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Forum topic by noone posted 08-11-2012 03:24 AM 2894 views 0 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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noone

410 posts in 968 days


08-11-2012 03:24 AM

Ok, so I feel I have now been sufficiently broken into the cabinet construction world having just recently completed my first built-ins. Yeah, it was those two bookcase/cabinet combos flanking a window seat. It turned out excellent. I made my own shaker doors and fitted my doors flush inset. I finished it in an acrylic latex enamel that I sprayed using a couple of conversion HVLP guns. Zinser BIN primer with SW Pro Classic acrylic latex enamel topcoat. It came out almost perfectly smooth. I learned A LOT in this whole process from construction to finishing. What a time consuming but GREAT experience. Pictures will be posted in the other thread tomorrow.

But now I want to do a dark cabinet and i’m thinking ahead of how I should finish it. It’s going to be an espresso bathroom cabinet built in between two flanking walls. It’s a jack and jill bathroom between two bedrooms. I think I am going to do full overlay this time around.

Questions.

1. How can I finish this piece so it gets that perfectly smooth finish that is on my furniture? WB Lacquer? Stain? I am going to set up a spray booth in my garage this time around rather than spraying in situ, as I learned that spraying things in corners gives a lot more bounce back and makes your finish in those areas not as baby smooth as I like it.

2. This time around, I am going to buy my doors and drawer fronts. I’m thinking probably just non-raised panel doors, maybe mitered. Door vendor suggestions? rawdoors.net is one of the vendors I recall someone mentioned.

3. If I do full overlay doors and drawers, should I build frameless or 1.5” frame?

4. What kind of plywood and solid wood for the face frame (if applicable), should I buy? Birch ply with and veneer the edges if frameless? Maple doors? Cherry doors? What finishes the best in espresso?

5. I would like the bottom of the cabinet to have that obligatory curve in it like you see these days on most cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms. I assume these cabinets probably have a kick on them with the curved front detail. How do I make that? Is there a template I can use for my router table to cut these curved pieces?

Thanks in advance as always…...


33 replies so far

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noone

410 posts in 968 days


#1 posted 08-12-2012 02:28 PM

Bump?

Any cabinet makers out there who can give me some tips on finishing?

I’ve only used paint in finishing thus far, so I’m not well versed on how to do a finish as is shown in the example pics above. Is this a lacquer sanding sealer followed by a few coats of lacquer finish?

Thanks for the help.

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live4ever

983 posts in 1706 days


#2 posted 08-12-2012 03:23 PM

As far as a recommendation on cabinet door places, I ordered mahogany doors and drawer fronts from Scherr’s several years ago for our kitchen remodel and finished them myself in a reddish espresso similar to what you linked above. I chose mahogany because it takes dark stain well without blotching, which can sometimes be a problem on lighter woods. At the time I was just looking to avoid additional steps where I could screw up, though today I’d give a prestain conditioner step a go to prevent blotching and maybe go with maple, with the caveat that I would have to add back the “darkness” by tinting the topcoats (prestain conditioner evens your stain but doesn’t let it go as dark as you might want).

In order to get a reddish tint to the dark color, I used a “cordovan” stain. Some companies call this “merlot.” Then I spray finished with several coats of waterborne conversion varnish (Target Coatings EM2000). In order to darken the color further, I toned the first few finish coats with some Transtint black dye. This also has the added effect of blending the grain patterns a little more (how much clarity you want to the grain is a matter of personal taste and application). Note that my schedule wouldn’t have changed much, if any, if I was using a waterborne lacquer. For my applications the conversion varnish seemed to be a bit of a better choice, though slightly more expensive.

I’m also working on a bathroom vanity VERY similar to what you linked above where I’m going to use a similar finishing schedule to what I used before. I am no professional, but feel free to PM if you’d like more details.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

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noone

410 posts in 968 days


#3 posted 08-12-2012 03:36 PM

I actually don’t care too much about the reddish brown color. If its easier, I’d rather just have the dark brown color. For some reason, I thought the redness of the brown was just a side effect, not something that had to be worked toward to attain?

Would you mind listing out:

1. Steps to get the brown finish in lacquer, nice and shiny, the products used.

2. Steps to get the brown finisish in conversion varnish, nice and shiny, the products used.

What would be the reason to go with conversion varnish over lacquer? Would one use pre-cat lacquer?

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live4ever

983 posts in 1706 days


#4 posted 08-12-2012 03:59 PM

Here’s my finishing schedule. Again, I’m no pro, but this has worked well for me twice on mahogany. If I were to try this on a blotch-prone wood like cherry or maple, I’d use a prestain conditioner like Charles Neil’s product.

1) Pre-raise grain if you’ll be using waterborne stain (esp. important on solid wood…veneered ply doesn’t need it as badly but still a good idea) by brushing on water, sand back down with 400grit.

2) Brush on stain, wipe dry in ~5 minutes. In this context I have used Target Coatings WR4000 (cordovan) and General Finishes WB espresso (not reddish…just a brown-black). Let dry. Repeat if need to darken.

3) Light hand-sanding 400grit.

4) Sealer coat sprayed. 50% dilution of topcoat (Target Coatings EM2000 CV or EM6000 lacquer). Light hand sand with 400.

5) ~4-5 topcoats sprayed (EM2000 or EM6000) with a very light hand sand between coats to knock off dust nibs. If the color needs to be blackened, I use some Transtint black dye mixed into the first 2 coats (don’t remember exactly how much, but somewhere around a teaspoon per quart of finish…exact amount doesn’t matter as you’re kind of “spray-shading” to get the right darkness).

6) After final coat, wet sanding/polishing to taste working up through grits (600-4000 or even higher if you are really trying to get a mirror finish). I have found the Micromesh 3×4 pads really good for this. If you are wanting a shiny finish, then use semi-gloss or gloss for the topcoats. For cabinets semi-gloss probably looks better but that’s just my opinion.

As far as conversion varnish vs. lacquer, it’s a matter of personal choice. Waterborne conversion varnish has a little bit of a “warmer” glow than waterborne lacquer, and for me using waterborne was a must as I didn’t have a place to spray oil-based safely. Durability in a moist environment may favor the conversion varnish a bit over the lacquer if you’re doing an apples to apples comparison (at least that is what I was told as far as the Target Coatings products go).

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

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noone

410 posts in 968 days


#5 posted 08-12-2012 04:38 PM

Thanks for the step by step tutorial!! Excellent advice.

What made you have to spray waterborne? I think I will be spraying on my back deck this time around. Should I use solvent varnish or lacquer in this scenario? Does solvent based finish easier than waterborne or is it more durable? Obviously, i would use a respirator, just as I did when I sprayed paint in situ on my last project. I’m in Florida.

What wood would be best for CV? Cherry or maple? Would it be ok to use birch ply for the box and cherry or maple on the doors and drawers?

How do you finish your drawer boxes?

I will be using a gravity gun conversion HVLP. Do I use a 1.5 tip?

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live4ever

983 posts in 1706 days


#6 posted 08-12-2012 04:48 PM

I don’t like to spray outdoors because of the various crap that gets in the finish as it’s drying. The ideal place to spray fine finishes is indoors or in a shop where the dust is controlled and there is adequate ventilation. In my case, my shop is my garage, and there’s plenty of explosion hazards like pilot flames. So that’s why I do waterborne. Not to mention cleanup is easier. WB technology has come a long way in just a few years.

Cherry will probably take your dark stain a little better than the maple (less blotching). The wood doesn’t really matter for the topcoat. Birch ply would be fine for the box. Do yourself a favor and buy prefinished birch or maple plywood, especially if you don’t plan to stain the cabinet insides and drawer sides. It’s probably $10-20 more per sheet but completely worth it. Sure beats having to finish the inside parts of cabinetry.

You should be fine with 1.5mm. I have a Fuji HVLP and I’ve used #3 (1.0mm) and #4 (1.4mm) tips for this type of finishing.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

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noone

410 posts in 968 days


#7 posted 08-12-2012 04:55 PM

It sounds like I will need to make that spray booth for my garage. I was planning on buying 3 panels of that pink foam insulation and taping those together, using a box fan to ventilate it out to a window with a garage door open. Thoughts? The wife wanted me to save some money by spraying outside, but that never did see, smart to me.

I revised my earlier post a few times.

What wood should I use? Can I use maple or cherry for the drawer fronts and birch pky for the box?

How do you finish your drawer boxes?

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live4ever

983 posts in 1706 days


#8 posted 08-12-2012 05:05 PM

Outside could work fine…just depends on how much stuff is in the air where you are. I live on a busy street in a big city so there’s lots of road dust floating around in our outdoor spaces. Even if the air is dust free, there’s always the flying bugs that decide to get stuck in there. Can’t exactly sand those out like you can sand out the dust nibs.

I looked into building a spray booth. You’ve got the right idea there from what I’ve seen/read, but I have no experience. You don’t really need a spray booth if you decide to use waterborne finishes…still will need that respirator though.

I revised my previous post in response to your revision.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

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noone

410 posts in 968 days


#9 posted 08-12-2012 05:23 PM

If I could get by with buying a somewhat moveable powerful fan only, that’s a possibility too. I have a very large garage and would be able to utilize one of the car bays for a spray area. I would move the cars out of the garage first before spraying, I’m just wondering how much overspray would get on everything else.

What fan are you using in your garage? Care to share your setup? There is a gas driven hot water heater in my garage, that’s it. I would be at least 20 feet away from it.

Where can I buy pre-finished plywood? I am only experienced with buying Home Depot birch ply thus far. I have a Woodcraft near me. I don’t think the lumber yard I have been dealing with sells pre-finished ply. But how do things look on the cut edges of pre-finished ply after assembly? I probably want the insides of the cabinet finished where the doors open. Not sure what the standard is on the drawers. Do you finish those blonde? I know the dark espresso furniture we have has amber or blonde drawers. How do you finish your drawe boxes?

Thanks again for all the great info you have provided in this dialogue.

Keep in mind that this bath vanity will only have the front exposed. The left and right sides will be walls.

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live4ever

983 posts in 1706 days


#10 posted 08-12-2012 05:53 PM

No fan in my garage actually.

You can buy pre-fin ply at any good plywood dealer…you’re going to have to head to the places where the pros buy their plywood (basically, not HD). In my case, I have a good hardwood/plywood dealer about 45 minutes away.

Yes, you will want to edge the plywood if you don’t want to look at cut edges. You can finish the edging by brushing on some of the same product you use as a topcoat elsewhere and then sand up through the grits to get a smooth finish. Drawer boxes can also be finished with the same topcoat (e.g. varnish or lacquer), but I wouldn’t use oil-based in drawers because they continue smelling like the solvent long after it’s cured. Shellac is another simple, quick-drying finish for inside drawer boxes.

The color and the edges of your drawer boxes are a matter of personal preference and application. I have seen plenty of cabinetry with exposed plywood edges on the drawer sides (sanded and finished of course), and plenty that stain and finish drawer boxes the same as the outside. It just depends how “fine” a piece of furniture you are trying to make. For kitchen and bathroom cabinets, I think you’re ok keeping your plywood a natural blonde color. If this were a dining room buffet cabinet, I’d feel differently. But again, that’s MY preference. You (and your wife!) need to decide what will please/displease you. If you want the insides to be the same color as the fronts, you’ll have to go through the staining and finishing process for all of those parts. If you are ok with them being a natural color, then you’ll only need to finish those inside parts with topcoat, and like I said, pre-fin will save you so much time and effort.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

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noone

410 posts in 968 days


#11 posted 08-13-2012 02:45 AM

Thanks again. I was actually wondering how things look when you join cut edges of the pre finished together. I don’t know but I was thinking it would not look so great. I guess if you are real careful about tearout, there wouldn’t be an issue. But then what about exposed edges? Is there matching veneer tape?

I’m wondering if I can get away with the birch ply with veneered edging and the just stain and finish the inside of the box where the cabinet doors are. My vanity is going to have drawers on both sides with doors in the middle. Two sink vanity, 55” wide. I’m thinking I may need to make a few fake drawers to accommodate the sink plumbing.

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live4ever

983 posts in 1706 days


#12 posted 08-13-2012 07:16 AM

You can get prefinished veneer tape in a variety of colors/woods. Many online suppliers sell it, such as Woodworker’s Hardware or A&H Turf.

Your plan would work fine.

Our vanity is going to be 52” and the wife and I are going back and forth between one sink or two.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

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noone

410 posts in 968 days


#13 posted 08-13-2012 11:18 AM

Thanks. I really think one sink will fit right for a bathroom this size, but the wife thinks otherwise. Sigh.

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noone

410 posts in 968 days


#14 posted 08-14-2012 01:19 AM

Any ideas where I can buy some decent plywood and perhaps some cherry cove molding locally? Where do cabinet makers buy their goods from? I’m in Jacksonville FL.

I tried a few local lumberyards, but they were not much help. The best they had to offer in the way of plywood was what I can buy from Home Depot. I still would like to know where the million dollar+ house carpenters buy their trim and moulding.

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noone

410 posts in 968 days


#15 posted 08-17-2012 03:50 PM

What kind of stain do you use? Waterborne? Brand? Which color is best to achieve an espresso color? Can you spray a waterborne stain?

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