Cherry coffee/cocktail table.


I am making a 27" x 43.25" table 17" high. Basic frame, with a 3" skirt, some 2-1/2" square legs which will have a slight taper to them with a few 3/4x3/4 vertical stiles at the ends (Mission style) and a stretcher running longitudinally down the middle, likely a piece of 4/4 x 7".
The frame will hold a slab of Meganite Euphoria Boulder (809) covering the bulk of the table top (recessed into frame till almost flush) leaving a border of cherry about 3" wide. My daughter picked the colour, it reminded her of Thailand somehow..and she's been shipping stuff to herself which gives me a bit of a feel of what she likes.. a blend between mission and oriental..ohhhhkay? <G>
I will be finishing the frame with Sikkens AutoCryl clear with about 35% sheen by adding some matting compound. It will make for a durable surface, the rest of the parts..probably a Poly of some sort. The skirt is attached with pocket screws (got to love that new Krell K3 jig's front clamp and dust collection). The corners are held together by some serious steel brackets which will hold the removable leg/end sections (the stretcher to be attached with some screws from the bottom)
So here's the question. Do you guys sand and finish all your parts and pieces prior to assembly...or assemble first, then sand and spray.... because I can see the ups and downs of either way, but I appreciate your collective views, I am hoping to be swayed into one direction or the other. In my production days we did it the fastest way for the job at hand, but this is furniture and I am inclined to think that a more homogenous 'look' can be had if doesn't look 'assembled'.... Oh..and NO stain...<G>
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What's wrong with doing both? Sand those parts that will be difficult to sand when assembled and sand those areas that are easy to get to after it's assembled.
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I have found it easier to do all of the final sanding before assembly. There are always hard to get to places that are not hard to get to before assembly. If you pad your work bench, and all clamps, the only sanding you will have to do will be touch up work. I used to do a lot of oil finishes, and found that it was also easier to finish before assembly. I would always find one place where I didn't get all of the excess oil off, and it always seemed to be in a corner. I would cover all glueable surfaces with the blue tape, and press it down very well. You could also save cutting mortices and tenons until after finishing, but I found that the machining would leave too many marks that needed to come out, so I do that first. With spraying, I don't know. I am not an expert at that. If you have any floating panels, you may want to spray them first so that all of the wood is covered, and later shrinking won't expose bare wood. This doesn't sound like it will be a problem with what you are making. robo hippy
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