpress.com/

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BentheViking

1763 posts in 2030 days


#10 posted 07-25-2012 01:23 AM

When I was building windows and doors we primed everything that was going to get covered by other wood, particularly end grains before we fit it all together. Not quite done for the same reason your doing it, but still kinda plays into the topic.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

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