Pre-finishing projects

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Forum topic by jstewart posted 09-14-2008 05:36 AM 1248 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View jstewart's profile


141 posts in 4267 days

09-14-2008 05:36 AM

Topic tags/keywords: stain poly finishing pre-finishing

I’m in the process of making a nice TV stand for my living room. I have made some good progress, but still have a ways to go. Before long, I will need to start deciding what I want to do about finishing the project. I was thinking about pre-finishing as much as possible before doing the final assembly & glue-up. Are there any general guidelines I should follow? I know I should be careful not to stain any surfaces that should have glue applied later. Anything else? Should I just do the stain early, then do poly after the final assembly? Any reason I would need to do any poly on the bottom sides of shelves or on the back of the unit?

Also, my most recent project used just a standard MinWax wipe on stain. I was thinking about trying something different like a gel stain. Any suggestions, warnings, advice?

-- Joshua, Olathe, Kansas

4 replies so far

View SteveKorz's profile


2139 posts in 3890 days

#1 posted 09-14-2008 06:43 AM

Here is a start...

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View RobH's profile


465 posts in 4225 days

#2 posted 09-14-2008 12:34 PM


I prefer to do all the finishing I can before I put the project together. This includes polyurethane. I find it much easier to work with the parts when they are smaller.

As for the areas that you need to glue later, I would definitely tape them off with some blue painters tape before starting. This will ensure that you do not get anything on your glue surfaces. It will also allow you to go a little faster since you can be a little sloppier

One of my pet peeves is the parts of the unit that you cannot see. Let me start by saying that I do not always follow my own advice here. I have plenty of pieces that have no finish on the hidden areas. However, I do not consider them my finer pieces. I consider them to be utilitarian pieces. The being said, I think all fine furniture should have finish on all sides of the every part. Fine furniture or not, this is essential on all solid wood panels.

As far as trying something new, try something new on a box, or something small, not on something large like a TV stand. On something like this, I would stick with something I knew.

Good luck on the project, cannot wait to it posted here,

-- -- Rob Hix, King George, VA

View jstewart's profile


141 posts in 4267 days

#3 posted 09-15-2008 12:07 AM

I’ve got some blue painters tape just sitting around waiting for somebody to use it. I’ll make sure to put it to work in this project.

Thanks for the help, guys.

-- Joshua, Olathe, Kansas

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3920 days

#4 posted 09-15-2008 02:11 AM

I do most of my sanding prior to assembly, but I don’t finish. Mainly because even the sanding has to be touched up after assembly, due to bumps and scrapes. The same would go with your finish, and some finishes aren’t very well adapted to touch ups. I also think it’s easier to get a uniform finish, if you’re using stain, when the piece is all together.
That’s my $0.02 worth.

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