OK - I did do a google search and read some of the discussion but I did not
find my specific question answered.
Is it typical to finish the interior of a piece of furniture? I saw
discussion that you can use, for instance, a spit coat of shellac on the
insides of drawers. My application is a sofa table / hall table. two
drawers. Pretty basic. I am using BLO and shellac finish. Should I finish
the interior, drawer runners, drawer sides and drawer interiors? I know I
could. What's typical? BLO/Shellac on seen parts and shellac only elsewhere?
BLO only on unseen parts? What say you?
I'm by no means an expert, but I would say you could do shellac on the
inside so you get something to seal the wood at least partially, so it
doesn't expand a lot more on one side than the other, potentially
causing warping. It would also protect it a little more if something
(non-alcoholic) gets spilled in the drawer somehow. And shellac is
pretty easy to apply. What kind of wood are you using? If it's
plywood or MDF or something like that, I wouldn't worry about
expansion, but MDF or hardboard are a lot more susceptible to water
damage if they do get wet.
If the piece isn't assembled yet, you could think about finishing the
wood (minus the glue areas) before you put it together, if that'd be
easier (some here might disagree). I realized that after I
painstakingly finished into corners on my first few projects.
Thanks Andy for the fast reply. The piece is assembled. Its Cherry, some
with figure, and Australian Lacewood accents. The drawer sides, slides and
interior parts are also cherry. The drawer bottoms are QS white oak (Its
what I had laying around) glued up panels. My leaning was to just do a
thinned out shellac, one coat, on the interior parts, and inside/outside of
the drawers. Do my BLO/Shellac on the visible parts. What has be a bit
concerned is the drawer operations. I am not using mechanical commercially
available drawer slides. My drawers just sit on wood runners with pieces to
keep them straight and prevent tipping. Things slide pretty nicely now w/o
finish. There is a bit of play but I do not want to negatively impact the
drawer operations if I shellac them. I cant imagine putting on the shellac
so think that the drawers wouldn't fit anymore, really what I was a bit
concerned with is if the would slide as efficiently. Maybe they would slide
better, I guess I'll see.
Thanks again and Merry Christmas
Yes, on good work - but almost never with the same finish as is used on
I use a light coat of shellac, applied with a 1/2" artist's paintbrush
(synthetic bristles). Blonde or button shellac, depending on the timber.
I did once make the mistake of using "lemon oil" (made from lemongrass)
inside a coffer. It _stank_ ! Not unpleasantly, but certainly
overpoweringly. I'm not using that again. I had to stick handfuls of
fresh lavender in there to try and tone it down a bit.
Generally I don't finish the interior portions of my projects. This
includes a solid cherry cabinet in the bathroom and chests of drawers.
The exceptions are things like the armoire used as an entertainment
center and a bookcase. Those things have interiors that are usually
The choice is yours but I don't think you need to.
I finish the inside the same as the outside. It is not a big deal to do
(since I don't bother about being neat) and supposedly prevents problems
from the two sides absorbing moisture differently. But if I put 4 coats of
varnish on the outside, I will only put one or two on the inside. You can
take these things too far.
It is typical on the better grade of furniture to finish the drawers
so that the pores are filled but not to the degree that you begin to
develop a shine.
Do not finish the runners. They should be waxed. You should first
finish them with hot wax that will fill the grain and then with a
coat of cold wax that can be buffed to provide a good shine.
I do not like to use BLO for the interior of drawers, as it tends to
becomes sticky, and much prefer shellac, which dries quickly, builds
quickly, and tells you when you should stop.
BLO and its cousins will interact in bad ways with some things that
are stored in drawers.
Shellac will not do this.
Tom Watson - WoodDorker
And the winner is.... Tom! Thanks Tom - your post is the one I plan on
following. BLO where it shows, # coats TBD, followed by a spit coat of
shellac everywhere except the runners, followed by shellac from the can on
seen parts until the finish and sheen SWMBO desires is achieved. Wax drawer
runners as described. Now, I need to get busy so santa can have this under
the tree! (BLO already dry) Thanks again and merry Christmas.
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