Finish or assemble first, small project

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Forum topic by Wilken posted 07-18-2014 07:53 PM 790 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Wilken's profile


1 post in 831 days

07-18-2014 07:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: box stain finish assemble question

Ok I’ve started a project its a rather small box, very simple, as its flate planes, I decided to stain everything first. I’ve just finished my 2nd coat of stain and I may do a 3rd on some pieces that are light, but I’m looking at assembly soon.

I’ve got polyurethane to do a satin finish,

Should I assemble and glue the box’s first and then do the finish?
Should I finish first than assemble and glue?
Do a coat of finish, assemble and glue, and one last coat of finish once everything’s done?

I have currently used some light foam brushes for this, for the finish should I continue to use them, or should I get an actual bristle brush?
Links to the finished product box and also a picture of the cover stained.

3 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


4826 posts in 2235 days

#1 posted 07-18-2014 08:07 PM

I assemble everything first, then stain and finish. Stain will prevent the glue from bonding well, so you may already have a problem (unless you taped off the joints). The only advantage pre-finishing has is areas where the finish is hard to apply, like the inside of a cabinet. In those instances, you may have a case for pre-finishing. However the hassle of taping you joint surfaces, and protecting the finish during assembly are two reasons I don’t pre-finish.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View timbertailor's profile


1591 posts in 846 days

#2 posted 07-18-2014 08:25 PM

Always pre assemble, sand, glue and assemble, then stain, lacquer, poly, etc. , sand, etc.

As Willie pointed out, the exceptions are hard to reach areas.

-- Brad, Texas,

View gfadvm's profile


14929 posts in 2112 days

#3 posted 07-19-2014 12:15 AM

Uh Oh, looks like you applied stain to surfaces that will be glued? That will not work! (learned this with a really nice chair that came apart at the glue joints very quickly).

I do like to prefinish the interiors of my boxes with shellac but I’m careful not to get it on any glue surfaces.

That is a very cool looking box!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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