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Best finish for maple cabinets?

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Forum topic by ADHDan posted 130 days ago 453 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ADHDan

433 posts in 742 days


130 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question maple finishing

I’m building a set of maple built-ins around our lower-level fireplace. I’d rather not paint them, but I do want to keep the color light to make the room feel more open and airy. Anyone have good suggestions for a finish that will accentuate maple’s grain and color without darkening it too much? Thanks!

Here are the cabinets:

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.


7 replies so far

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a1Jim

112016 posts in 2211 days


#1 posted 130 days ago

Use water base poly or lacquer ,that should let you keep the cabinets light.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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ADHDan

433 posts in 742 days


#2 posted 130 days ago

That’s what I was thinking – a few coats of satin-sheen polycrylic. Anything I can use as a base coat to pop the grain more, without yellowing? Maybe a clear shellac sealer?

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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a1Jim

112016 posts in 2211 days


#3 posted 130 days ago

Dan
Usually oils pop the grain better than water base,something like General Finishes Arm-R-Seal.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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pmayer

566 posts in 1699 days


#4 posted 130 days ago

Those are looking great, Dan. I would give it a try with just poly and see what it looks like first. I have been pleased with the look of either Varthane or General Finishes water based poly directly on maple. It would be interesting to see a comparison if you put a coat of shellac on first.

-- PaulMayer, http://www.vernswoodgoods.com

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Loren

7442 posts in 2281 days


#5 posted 130 days ago

I recommend you try a test with amber shellac and
waterborne poly on top. I don’t think the clear shellac
is likely to pop the grain as nicely.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

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ADHDan

433 posts in 742 days


#6 posted 130 days ago

Thanks everyone – good suggestions! I’ll try a few different tests and see what turns out. I did coat a test piece with just water-based poly and it turned out nice enough. I’d be ok with that alone unless I can find something to help bring out the grain. I used the basic Minwax polycrylic, so perhaps I’ll pick up a small can of Varathane or GF to see if they provide better results.

Admittedly I’m just starting to learn about finishes beyond stain/poly. Jim, can I use an Arm-R-Seal under water-based poly? Will Arm-R-Seal yellow the wood? I really like how the whiteness in the maple goes with our blue walls, and keeping the wood white is also a big part of my defense against my wife’s preference for painting. (My other defense is that we can always paint over a clear finish, but we can’t easily backtrack from paint.)

Paul – thanks for the drywall referral! Albert did a good job at a reasonable price, and he was great to work with. I’ll be keeping him in mind for future drywall needs (but fingers crossed, I won’t have any). At some point it would be cool to meet IRL – I always enjoy finding other local woodworkers in the Twin Cities.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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a1Jim

112016 posts in 2211 days


#7 posted 130 days ago

Yes Dan you can use Arm-R-Seal under under Polcrylics but you really won’t need to, Arm-R-Seal is a strong durable finish on it’s own. Arm-R-Seal will darken your maple more than Polcylics will that’s part of how it pops the grain.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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