Staining before assembly

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My last bookcase got a little messy during gluing, and I had a heck of a time sanding it out to take stain. I understand it is just a matter of better technique, but I wonder if there is any reason not to stain before assembly? That way a little loose glue won't matter much, and it is probably easier anyhow. I am talking about the interior; the exterior will have to be sanded after assembly, so it wouldn't make any sense to stain it before hand.
Thanks.
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I usually take a little time tape off the glue joints. It may take a little longer but it usually saves a lot of time and frustration.
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I hadn't heard of that before. With masking tape?

little
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Or that blue painters tape. Check out a recent back issue of Fine Woodworking for some tips on no-mess glue-ups. Tom Someday, it'll all be over....
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I like finishing before assembly, you could probably sand and finish the exterior of your project as well if you are careful. Just make sure to tape off or tape closed the joints and orifices you intend to glue. After finishing, I keep all of my parts on cloth and between cloths, I do the glue-ups on cloth and use cloth on the clamps to avoid marring the finish or the wood. The disadvantage of this method is the extra care required during assembly and the potential for damaging finished parts.
The advantage is the perfection of finish in corners and the uniformity of the finish across the piece. Not having to sand into corners really helps the overall appearance as well.
Even if you don't pre-finish all of a piece, some elements make pre- finishing essential. This approach is really good for things like raised panel doors -- you don't have to worry about wood movement exposing unfinished areas.
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Toller wrote:

I don't recommend it. I did that once, and it was a PITA trying to keep dust/hand prints out of the slightly tacky stain until I could get everything together and finished. I managed to get some glue onto the stain too, and it was damn near impossible to do anything about it. That piece still has some little patches of yellow residue in a couple of crannies.
Besides, anything that would screw up stain will screw up the top coat too, so you really want to do a neat glue-up and take care of all the squooge before you finish it.
("squooge" now there's another one to get into the OED some day... you heard it here first, folks...)
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Silvan wrote:

It's interesting to see how different folks perceptions are on some of these things. I *always* finish before glueup. IME, "squooge" is easier to get off of a finished surface than raw wood. (I use mostly shellac, but have found the same for other topcoats). I tape the inside of the joints with blue painters tape, protect the piece with softwood or cork pads on the clamps and have at it. When I'm done I just pull off the tape and there comes the squeezeout. Any leftover squeezeout pops off easily after it sets a bit.
I've found it easier/quicker to finish your pieces when they are all laid flat, plus you don't have to worry about getting finish into tight corners, and you don't get drips and runs from finishing vertical surfaces.
Chuck Vance
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One other thing I forgot to mention in my post was that in addition to applying the finish, I also make sure I put two coats of wax on after the finish cures -- the wax is a bit of protection for the finish and also assures that inadvertent drops of glue slide right off.
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Conan The Librarian wrote:

Hmmm... Was the OP talking about doing a complete finish of the parts? I thought he was talking stain, glue, then finish.
The way you're doing it doesn't sound completely absurd to me. The piece I was talking about was done as I just described. Stain, glue, then shellac. It didn't work out very well. Maybe it would have been different if I had top coated the pieces as well.
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Silvan wrote:

It wouldn't hurt to give it a try sometime. I don't usually stain wood unless I'm trying to reproduce a particular color, but when I do stain I still go ahead and put on the topcoat before glueup.
As Mark mentioned elsewhere in this thread, give the finish its normal curing time before gluing it up (and apply wax if you want).
Chuck Vance
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Conan The Librarian wrote:

I promised Monsieur Jacques that I would never, ever use stain again, so I don't expect that to be a problem. I still had some projects in the pipeline when I finally came over to the light side of the force. :)
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Silvan wrote:

First of all, I wouldn't promise Lawwy anything. He promised us that he would finish his spokeshave and bowsaur years ago, and we know how that turned out.
Secondly, I hate stain, but I've found that there are cases where I have no choice. My main client (SWMBO) likes southwestern-style furniture, and it has an "aged" look to it that almost mandates the use of some sort of stain. I tried coloring the wood with garnet shellac, and while I liked the look, SWMBO thought it was too "bright". I tried colored waxes and they looked too "dull".
Finally, I found a finishing program that worked to reproduce the look she was after. It involved using Minwax "natural stain" (probably nothing more than mineral spirits plus some additives) for the first coat to help prevent blotching. That was followed by "plantation walnut" wiping oil/varnish for a color base. After that, I used a homebrew wiping varnish of turps, BLO and spar varnish with a touch of artists oils for additional color.
It works and you can easily control the amount of sheen you get.
So, where was I? Oh yes ... don't promise yourself you'll never stain wood if you ever make projects for anyone besides yourself. :-)
Chuck Vance
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wrote:

Does he actually do any woodworking? Or does he just bust balls on the 'wreck? <G>
Barry
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Conan The Librarian wrote:

Yeah, but if I don't do what I said I would, he yells at me. Just look how freaked out he got when I told him I put poly all over a walnut/maple chess board.
I'm just trying to keep the peace.

Gah. Not one of my favorite styles... I hope either you like the style better than I do, or your SWMBO really makes it worth your while to produce that stuff... ;)

Wimminz are like that. Luckily, SWMBO really isn't picky at all. Well, obviously, since she married me. :)
Wow, I could go a long way with that. I guess I won't get into it. It's a long tale of being raised to believe that all men are evil, and then meeting a woman who gets pissed at me when I ask for her opinion on something. "You're the man, it's your job to decide." WTF?

Hey, I didn't promise myself. I promised Larry. If I use stain, I just won't tell anybody on the Wreck about it. :)
In truth, I don't have much use for stain anymore. I used to stain everything walnut, because I didn't realize I had real walnut so close at hand and readily available. I had never actually *seen* real walnut. (Plus I had no way to surface anything, and I couldn't have done much with it if I had had it sooner.) Once I discovered the local lumber dealer hidden smack in the middle of town and got my hands on some of the real stuff, I haven't stained anything walnut-colored, and my projects have suddenly gotten much more expensive to build. Go figure. :)
I have to confess that I'm thinking about building a curio out of poplar stained to resemble walnut. The real stuff is very much prettier, but poplar is soooooo much cheaper, and I need sooooooo much wood for this project. Sigh. Don't tell Larry I said that. I'm counting on you to keep my secret, Conan.
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On Fri, 05 Dec 2003 19:47:23 -0500, Silvan

Conanski is just spoutin'. I did finish the spokeshave, pics and all, and told him that the bow saur would be done, er...some time this decade. Go back and look at the posts if you don't believe me. Please note that he didn't say a word when I finished that last wooddorking project, the poisonous bridge.

I HEARD THAT! <whap whap whap>

He'd better NOT tell me. You know how I get. ;)
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wrote:

--snip--
Yes, but did you yet find a crik for that thar bridge?
Renata
--snip--

smart, not dumb for email
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forth from the murky depths:

Shore did. It developed in my neck as I installed the bloody thing. It'll have matched butterfly bushes on either side come spring, and the St. John's Wort will be replanted up to them, surrounding the bridge.
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Larry Jaques wrote:

Yeah, sure, excuses, excuses.

At least you didn't scream "SINNER!" at me this time.

Yeah, I know. That's why you're going to send me a check for the price difference between 18 bf of poplar and 18 bf of walnut, right? Right? :)
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You say that like it's a bad thing.

Well, I just didn't know how to break it to you gently that there seemed to be one critical element missing in your design.
Chuck Vance
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On 8 Dec 2003 05:43:20 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@swt.edu (Conan the Librarian) brought forth from the murky depths:

<vbg>
Had you seen my front yard yesterday, you'd have known why that bridge is there. The missing element fell from the sky all day and my moat filled up.
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