I'm getting ready to build a large shop cabinet. I saw it in a
woodworking magazine. ( American Woodworker, #91 December 2001).
It will take 4 full sheets of plywood.
I was considering finishing both sides of the plywood before I cut it.
It seems easier to do this than to put the finish on after the cabinet
is assembled with the associated hardware. I never see this process
suggested in magazine articles.
Am I missing something here? Does it mess up something else if I do
I don't care about the exposed piles. I could do that after the
installation was complete.
Anyone have any thoughts on this?
When prefinishing before cutting the panels you stand the chance of screwing
up the finish. For a shop cabinet that may not matter much. Prefinishing
also may becoming a problem at the glued up joints as glue prefers bare wood
to bond well.
A better approach may be to cut your panels, cut your dado's, groves, and
rabbets, and then perhaps prefinish keeping the finish out of the fresh cut
joints and taping off the surfaces that will mate inside those joints.
I know the cabinet that you are talking about. IIRC it has 2 outer fold out
doors and 2 inner fold out doors. Personally I would build each section and
prefinish and then add you hinges.
I just completed the same bench you're describing. Used Watco Danish oil to
finish the cabinet and top as it was completed (first the cabinet and then
both sides of the top before mounting it). I used 3/4" maple/birch plywood
for the entire cabinet since the cost was the same (it was on special at HD)
as regular 3/4" plywood. I also utilized maple vice birch for all the solid
stock as rough-cut maple is very cheap where I live. As for the top, I
followed the AW's instructions, but used full-length strips of wormy maple
rather that trying to work with off cuts as they did in the magazine
article. (Wormy maple cost me $.90/bd foot instead of $1.40/bd ft for clear
I also biscuited the strips (about three #10's per strip) to
ensure that they remained aligned during the glue up and clamping. Because
of the size and gluing area, I used a quart of glue just for the top.
Overall, I am most pleased with the bench, as it is large enough to use for
the assembly of large pieces. On the down side, the cost of this project is
rather insidious. After investing in such things as 2 vises, 6 casters, 10
glides, plywood, maple and even angle iron, I have at least $450 in the
project. However, AW's estimate is $900, so I guess I shouldn't complain.
Good luck and let me know if you'd like to see pictures of my production.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2004 11:03 AM
Subject: Prefinishing a shop cabinet
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