View Full Version : How do I finish my cabinets
08-24-2007, 01:50 PM
I've constructed some cabinets for my closet. The cabinets are made of 3/4" Oak ply with ash for the front facing. I've sanded the cabinets and apply Minwax red mahogany oil stain. Now I want to put on a durable satin finish. In the past I've used paint brush to put polyurethane on things with less than desirable results. I've got nibs, runs, etc.. you name it. I don't quite get a hang of it. Any body got a step by step coonass dummy proof method for this?
08-24-2007, 02:06 PM
>I've constructed some cabinets for my closet. The cabinets
>are made of 3/4" Oak ply with ash for the front facing. I've
>sanded the cabinets and apply Minwax red mahogany oil stain.
>Now I want to put on a durable satin finish. In the past
>I've used paint brush to put polyurethane on things with
>less than desirable results. I've got nibs, runs, etc.. you
>name it. I don't quite get a hang of it. Any body got a step
>by step coonass dummy proof method for this?
I don't know if I'd do it for such a large project, but I've had extremely good results using the wiping method. I know some people thin their own, but I've used Minwax's wipe-on poly. It's nice in that it's generally dry enough to put on another coat in 3-4 hours. With such a large project though, I don't think I'd want to wipe a finish on...and using Minwax's wipe-on product might be prohibitively expensive.
08-24-2007, 02:14 PM
While the odds are good that the can of poly varnish tells you not to add thinner, they gotta put that on there to satisfy their VOC levels to make the feds at the EPA happy. The thinner is the stuff that contains all them bad chemicals. The stuff is normally thick as cold molasses and has trouble leveling on its own, so we have a tendency to over brush to smooth it out which simply makes it worse.
Thin the stuff about 10% or so (this is not an exact science), keep a loaded brush and a wet edge and sorta flow the stuff off the tip of the brush onto the surface. Horizontal surfaces are much easier than vertical ones, so if you can flip the thing around so each surface you're working is horizontal, that'll help. Sand lightly between coats, just enough to remove dust nibs. You may have to do three coats instead of two in order to get the build you want. Ash is open grained, so you may want to fill the grain before apply the finish if you want baby butt smooth, but since you've already stained filling may mess up the look you're after.
Or else you can do my favorite almost fail safe method. Thin the brushing stuff 50/50 with naphtha and wipe it on. When it is dry to the touch you can apply another coat and since you'll have to at least double the number of coats you normally would, that is a great benefit. You'll be putting on a super thin coat each time so try not to have to sand between them much or you'll sand through.
Or you can pad on shellac using a drop or two of mineral oil to lubricate the pad to keep it from dissolving the aleady applied shellac as you build the finish up. Shellac is a very good moisture barrier, though it will fog up on you if water is allowed to sit for any length of time. That is easy to repair with a rag dampened with some more shellac and maybe some oil. You just want to barely dissolve it and let it reharden and the foggy place will disappear.
08-24-2007, 02:16 PM
I thought about the wipeon poly as well but the cost in both material and time is too much. I'm leaning toward thinning the left over fast drying MinWas polyurethane I have and spray them with my HF HVLP sprayer. I still don't know how far to thin, how long to wait before sanding, what grit etc...
08-24-2007, 02:19 PM
Sound good Jerry.
50/50 mix with Naptha and hardly any sanding. Even dis coonass can do that.
08-24-2007, 02:21 PM
What I have done and has worked well - but IS a royal PITA.
Quality IS time and effort costly!
1) Sand down to 220
3) BRUSH on Satin poly-1
4) Sand with 220
5) Dry brush off the dust
6) Meticulously wipe with a tack cloth
7) Brush on Satin Poly-2
8) Sand with 320
9) Dry brush off the dust
10) Meticulously wipe with a tack cloth
11) Brush on Satin Poly-3
12) wait at least 24 hours
13) WET sand with 600 very lightly (this removes what few nibs there are left - there should not be much)
14) Rub out with Turtle Wax Automotive rubbing compound (it is a red color)
15) Wash rubbing compound residue with water and a soft rag.
16) Thououghly dry with paper towels (Bounty is best)
17) Buff with Paste Wax
18) Stand back and admire
08-24-2007, 02:27 PM
I'll remember that when I build some furniture. Right now I'm building 5 large cabinets (24"Wx16"Dx72"H). Sanding that will take forever.
08-24-2007, 02:42 PM
>Sound good Jerry.
>50/50 mix with Naptha and hardly any sanding. Even dis
>coonass can do that.
It goes almost without saying to practice on scrap. :)
08-24-2007, 03:41 PM
Sounds a lot harder than it really is.
08-24-2007, 08:23 PM
As long as you're spraying, have you thought about water based polyurethane? Dries fast, no odor like oil base, cleans up with water, and makes a nice finish.
08-24-2007, 09:27 PM
Water based huh. Nice call. I'll look into that too. I'm a gonna do dat this weekend.
08-24-2007, 10:16 PM
After reading how Brad used Polycrylic (a waterborne poly) on his wine/microwave cabinet, I gave it a try on the upper portion of the EC I'm building.
He and Cabinetman are right. That stuff is great. It sprays well, cleans up with soap and water, dries to the touch in about 15 minutes and can be re-coated in an hour or so. It's also way cheaper than that USL waterborne lacquer I was using.
I still plan on using the USL in certain applications but for most stuff, I'll use Polycrylic.
He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep for that which he cannot lose.
08-24-2007, 10:51 PM
Good to hear Cody. What brand did you buy? Is it available at HD or Lowes?
08-24-2007, 11:11 PM
I used Minwax Polycrylic Satin from the local Home Depot.
He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep for that which he cannot lose.
08-25-2007, 01:07 PM
Strike one for me.
Just got back from the borgs. The label on the Polycrylic sez: "Do not use polycrylic on red mahogany stain.". Oh well, I'll resort to rubbing then.
08-25-2007, 02:09 PM
I have had good results on large pieces using the Minwax wipe-on poly. Yes, it dries fairly quickly, but that is its advantage. Less time for nubs, etc.
Coat the piece in stages if it is really big... Some parts that would take wear & tear could get extra coats other parts might not need.
Order of magnitude time estimate for a bookcase 32 x 80 with 6 shelves: 20 - 30 minutes per coat -- not as fast as wiping it with mineral spirits, but way faster than brushing...
08-26-2007, 12:09 AM
I agree with everything except that the first two coats of poly should be gloss.
The reason is that to make a satin finish, the manufacturer adds a light dispersement material to creat the satin finish. As multiple coats of satin finish build up the dispersement tends to obscure or cloud the wood beneath the finish.
08-26-2007, 08:01 AM
Rich - you are right - I have done it both ways.
Just a bit lazy when I do 3 coats of satin poly.
08-27-2007, 12:21 AM
>It's a good thing I decided to wipe on. Couldn't find my
>HVLP sprayer. I'm sure it's in the house some where, just
>can't find it.
Still couldn't find it. Went to HF and bought one for $9.99. Worked pretty well. Sprayed the last coat. I'll sand it with 1000 grit (cuz I have it) tomorrow, then wax them like Leo told me.
08-27-2007, 12:39 AM
Those came out really nice. I like the color!
Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge. -- Mark Twain
06-02-2010, 09:04 AM
Two coats on two cabinets. Just finished sanding the third cabinet. Gotta quit. Dem quitoes are vicious tonight. I'll stain the third cabinet in the morning after church. Then I'll lightly sand these two and add another coat.
It's a good thing I decided to wipe on. Couldn't find my HVLP sprayer. I'm sure it's in the house some where, just can't find it.