Finishing interior surfaces of kitchen cabinets

I'm slowly getting myself convinced that I can tackle a set of kitchen cabinets. My basic construction skills are pretty much there, but I'm no where regarding finishing. I bought a book but it only covered fine furniture. To the question - the interior parts will be birch plywood, I'm happy with the color so am looking for a finish to make the surface more durable. I'm more concerned about making a good job than speed. I don't have a spray booth, and the garage is pretty dusty (could be cleaned of course), I do have a decent set of HVLP equipment.
All suggestions or pointers welcome,
thanks,
Peter
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wrote:

Use prefinished plywood with the prefinished side IN.
Many, many pros do this. Any decent plywood supplier can get it for you.
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Peter Wells wrote:

On a Alder/Birch cab I recently built I sprayed (no booth) Deft brushing lacquer using probably "a less than decent" HVLP......turned out fine. Rod
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Goodness... what about the fumes?? That Deft stuff is great..I brush on the little bevels on custom laminate countertops with the stuff and really like the way it works...but spraying without a booth? You must have had a LOT of airflow somehow.
I have never sprayed Deft, but looked at the possibility many times...so you were happy with the results, eh? Did you scuff 'tween coats? What did you use to clean your equipment?
r
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SNIP

I spray solvent based materials without a booth all the time. But I only do it under these conditions -
1) outside when spraying paint. Think burglar bars, ornamental metal fence, metal doors, etc.
2) inside a client garage if they won't let me take their doors or cabinets off site to refinish, or if I am finishing in place
3) if inside ONLY with my HVLP
4) NEVER without my fume/chemical rate mask, even when outside
I watched a video about nerve damage from fumes and it scared the living hell out of me. And all the wise asses out there that think because they are using waterborne are safe should take minute and read the MSDS sheet and call the manucfacturer's commercial division for the skinny on the poisons in them.

I always have been. Deft sprays quite well. IMNSHO, it is good quality lacquer and I use it as well from time to time. It is a great tool to have in the arsenal. It has good abrasion resistance, excellent adhesion and ambers very slowly. I sprayed it with my high pressure equipment thinned about 10%, and I spray it thinned to about 20% with the HVLP.
I combines well with the good thinners (Sherwyn Williams, Startex, Benjamin Moore) as well as the cheap stuff (Sunnyvale, Crown, etc.). I confess I havent' used any slow thinner (L2) with is as I think since it is geared towards the general market it actually dries more slowly than most to make the application more forgiving, so no need to retard.
I use to routinely brush this stuff, and it left a finish that was really quite good. But now I spray when possible, and I am shooting a second coat of the stuff I use now in the time it takes one coat of Deft to dry.

Adhesion of lacquer is a function of a couple of different things, none of it sanding (unless you want to). Sanding is OK if you have finish problems, but you can screw up a lacquer finish and cause yourself a lot more work if you sand. As a build finish, subsequent coats will melt into the first coat and become a monolithic seal. BUT... a couple of rules have to be observed.
When brushing or padding (lessen times if spraying), I don't let the lacquer go more than about 30 minutes from "dry to the touch" before applying another coat. The applied coat will not be cured at this time, and another coat will blend itself into the uncured coat. I personally think that it is important that all lacquer finishing be done "all at once" if possible. It can be a gentle balance sometimes, and easy as squirting water others. But I always test and time my coats, and when I don't leave a fingerprint in the surface, I usually give it another few minutes and start coating again.
The most important thing to do when applying a build coat is to make sure that you have plenty of time for the lacquer to sit on top of the underlying coat to melt into it. I actually apply the second and third coats (more if needed) a little more heavily if I need to to make sure they have more time to burn into the previous coats. Thin coats don't allow the material to have enough time on target to bond, and you will have witness lines (like a film finish), sometimes blushing,
As a sidebar, you know this - but for those that don't, there is dry to the touch (good for a lacquer build coat), dry (light sanding OK to remove dust and nibs), green cured (depending on conditions, 2-3 days, not hard enough for full duty) and fully cured, which is about 2 weeks or so. At full cure you can sand, polish, buff, or whatever you want.

I use the cheapest lacquer thinner I can buy. I use the good stuff to mix and thin, and the "gunwash" to clean the equipment.
I think if you try the Deft you will find it easy to use, and a good all around finish. I still use it today when I need to finish an interior door at someone's house. The lacquer I use most of the time is spray only, but sometimes you just can't. Then I use Old Master's or Deft, depending which is available.
Robert
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Not as bad as I expected....It helped that windows were open (basement shop) and a large patton fan was blowing out of the door. I'd expect the volume with the small sprayer might have been considerably less than more proper equipment.......no obvious ignition sources either.....I've sprayed a couple of smaller items outside....if the weather permits I'd prefer it.....oddly the Mrs. can not tolerate certain solvents especially PVC cement and carpet glue (ER visits and several day recuperation) but Deft and/or lacquer thinner doesn't bother her.
That Deft stuff is great..I brush

I've even been able to brush it<G>

Yes
Did you scuff 'tween

Just before the last coat on the bottom, sides and faceframe, inside the cab was a little more forgiving<g>.......otherwise I used a cab scraper to touch up flaws between coats.....
What did you use to clean your equipment?

Lacquer thinner.
Rod
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Hi Peter.
If you have a dusty garage, don't plan on using your HVLP with grand success unless you have a really long hose on it to keep the exhaust stirred particulates out of your finish.
This was my method for interiors when I used to build cabs in the garage.
Take your plywood for drawers, etc. and sand them to clean them up. Cut/rip everything you can to width, but not length. Select a side for your interior, and put this on your sawhorse or worktable. I used to pad on generous coats of Deft onto one side, making sure I hit the edges with a small brush. Put a couple of generous coats on. Except for drawer bottom material or material that I couldn't reach later after assembly, I only coated one side because no matter how careful I was, I always got minor dings in the finish on the outside of the drawers, etc., when assembling and handling.
Use a short bristle pad (HD, Lowe's, some paint stores) to apply and it will come out really smooth. Catch any drips on the edge with throw away brush. See additional instructions later on in this thread about Deft.
Cut and assemble all the drawers, shelves, and other features, making sure that the finshed lacquer will be on the inside, or on the show side. Finshing the inside of the drawers this way will keep you from having all the problems you have working inside corners, small areas, etc., not to mention cutting your time in less than half because of the speed. Your tedium factor is cut in less then half.
When you have assembled everything just brush or pad a coating of your finish on the unfinished areas you are concerned about. On a drawer, you should be around the outside flat surfaces in just a couple of minutes each, and since you finished the edges, you can stack them up on the edges as you finish them up. If you are building carcass style, you will have finished the insides of the sides so you are finished with the walls/interiors except the back of the rail and stile. But you can finish them the same way too, if you are careful and watch your edges (the rails and stiles may not be natural color, so you could only finish the very back).
Since you are not spraying, you can finish without raising lot of dust, so you don't have to clean out the shop to keep the stuff out of the air.
Brings back a lot of memories...
Good luck! You can do it!
Robert
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Peter Wells wrote:

I made a whole kitchen worth of cabinets from kits some years ago. The wood was OK, but not pretty enough to justify a clear finish. I used oil based enamel, applied with a brush. Finishing schedule went like this. Sand (orbital pad sander) down to 220 grit. Dust with a tack rag to get the sanding dust off. One coat shellac, brush on, dry overnight sand again with 220 grit to kill the nubbles and rud down the high spots. Wipe with tack rag. One coat enamel, brush on, dry over night, or even two nights sand again, wipe with tack rag second coat enamal sand yet again coat of Butchers wax. Result was very good looking, paint covered the wood grain completely, and it lasted for years.
Should I want a clear finish, I'd just substitute poly varnish for the enamel. And stain the wood first (before the shellac primer coat). A power sander makes the sanding go faster than you would expect.
David Starr
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