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Forum topic by SouthHollow posted 02-21-2013 06:55 PM 855 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SouthHollow

66 posts in 1228 days


02-21-2013 06:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question cabinetry bookcase finishing

I’m working on a built in book-case and realized that I haven’t really thought through when to finish vs install.

I’m hoping for advice on what sort of stain to use, and equally important – when to do it.

Currently I’ve got the case carcasses built.

I’m going to build a base and then trim it on the porch. There will be a single piece of wood / countertop that extends all the way across the top of both cabinets. (Please excuse my extremely limited photoshop skills)

My questions are:

1) Should I go ahead and stain/finish the inside of the case before putting it into position and installing the trim / facing, or should I wait to do all of the finishing until it is fully in place with moulding and trim and stuff.

2) Any recommendations for a simple finish. The plywood is home-depot tiger-ply and I haven’t decided on what to use for the trim/facing/moulding. The one factor, that I’m not sure if it matters, is that the book-case will get a massive amount of sunlight.

Any advice would be deeply appreciated, as I’ve never done any of this before. So far on this project I’ve managed to cut my first dado & rabbit joints and hopefully first adjustable shelves in a project. LJ has been an amazing resource, and I couldn’t have done it without everything I’ve learned on this site.

-- Alex, Los Angeles


14 replies so far

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile

TCCcabinetmaker

925 posts in 1102 days


#1 posted 02-21-2013 06:58 PM

1. match the wooden door in the corner of the picture, just in this case contrast wouldn’t be good.
2. the power receptical in the corner… it’s kinda something you’re not supposed to cover up.

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

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SouthHollow

66 posts in 1228 days


#2 posted 02-21-2013 07:01 PM

Good catch on the power outlet. I’m planning to do a cut-out for it once I start getting everything into position.

The door came with the house, any ideas on the finish? (I’ve really never done any sort of finish work before)

-- Alex, Los Angeles

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2396 days


#3 posted 02-21-2013 07:03 PM

finish → install

you can finish this on your workbench do you won’t have to bend and stoop to get all this work and reach all those corners. let dry/cure, then install in place.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile

TCCcabinetmaker

925 posts in 1102 days


#4 posted 02-21-2013 07:04 PM

I really can’t tell the color of the door from that picture, it’s orangish I think, but I can’t say for sure. Orange stains are typically going to be colonial maple, there’s a few others, but as far as brands of materials I don’t want to open that can of worms.

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

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

4488 posts in 1127 days


#5 posted 02-21-2013 07:08 PM

Yeah I agree, finish then install (touch up if necessary). What an awkward place for an outlet. A UV resistant varnish will help protect against sunlight.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View SouthHollow's profile

SouthHollow

66 posts in 1228 days


#6 posted 02-21-2013 07:11 PM

TCCcabinetmaker – Thank you – It’s really an unfair question to try and judge color in the photo, I appreciate your attempt.

Rick M. – You’re not wrong, there are a bunch of really odd choices in the house when it comes to electrical. Thankfully it had all been wired properly… just switches and outlets in weird places.

-- Alex, Los Angeles

View SnowyRiver's profile

SnowyRiver

51450 posts in 2228 days


#7 posted 02-21-2013 07:16 PM

I would finish and install too.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1479 posts in 1108 days


#8 posted 02-21-2013 08:08 PM

I vote for a painted finish instead of a stain. I use flat latex wall paint topped with gloss waterborne poly floor finish. Check my projects for an example of one I recently finished.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View SouthHollow's profile

SouthHollow

66 posts in 1228 days


#9 posted 02-25-2013 04:38 AM

Well, I’m in the midst of testing finishes… (I haven’t actually attempted to sand and finish a woodworking project since high-school shop class, so I’m taking it slow, and doing lots of tests.)

I can definitely say I’m glad that doing all of these steps in the shop. (Or will be once I start doing the book-shelves, as opposed to test-boards.) Thank you for the advice.

I discovered that there is to be no prep-sanding of the plywood. That top veneer is crazy thin.

I think I’m going to go with the finish that Tom Lovine did a video on recently over on his site: Tom's Workbench My test board without any stain came out really nicely.

Now I’m experimenting with stains to try and get the color. Fingers crossed. First up, I’m trying Minwax Red Mahogany. (On closer inspection, the door I’m matching isn’t so much orange as a reddish brown, so we’ll see how this turns out, I’ll know tomorrow if this was even remotely the correct choice).

Thank you all for the advice and suggestions.

-- Alex, Los Angeles

View ScottinTexas's profile

ScottinTexas

108 posts in 695 days


#10 posted 02-25-2013 05:22 AM

Regarding UV/sunlight – there are films you can put on the windows that will mitigate that (Mr. Feynman seemed pretty confident that glass blocked UV – enough to eschew goggles when viewing an atomic blast – for those of you who read “Surely You are Joking, Mr Feynman.”

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

5286 posts in 1324 days


#11 posted 02-25-2013 05:22 AM

To prevent blotching you might want to use a sanding sealer, like
de waxed shellac.

Or, Charles Niels product.

You’re wise to practice on scrap and have test pieces, very good.

View SouthHollow's profile

SouthHollow

66 posts in 1228 days


#12 posted 02-25-2013 06:34 AM

Hey Waho609.

I’m definitely using a sealer… here’s the steps I’m in the middle of testing are:

1) seal-coat (50% shellac / 50% denatured alcohol)
2) Sand with 400 Grit
3) Stain – Currently testing… don’t know for sure which one yet.
4) Finish – 2+ coats – Wiped on: (50% clear-poly / 25% Boiled Linseed Oil / 25% Mineral Spirits)

-- Alex, Los Angeles

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SouthHollow

66 posts in 1228 days


#13 posted 04-19-2013 07:37 PM

Turns out that the veneer on the plywood was too thin to be able to sand after the seal-coat. So that step had to be cut. (Thank goodness for the test board where I discovered this)

And I stirred the stain while making the test boards, but shook the can when I went to actually finish the carcass, and so it was a very different color… BUT, it was even closer to the color I wanted than I was getting on the test boards, so that turned out to work just fine, even if it felt like the test boards were a waste for color testing this stain.

The biggest mistake in the finishing that I know of right now is that I kept finishing on part, installing it, then figuring out which part I needed to build next. I ended up doing four rounds of staining/finishing. (Carcass, trim, kick-board, shelves) which extended the finishing time to four weeks instead of one.

Thank you to everyone for the advice to finish in the garage, that surely saved my back some, and even more importantly, kept the fumes out of the house.

It’s probably not the prettiest finish, but it should do the job, and my wife is very happy, so I’m calling it a win.

Finished project page is here.

-- Alex, Los Angeles

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

4488 posts in 1127 days


#14 posted 04-19-2013 08:57 PM

That turned out well.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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