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post #1 of 13 Old 01-31-2012, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
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Science Lab Make-Over

Hey guys,

I teach woodshop at a high school and the administrators have approached me about having one of my classes refinish the science lab student stations and teacher stations. In the student stations I have 96 drawers to rebuild, I was wondering what I could do with the cabinet carcase to give it a new look. I am thinking about sanding then applying a new finish. I am unable to move the units as the gas and water lines run through the cabinets from the floor. The carcase is made of maple, and i was wanting to make the drawers out of red oak fronts and poplar for the box sides and end. Would I be able to stain a maple? Just need some help with the best way to clean up the carcase in place and help with staining.

thanks,
Steve
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post #2 of 13 Old 01-31-2012, 12:19 PM
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Using a wood stripper solution rather than sanding is going to get you to a raw starting point with the least trouble. It is messy, but less trouble than dust flying all over and running the chance of sanding through the veneer. My question is...why do you want to use oak with maple? The oak is open grained and will not look very nice with the maple, natural or stained. There isn't that much difference in cost. Maple can be more blotchy when stained, but that can be dealt with with pre-stain and proper sanding. Give me your reasoning.
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post #3 of 13 Old 02-01-2012, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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Oak

I have just chosen oak because that is what I am familiar to working with. No real reason as to why. You think i would be better with Maple? I just assumed the price would be astronomical becasue the drawer fronts are 3/4" x 7 1/2" x 11". The lumberyard is selling me 1x10 and then ripping them to 7 1/2". Obviously the finished 1x8 is 7 1/4 which makes it to small leaving a reveal around the frame. I have used aircraft stripper before and found it to be a pain in the [email protected]##$. do you have another product that works well for you? I have tried staining maple before and that was just horrible. I have never tried the pre-stain so i am really interested in what you opinions are on brands. Is there another closed grain product that i could use to cover the drawer fronts that would look good? I don't mind using a light maple on the carcase and then a dark drawer front to make the units stand out?
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post #4 of 13 Old 02-02-2012, 01:25 PM
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I have to ask, since this is in a school, don't you have to get approval for what you propose to do and submit a budget for your materials? My suggestion for maple is just to keep the cabinets in the original style. Most of those cabinets were made with a natural finish so no staining should be required. If staining is required most of the stain and finish companies have a pre stain or sanding sealer that can be used as a pre stain by thinning it down (see the directions). I usually use Minwax, but Varathane is good, or Sherwin Williams. As for stripper, I have used Bix "Tough Job" stripper and like it a lot. Just use a respirator and rubber gloves and put paper down so you don't wreck the floor. If the lumber yard is selling you 1 x 10 and ripping it, are they charging you for 1 x 10? Why don't you buy the boards, glue up panels, and rip 7 1/2" pieces out yourself? I thought you said you are the woodshop teacher. I am sorry, but you are supposed to be teaching the kids how to do these things and know about them yourself. I am glad you are asking and I will be glad to guide you. I am 61 now and I remember my first jobs and how little I knew. Keep asking and all these people here will give you a quick education.
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post #5 of 13 Old 02-02-2012, 01:59 PM
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Lots of missing info regarding the project but my first thought is that doing the work in the classroom is probably not the best way to go. How many stations? All same size? Water and/or gas lines through all of them? What about removing 1 or 2 units at a time for refurbishing? Or construct 1 or 2 new units to start with and rotate until finished? Someone installed the gas and water after the stations were in place,no reason why maintainace can't remove and reinstall lines is there?
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post #6 of 13 Old 02-03-2012, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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School Policy

Quote:
Originally Posted by MNsawyergp View Post
I have to ask, since this is in a school, don't you have to get approval for what you propose to do and submit a budget for your materials? My suggestion for maple is just to keep the cabinets in the original style. Most of those cabinets were made with a natural finish so no staining should be required. If staining is required most of the stain and finish companies have a pre stain or sanding sealer that can be used as a pre stain by thinning it down (see the directions). I usually use Minwax, but Varathane is good, or Sherwin Williams. As for stripper, I have used Bix "Tough Job" stripper and like it a lot. Just use a respirator and rubber gloves and put paper down so you don't wreck the floor. If the lumber yard is selling you 1 x 10 and ripping it, are they charging you for 1 x 10? Why don't you buy the boards, glue up panels, and rip 7 1/2" pieces out yourself? I thought you said you are the woodshop teacher. I am sorry, but you are supposed to be teaching the kids how to do these things and know about them yourself. I am glad you are asking and I will be glad to guide you. I am 61 now and I remember my first jobs and how little I knew. Keep asking and all these people here will give you a quick education.


Well I never Proposed to do this, I was told i was going to do this. I was told my construction class was going to do this and i have 6 students in that class 2 of which are going to be "gangsta's" and professional rappers; four of which are good kids who will work and try to do a good job. This class is supposed to be learning how to plan and place concrete, frame, roof and all those good things. Unfortunately my cabinet making class has spent all semester learning how to draw and build there projects so they are spending this semester building their own drawings. I have roughly 60 days till the end of the semester and i only get to see these kids for 54 min a day. typically i loose about 10 to 15 minutes on tardies, attendance and tool set up and clean up. I need to work extremely fast so having the boards precut saves me time, and these students have learned how to use the tools so the redundancy factor is really wasting time. I wanted to spend the majority of my time on the carcase and cleaning materials as quickly as possible. They are charging me for a 1 x 10 and I am keeping the all falls for the cabinet class next year to build face frames out of, so i don't see that as being a huge waste. I have never used veneer's before I usually take and sand down to good clean wood then build up from there, just real concerned about my timeline and trying to be as efficient as possible, I feel bad cause the kids were excited about other projects and now they are bumming a little, except for my rappers they could care less.

Thanks for the help I think i am going to try some 60 or 80 grit and see if i can't get the scratches and then try to figure out what a good preservative of the faces and panels would be. I will try to get a picture up this evening.

Thanks again,
Steven
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post #7 of 13 Old 02-03-2012, 12:52 PM
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AHHHHHH!!! Don't use 60 or 80 grit!!! Please don't tell me you used coarse sandpaper on those cabinets. I just read your latest post. Wow, that changes the picture!!! I was wondering yesterday when you were going to do this work, whether it could be done in the summer when you had time and not be bothered. How do they expect you to do anything in 30-45 minute time blocks? Okay, emergengy stratagy!...Ready?! Don't sand or strip the cabinets! Have the kids clean the cabinets with a solution of TSP in water, using rags. Don't let them soak the cabinets, just clean off the grime. Next, if there are scratches or dents, use a clothes iron and a damp rag...lay the damp rag on the scratch or dent and apply the hot iron over it. The steam will puff up the scratch or dent. Wait til the area is dry, then sand the area with 120, then 150 sand paper. Lightly sand all the cabinets with 150 grit...MAKE SURE THEY GO WITH THE GRAIN!!! Next, apply Zinsser sanding sealer to all surfaces. This dries really fast and is runny, so make sure they apply it lightly and brush it out. Keep checking for drips and runs and brush them out. Once that is dry, use 320 or 440 wet and dry sandpaper and lightly scuff all areas. Use dry sponges as sanding blocks with this sandpaper. All they are to do is knock off the dust specks, not sand through the sealer coat. Now you are ready for finish coats. Kids and applying varnish don't mix, especially wanna-be rappers. I would suggest using Minwax Wipe-on Poly. Pay attention to the smell, ventilate if necessary. Make each kid wear rubber gloves, give them a bowl type container with about a cup of poly in it and a rag, have them soak a part of the rag only and wipe it on and spread it. This method is pretty fool proof and kids can do a good job at it. If you need a color it gets way more complicated. You could use Polyshades by Minwax and wipe that on, but it won't apply as well and may not be even. Call the Minwax help # and ask about adding color to the wipe-on Poly. Anyway, the next day you can re-coat. and the next day do a light scuff with 440 again and dust off the surfaces. The next day give everything a third coat. That should be good. You should be able to knock it out by the end of the semester this way.
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post #8 of 13 Old 02-06-2012, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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Ooops! I started stripping and sanding one as a test piece. I did a rather small area and it's the teacher desk so it shouldn't be detrimental. I tried uploading pics. this weekend but my computer was acting like my rappers and not working. I have pic.s but they need to be 700 x 700 and i am trying to cut them down to a manageable pixel range. What is TSP? I have never heard of or used that product? Thanks for the detailed reply that is pretty impressive anxious to see how it works out.
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post #9 of 13 Old 02-06-2012, 11:11 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bentwood View Post
Lots of missing info regarding the project but my first thought is that doing the work in the classroom is probably not the best way to go. How many stations? All same size? Water and/or gas lines through all of them? What about removing 1 or 2 units at a time for refurbishing? Or construct 1 or 2 new units to start with and rotate until finished? Someone installed the gas and water after the stations were in place,no reason why maintainace can't remove and reinstall lines is there?

I don't have a custodial staff or building maintenance supervisor who is real gung ho! we have the gas secured at the emergency shut off and i was going to pull the lines apart and he quickly stated that open gas lines pose fire hazards and gas seepage could leak by the valves. I suggested blank flange the fittings at the shop and he said there was no way he could secure the seepage and make the project safe. Basically he doesn't want to pull any of the fittings apart, water included.
6 units for students and 1 unit for teacher all have gas and water.

thanks
Steven
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post #10 of 13 Old 02-06-2012, 08:36 PM
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TSP is a cleaning product in powder form (trisodium phosphate), like laundry powder. Buy it at paint stores or lumber stores. It is used by painters to clean off oils and grime from woodwork or other surfaces before painting. This will get the cabinets mostly clean. Make sure you let the cabinets dry a day after cleaning them. The Zinsser sanding sealer will seal off the old finish and allow you to add new finish without reactions between the old and new finish. Keep at it. You will make it. By the way...do you have to replace the whole drawer or could you just take off the front and put new fronts on?
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post #11 of 13 Old 02-06-2012, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MNsawyergp View Post
TSP is a cleaning product in powder form (trisodium phosphate), like laundry powder. Buy it at paint stores or lumber stores. It is used by painters to clean off oils and grime from woodwork or other surfaces before painting. This will get the cabinets mostly clean. Make sure you let the cabinets dry a day after cleaning them. The Zinsser sanding sealer will seal off the old finish and allow you to add new finish without reactions between the old and new finish. Keep at it. You will make it. By the way...do you have to replace the whole drawer or could you just take off the front and put new fronts on?
Actually for the drawers I am cutting a raised panel on the table saw and mounting that to the existing face of the drawer. I am using the table saw and cutting the overhanging edges then countersinking the drawer pull hardware to catch the new fronts, Glue and Sandwich so to speak! you got a good solution besides that? I have heated the dovetails and they were assembled using hide glue so they do pull apart somewhat easily. Odd dovetail 5/8 with 14 degree
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post #12 of 13 Old 02-07-2012, 11:49 AM
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You are doing great. Looks like you have a good plan for the drawers. I hope the cabinet re-do goes well and the kids do a good job.
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post #13 of 13 Old 02-07-2012, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MNsawyergp View Post
AHHHHHH!!! Don't use 60 or 80 grit!!! Please don't tell me you used coarse sandpaper on those cabinets. I just read your latest post. Wow, that changes the picture!!! I was wondering yesterday when you were going to do this work, whether it could be done in the summer when you had time and not be bothered. How do they expect you to do anything in 30-45 minute time blocks? Okay, emergengy stratagy!...Ready?! Don't sand or strip the cabinets! Have the kids clean the cabinets with a solution of TSP in water, using rags. Don't let them soak the cabinets, just clean off the grime. Next, if there are scratches or dents, use a clothes iron and a damp rag...lay the damp rag on the scratch or dent and apply the hot iron over it. The steam will puff up the scratch or dent. Wait til the area is dry, then sand the area with 120, then 150 sand paper. Lightly sand all the cabinets with 150 grit...MAKE SURE THEY GO WITH THE GRAIN!!! Next, apply Zinsser sanding sealer to all surfaces. This dries really fast and is runny, so make sure they apply it lightly and brush it out. Keep checking for drips and runs and brush them out. Once that is dry, use 320 or 440 wet and dry sandpaper and lightly scuff all areas. Use dry sponges as sanding blocks with this sandpaper. All they are to do is knock off the dust specks, not sand through the sealer coat. Now you are ready for finish coats. Kids and applying varnish don't mix, especially wanna-be rappers. I would suggest using Minwax Wipe-on Poly. Pay attention to the smell, ventilate if necessary. Make each kid wear rubber gloves, give them a bowl type container with about a cup of poly in it and a rag, have them soak a part of the rag only and wipe it on and spread it. This method is pretty fool proof and kids can do a good job at it. If you need a color it gets way more complicated. You could use Polyshades by Minwax and wipe that on, but it won't apply as well and may not be even. Call the Minwax help # and ask about adding color to the wipe-on Poly. Anyway, the next day you can re-coat. and the next day do a light scuff with 440 again and dust off the surfaces. The next day give everything a third coat. That should be good. You should be able to knock it out by the end of the semester this way.
I think I learned more about finishing in this single post than I did in a semester of wood shop. Awesome info here, thank you.
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