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Anonymous

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Hi all,

I'm working up to building my first large furniture project (bookcase & Bureau) and was wondering whether I could stain & finish some/all of the parts before final assembly/ glue up. I would build & dry fit all bits, then disassemble and finish each piece individually. Given my limited space I'm thinking this would allow me a more even coating in the hard to reach places, but I'm wondering how this would affect my final glue up. My instinct is that on some finishes, the glue would hold bond as good.

any thoughts
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Generally I would say not to stain prior to asembly, but (there always seems to be one) when making cabinet doors it is common to stain the panels prior to assembly. No glue here though as they float.

An oil base stain may cause problems with your glue up. Then, if you get glue on to a stained part you may have a problem when you apply your finish (shellac, poly etc).

I can understand your reason to get ahead of the game so to speak, but I recommend you assemble, smooth and then finish your peice(s).
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Hi Keystone,

Thanks for the advice; I was pretty sure that this would be the case or else why does every woodworking book & TV program show assembly then finishing?

Thanks again
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I always try to do all as much finishing as possible first, before gluing up. Much easier to do. You just have to take a little time to mask the areas where the glue will go before you do so. To help avoid getting stain into gluing areas, score along the line you're trying to satin to with a sharp knife, as well as masking it. It seems to help, in that the wood fibres are severed and thus don't encourage the stain to run along them. At least, that's what I assume happens. :?
There's a picture here of the sort of masking involved. It takes a little while to do, but when you're putting on quite a few coats of finish it's time well spent.

Cheers, Jester
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Hi

French polisher and professional finisher (16 years 2x City and Guilds BEng Materials)

Stain and seal whilst knocked down!!!

Blimey any professional finisher would give his teeth to be able to stain and seal before assembly.

Modern PVA or cascamite will stick to sealer! Just make sure there is no dust.

This is the way I do staircases if possible. Stain, seal, sand double seal, assemble, even up/adjust stain then final finish.

I have worked on thousands of billions of pounds worth of building projects in the last ten years and 99% of the woodwork comes to site prefinished to be glued up (which is a shame for us polishers!)

Prefinishing before assembly will save you around 50 to 100% in time and avoid getting misses in corners/ artifacts such as glue misses/ brush or rag marks in corners/ bleeding out at corners, panels etc...

If you are still paranoid then use a water stain before assembly and then seal up afterwards, that way you will still save yourself hours, get a better even colour and the waterstain (as it has no build whatsoever) will not affect your glueing at all (infact it may even help by removing fine dust!)

Hope this helps

Toby Newell
BTW Don't beleive all the articles you read about finishing in magazines etc... these are mostly bandied about by Architects/ Designers and usually make me howl with laughter as they rarely have a clue. If you need advice, look in the yellow pages under French Polishers and phone up one of the single line entries, chances are you will get an eccentric polishing nutter who will bore the pants off you for hours with fantastic free expert advice, it's in our genes you know...
 

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