Cabinet Finish

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Alan Odell
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Cabinet Finish

Postby Alan Odell » Fri, Sep 11 2009, 2:56PM

I know we have had this discussion before. But maybe we can rehash it. How do you finish your cabinets.

I tell my customers I am a cabinet maker not a finisher/painter. I use standard off the shelf wiping stain and laquer with an airless sprayer ( Airlessco sprayer). I wont stain maple or cherry do to blotching. Have tryed conditioner and it doesnt work for me. Have read about wash coats but its Greek to me. If you want a stained cabinet its Alder. Going to try to go to a class saturday to learn some new tricks but???? Would like to go to a water based finish but just doesn't seem anything that I can get a hold of that is close to laquer. Any thoughts.

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John J. Desmond
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Re: Cabinet Finish

Postby John J. Desmond » Fri, Sep 11 2009, 5:41PM

Alan,

I don't have the experience as most of the guys on this forum but I will tell you what I use. I prefer Sherwin Williams stain as well as Valspar stain. I like to use Pre-Cat Lacquer in my shop. The shop where I work full-time uses the same stains as well as dye stains from Valspar. They also use conversion varnish for the finish. The conversion varnish is a nice finish yet it is a pain to work with from the stand point of clean up. I really like the stain colors that Sherwin Williams offers so I try to stick to that with a few options that I mix. HtH.

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Re: Cabinet Finish

Postby John J. Desmond » Fri, Sep 11 2009, 5:45PM

Alan,

One other thing, we don't have any problem with blotching on maple or cherry. Maple will, sometimes, have minor blotching but seems to not be a problem most of time. Alder stains and sprays out real nice. Cherry usually holds the best stain and finish in our shop. The only real problem we have with blotching is on poplar. Sometimes people want white poplar stained and it is a pain. We usually seal it, sand it, stain it, spray it. It works some what.

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Gary Puckett
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Re: Cabinet Finish

Postby Gary Puckett » Fri, Sep 11 2009, 7:39PM

John,

Which stain are you using that does not blotch cherry S.W. or Valspar?

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Damon Nabors
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Re: Cabinet Finish

Postby Damon Nabors » Fri, Sep 11 2009, 7:44PM

If you are using a Lacq. product, use a clear stain base first and let dry before applying the stain. You will have to use more than one coat but it will prevent it from blotching. Another thing you can do, thin down your stain and build up to your final color. Building up will prevent blotching as well. And one more option, try using a toner first. This will even out the color and also prevent blotching.

Just a few hints to play around with, good luck.
Damon Nabors

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Gary Puckett
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Re: Cabinet Finish

Postby Gary Puckett » Fri, Sep 11 2009, 7:52PM

Damon,

Where you been? Long time sence you been on the forum

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John J. Desmond
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Re: Cabinet Finish

Postby John J. Desmond » Fri, Sep 11 2009, 8:17PM

Gary,

We use Sherwood Mahogany mostly on cherry. We also use Sherwin Williams Rich Mahogany alot on cherry. These two seem to be the most requested by customers. All our stains are wiping stains. We try to not spray stain because we have not had much luck with it. We can't seem to get it to look consistent. Blending plywood and hardwood seem to be easier with wiping stain.

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Re: Cabinet Finish

Postby Kerry Fullington » Sat, Sep 12 2009, 8:52AM

Alan,

I only finish my furniture pieces and cabinets that I want something a little special on. (Cabinets here are typically finished on site by painters. With this you get a stain blown on, ragged off poorly, one coat sanding sealer and one top coat of pre cat lacquer. On my last fob the painter said he didn't need two top coats because he blew as much as two coats on the first time. Don't get me started on these guys.)

I have the finish videos that Thermwood produced and I use several of the techniques shown in those. They are very interesting.

I now use Trans Tint dyes and solvent based Gemini Stains, not their consumer line but their production line which is mixed using their mixing station much like the Valspar station Thermwood used to sell. It is by far the best stain I have ever used since I started in the trades as one of those dreaded painters in 1975.

I then use the Oxford brand of waterborne finishes sold by Target Coatings. Absolutely fantastic.

Typically I use a wash coat of their waterborne shellac (either amber or garnet depending on my stain color) to control blotching
Next if I need to go dark I will shoot a coat of dye to create the base for the color I want to achieve You can also do some nice shading using dyes.
This is followed by another wash coat of shellac to seal the stain
I then brush or roll on the Gemini Stain and wipe, ( the stain dries too fast for me to spray)
This again is followed by a wash coat of shellac so the stain doesn't bleed into the top coats
Now I use the Oxford Universal Primer which is a sanding sealer compatible with all their finishes
On most projects I finish with a minimum of two coats of Oxford Flat Lacquer ( I don't test my wet mils like I should, I just go by gut feeling to know when I have enough finish. This probably will bite me one of these days)
On really dark stains it is better to use Oxfords Waterborne Alkyd Varnish. This finish has the ambering effect of solvent based finishes and doesn't create that blue sheen that the crystal clear waterborne finishes create.
Target also sells an Oxford Waterborne Conversion Varnish if you need a real durable top coat. I have never tried it.

At times I mix a little dye in the first coat of finish as a toner to correct color or to do some shading.
I also do quite a bit of dry brushing stains for of highlights.
I like to use the distressing techniques demonstrated on the Thermwood DVDs but no one around here likes them.

These waterborne finishes take a little more time as you need to allow typically one hour between coats and they spray differently than solvent based but once you get used to them they are great.

I am not a professional finisher but these products work great for me.

Target also maintains a forum that can answer any of your questions as well as teach you new techniques.

Kerry

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Re: Cabinet Finish

Postby Alan Odell » Sat, Sep 12 2009, 4:54PM

Kerry,

What kind of spray rig do you use? I currently use an airless but will probably go to a HVLP system. Went to a little class today and they described the same type of steps as you do. He also talked about tinting the sealer which seems to be a standard. Not sure how to decide whether to go with the yellow, not the color he stated, or orange. I dont have a great eye for color. But know I have lost some jobs due to inability on my part to be able to finish maple. How long you been using the Oxford waterborne finishes. Have done some checking in the past and they seemed to have the best rep.

Alan

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Re: Cabinet Finish

Postby Kerry Fullington » Sat, Sep 12 2009, 5:13PM

Alan,

I am using some very low end HVLP guns. They get the job done but I would like to have more control. Mine run off a regular compressor which I like because the turbine compressors I have used heat the air too much and I hate that the air has to bleed all the time. A friend of mine just got a Kremlin air assisted airless. It looked fantastic. I don't do enough finishing to justify the cost.

I sometimes tint my finish with a little Trans-Tint Dark Vintage Maple dye to give it a slight ambering effect.

I have been using the Oxford Finishes from Target for about four years.

Another site you might look at is Homestead Finishing There is a great forum there also.

Bill Hightower that used to be on this forum quite a bit has some really nice finish schedules on the Homestead Forum.

I don't so enough finishing to get real good at it but I like playing with it.

Kerry

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Re: Cabinet Finish

Postby Gary Puckett » Sat, Sep 12 2009, 9:27PM

When you say wash coat to stop blotching, is that just a clear lacquer thinned down with lacquer thinner at a 50/ 50 ratio?

Every time I would use a wash coat I found that the color of the stain would turn out much lighter.

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Re: Cabinet Finish

Postby Kerry Fullington » Sun, Sep 13 2009, 9:28AM

Gary,

Wash coats are tricky things and you must do some experimenting using your specific materials. (the mix depends on how high the solids count is in the finish you are using.)
From my experience, a 50/50 mix if nitrocellulose lacquer and thinner is too strong for a wash coat. I would try a 1 part lacquer to 4 or 5 parts thinner on some samples and see if that cures the blotching. If it doesn't then go to a 1 part to 3 parts. You want just enough lacquer in it to cure the blotching without sealing the rest of the wood from stain. Every material will require a different mix.
Once you get the right mix though you will love it.

Kerry

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Re: Cabinet Finish

Postby Gary Puckett » Sun, Sep 13 2009, 9:44AM

Kerry,

IN your oppion does the stain have anything to do with the quality of the finish in other words does it make a difference if you use minwax, sherwin w., zar, ect

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Re: Cabinet Finish

Postby Kerry Fullington » Sun, Sep 13 2009, 11:01AM

Gary,

I think they all have different characteristics and you have to decide which one works best for you through testing. Some penetrate faster or better, some dry faster some slower and this determines your wipe rime. Some have more sealer in them and won't allow other stains or colors to penetrate. Find a brand you like and stick with it. One thing I found is that the consumer lines of many companies are not the same as their professional furniture finishes. I am pretty certain that the Valspar Stains that Thermwood was marketing are not the same Valspar stain you get at the local hardware.

I have a friend that got the Gemini Blending Station and I am purchasing stain through him. It is wonderful stuff. Deep rich colors on maple without any trouble.

One thing I forgot to mention when you are playing with wash coat formulas. Be sure to sand your samples exactly like you do your cabinets. Uneven sanding can cause blotching on its own. One thing I learned from the Thermwood videos is to only sand what you can get done in a day. Try to sand everything the dame day you finish it. Humidity etc. will open and close grain after sanding if it sits too long and give uneven results.

Kerry

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Re: Cabinet Finish

Postby Peter Walsh » Sun, Sep 13 2009, 12:10PM

Kerry,
Good, informative remarks on finishing.
On your HVLP comments, I use a TurbinAire HVLP system and they have a pressure release fitting that attaches to the hose at the turbine that allows me to use a non-bleeding gun. I hate the constant bleed air guns as you do, just another thing to blow dust around when the gun is not aimed at the work. Air heating hasn't been a problem for me, and I am in the desert. TurbinAire offers a cooling section to add to the hose line that seems to work fine.
regards,


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