Depends on the project. For example, we have been building a new
house and have taken on nearly all of the finish work ourselves.
Nearly all trim including craftsman door headers, tub surround parts,
etc were stained in the garage shop prior to installations, then final
finish after installation. Some of the parts, including base and
window trim were stained and poly'ed in the shop prior to
installation. However, most parts don't get final finish until
Some stuff that requires careful fit and attachment are stained and
finished in place. My personal preference would have been to assemble
or attach a lot of the stuff in place; then stain and finish. But
when you are working next to painted walls and finished hardwood
flooring, that isn't always practical.
Gluing requirements always have to be in the back of you mind when
When I do normal projects such as small cabinets, rocking horses,
quilt stands, etc.; I usually stain the final project at one time
including side-assemblies such as drawers.