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Finishing Cabinet Doors

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  • Finishing Cabinet Doors

    I am in the process of making shaker style doors out of hard maple, with 1/4" veneer maple inserts.

    I have stained before by hand with poor results and after making $1500 worth of doors, I can't afford poor results.

    What is the best way to get a factory finish on kitchen cabinet doors. In terms of equipment, I have an HVLP sprayer and compressor, or I can do it by hand. The problem is that I dont have a clean room to spray in, just a garage with no ventilation.

    Can someone give me tips/steps to get the finish on these doors please ?

    After my last experience staining red oak (shoot me now) I am scared to take on staining these doors so any help you give would be a life saver !!!

    Thanks in advance,

    Dave.

  • #2
    Re: Finishing Cabinet Doors

    Staining is just plain time-consuming. To do a good job, it's hand-work. You can't spray stain. Do one door at a time. Wipe the stain evenly on the surface. I find using the big box of shop towels (and lots) is best for this. Take a towel out of the box, make it into a tight square or rectangle, and dip it into the stain. Use a scrap piece of wood to first wipe the now stain-laden rag on. Begin wiping the project. Dip into the stain whenever you need to load up the rag again, and use the scrap wood to wipe off excess so you don't get a dark spot on the project. Once you've got the whole door stained, wait a few seconds to a minute, then begin wiping it off. Use a new rag out of the box, and replace as often as is necessary.

    Quality stain is also very important. Spend some time experimenting with your stain and find a way to wipe it on consistently. Personally, I prefer the gel stains for this. It's a personal decision, and everyone will find they do better with one kind of stain than another.

    Once you've stained all the doors, then you can spray on lacquer or poly. This is when you want a dust-free environment. Lacquer would do you better since it dries faster, leaving dust little chance to foul the finish. Again, taking the time to experiment will pay off in the long run. Find your best method of spraying that leaves a thin, consistent coat.
    I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

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    • #3
      Re: Finishing Cabinet Doors

      You can use aniline dye powder, mixed in water, and apply it using a small detail spray gun. Rather than flooding the surface, it goes on as a fine mist. Any excess can be blotted with a paper towel.
      http://www.constantines.com/index.as...80&strCompare=


      Let it dry, then apply your clear topcoat.

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      • #4
        Re: Finishing Cabinet Doors

        Originally posted by DC_INC View Post
        What is the best way to get a factory finish on kitchen cabinet doors. In terms of equipment, I have an HVLP sprayer and compressor, or I can do it by hand. The problem is that I dont have a clean room to spray in, just a garage with no ventilation.
        Buy some poly film from your local store. I'd recommend at least 3mil thick. The size and amount will depend on your garage height. Here's a great article laying out a structure and details.
        Here's a great option for a temporary and compact clean room structure.
        http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Pain...in-Your-Garage

        Several things you MUST get to augment this setup:
        - Ventilation fans to get the fumes / vapors out of your garage
        - At a minimum, an OSHA certified mask that is capable of filtering organic vapor!! A dust mask or woodworking respirator is not sufficient. Working with stains, varnishes, etc (esp oil based) in a small enclosed space is a solid recipe for long term health problems!
        - GOOD brushes. Why build a clean room and use crappy tools? Get the $15 brushes intended for oil orwater based stains. (You should not use the same brush for both.)

        I took this a little further in my basement, enclosing a 6'x10' area with sheeting on the basement ceiling joints, and around the whole area to form four walls. I installed two of these zippers to create a roll up door. I have been so happy with the staining results. Polyurethane still winds up with a little dust in it.... but, not to the extent you get doing this work out in the open.

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        • #5
          Re: Finishing Cabinet Doors

          I have to admit, that is one of the best ideas for a garage I have seen in a long time. It's a shame I can't leave one up permanently, which means I would have to use new plastic every time.

          I just need to figure out where to get an explosion proof fan for the whole setup. Then I will definitely try this booth!

          Thanks Wood Junkie...thats awesome!!

          Much appreciated,

          Dave.

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          • #6
            Re: Finishing Cabinet Doors

            Maple is notoriously hard to stain, be sure that you have plenty of sample parts to test on.

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