The Woodworker's Gazette Woodworker's Central Woodworker's Central
Woodworker's Gazette Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette ArchiveShopcam HiLites

ShopCam HiLites for 12/1/00
Half the Excitement


If you remember where we left off yesterday, I sprayed one of the drawer face backs an extra time to see how it would look. I wanted to spray two topcoats for the added protection, but I didn't want the walnut to look too plastic.

Here is a closeup of two backs, one with 2 heavy coats of the Premium Spray Lacquer and one with 3. The one on the right, with three coats, is a bit shinier than the other, but that's mostly due to how cold it gets in the shop at night and I think it didn't dry that completely. In any case, you can still see and feel the pores of the wood - a good thing!

In the end, I decided 1 topcoat was OK for the cabinet interiors and drawers, and 2 topcoats would be the norm for any exterior surfaces. I also found a few pieces which were exhibiting some secondary grain raising and the second topcoat would handle that nicely with some additional sanding between coats.

Another thing I decided was to cut back the ratio a bit and mix in a 1/2 cup of water per quart instead of the 1/3 cup I was using. Still, after spraying two coats on some parts this morning, there wasn't a sag to be found anywhere.

And I think next time, I'll take a different tact on the finish schedule. Instead of spraying one heavy sealer coat, with 2 topcoats to follow, I'll try two lighter sealer coats in one day, let it dry completely, sand down the raised grain and then topcoat just one time. Hopefully this will kill any chance for any secondary grain raising and save me an in-between-coat sanding step. I'll be able to try this on the mantle and columns when they get caught up - hopefully tomorrow.

Since we're only putting two topcoats on the exterior, and one on the interior, it's the first topcoat which only goes on the faceframe. If I were to topcoat everything in the beginning, I would get overspray all over the interior even if I didn't want to spray it again. So first, I do the faceframe only, let it sit an hour, do some light sanding, and then topcoat the whole thing.

The drawers only get one topcoat. Without the extra sanding step, they're a little bit rougher to touch, but they look great.

BTW, they advertise the PSL as a great finish for polishing or rubbing out. Just something to keep in mind the next time anyone refinishes a piano...;)

During each spraying session, the temperature in the shop drops rather quickly. With the exhaust fan running, whatever the temperature is outside, also becomes the inside temperature. Fortunately, with the waterborne, after I'm finished spraying I can shut off the fan, close the windows, and the air heats up fast, too! Can't do that with the smelly stuff!
One of the downsides of waterborne is how fast it dries on spray gun parts. Since I won't be spraying again until Monday, the gun is stripped down and thoroughly cleaned. A clean gun is THE key to applying a clean and predictable finish. I have lacquer thinner in the dishwashing detergent bottle.
With all these parts laying around and clogging up efficiency in the shop, it's time to free up some space before starting to process and finish the upper units. As it turns out, the most compact way to store them is to screw them in place. Not a bad deal, huh!
Here's the assembled door cabinet. The doors aren't hung perfectly yet. I may wait 'til the cabinet is set in place and screwed to Mr. D.'s wall. I have to think about that one. The floor rises towards the left end of this cabinet and the bottom might have to be scribed. I'm not too sure I want to trim the bottom with the doors in place.
Then the slides go back on. If you remember, the slides are screwed into their finished position on the cabinet, and the brackets, which go on the drawers, are mounted through their adjustable holes. For the drawers, the final adjustments will definitely be made at the jobsite.

I didn't have time to mount the drawer faces - we'll get that Monday. All considered, I'm really happy with the finish and the way these pieces are turning out. Best of all, I think I've finally found a waterborne finish I can stick with.

On the other hand, using new stuff is half the excitement of woodworking. What new thing will it be next time? I don't know and that's the other half of the excitement!

If you have any questions or comments about Mr. D's Walnut Wall Unit, please post them at the Info Exchange.

Jim Mattson

Onward to the Next Installment

Contact Us | Homepage | Back to the Gazette
We encourage all our visitors to send us
their thoughts, suggestions and complaints.