couple finishing questions for my first real project - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-06-2015, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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couple finishing questions for my first real project

ive been reading a lot on the forums lately as ive started my first real woodworking project. I am making a hope chest out of walnut and cherry ply. my question really comes down to how to finish.

1)do I need to sand down the cherry plywood at all? im assuming not?

2) In my journeys through google I came across a video of a guy and I really enjoyed the color of the walnut wood but he applied a diluted dye ( behlin sol lux I believe), zinser seal and sand, an oil based stain (old masters gel stain) and then finished it off with several coats of lacquer. I liked the color and finish of the wood but would prefer to keep my cherry its natural color and away from the stain and dye. to do this would I just stain, seal and sand, dye and then assemble the entire thing and then lacquer it? does the cherry ply need a seal and sand or any type of grain sealer since its plywood? or would lacquering it be adequate?

3) what should I sand the wood surface to before I start any of this process, Ive read some people say 180 is adequate where others say 340.

4) im looking for a final finish that will be nice and smooth and somewhere around a semigloss.... will this require sanding between coats of lacquer? if so what grits are recommended for this process?

im sure ill have more questions as the replies come in so thanks in advance for all the info and help, ive been reading a ton of stuff about finishing and at this point I feel like my brain was filled with information and than shaken for an hour or so in one of those homedepot paint shaker things.
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post #2 of 8 Old 08-06-2015, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogvila View Post
ive been reading a lot on the forums lately as ive started my first real woodworking project. I am making a hope chest out of walnut and cherry ply. my question really comes down to how to finish.

1)do I need to sand down the cherry plywood at all? im assuming not?

2) In my journeys through google I came across a video of a guy and I really enjoyed the color of the walnut wood but he applied a diluted dye ( behlin sol lux I believe), zinser seal and sand, an oil based stain (old masters gel stain) and then finished it off with several coats of lacquer. I liked the color and finish of the wood but would prefer to keep my cherry its natural color and away from the stain and dye. to do this would I just stain, seal and sand, dye and then assemble the entire thing and then lacquer it? does the cherry ply need a seal and sand or any type of grain sealer since its plywood? or would lacquering it be adequate?

3) what should I sand the wood surface to before I start any of this process, Ive read some people say 180 is adequate where others say 340.

4) im looking for a final finish that will be nice and smooth and somewhere around a semigloss.... will this require sanding between coats of lacquer? if so what grits are recommended for this process?

im sure ill have more questions as the replies come in so thanks in advance for all the info and help, ive been reading a ton of stuff about finishing and at this point I feel like my brain was filled with information and than shaken for an hour or so in one of those homedepot paint shaker things.
1. always scuff sand wood with 180 grit before applying any finish. Any higher grit and you risk "polishing" the wood and your stain will turn out lighter than it should be.

2. If you are wanting just natural cherry, just scuff sand, apply 2-3 coats of sealer, then a sheen topcoat of your choice. To get more depth, apply 4 coats of a gloss topcoat, then the sheen topcoat of your choice. Of course, scuff sand between each coat.

3. cherry....180 grit before applying a finish or stain.

4. Apply your first coat of finish, do not sand. Apply another coat, scuff sand with 320 grit. Apply your 3rd or 4th coat sanding in between with 240 grit.
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post #3 of 8 Old 08-06-2015, 11:33 PM
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Always sand any plywood. You never know how much it has been handled or has been wet. Also with cherry keep the plywood covered with a blanket before finishing. The wood tends to darken from sunlight. If for any reason it sat in the sun with a shadow covering part of it you could end up with part of it lighter in color than the rest of it.

You might want to refrain from using dyes. If you don't have the means of spraying it is very difficult to get uniform. The cherry should also have a wood conditioner prior to using an oil stain. This will prevent it from going blotchy. First practice any finishing procedure on scrap wood before applying it to your project. You may need to use a different stain or thin the conditioner to get the color you want. It would be best to solve these problems before putting anything on your project.

As far as sanding, I sand woods not prone to blotching to 180 grit. Woods prone to blotching I sand to 320.

Lacquer is a good choice for a finish but needs to be sprayed. All film finishes need to be sanded between coats. The finish gets smoother and more level every time it is sanded. Usually what we do is use a sealer appropriate for the type lacquer used. It's made with more solids and builds quicker and is also made softer so it is easier to sand. I normally use 220 grit paper to sand between coats.
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post #4 of 8 Old 08-07-2015, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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thanks for the replies! glad I asked about the cherry ply! so the chest is made with walnut using mortise and tenon joints and in between walnut stiles im gluing in the cherry plywood panels into mortises. i want the cherry to be its natural color so no stains or anything of that sort but im still tossing the idea around of dyes or stains for the walnut. Because i want to color the walnut and not the cherry i was thinking of maybe doing that step before i assemble the chest? if i treat the walnut this way before i assemble and say i accidentally get dye or stain on some of the mortise and tenons will this affect the glue when i go to put it all together.

ive seen the lacquer in spray cans, is this a hokey way of spraying it on? if its an ok process, can i wet sand the final coats or "rub out" as ive seen it called to a finish i like?
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post #5 of 8 Old 08-07-2015, 07:33 AM
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Spraying a large project with spray can lacquer can be done but is pretty difficult. When spraying the finish spray it extra wet and move as fast as you can. It's important to keep a wet edge with the finish from one end to the other. Often on a large project that can be difficult to do and the finish gets some streaks in it. If this occurs you can allow a few days drying time and rub the streaks out with rubbing compound. It might end up glossier than you want but at least there won't be any brush marks.
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-08-2015, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for the tips about the spray lacquer aerosol cans. i have a wagner airless paint sprayer that says it will do finishes and it has an extra fine spray tip attachment. think i may try that on a scrap piece of wood see how it comes out.
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post #7 of 8 Old 08-08-2015, 06:07 PM
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thanks for the tips about the spray lacquer aerosol cans. i have a wagner airless paint sprayer that says it will do finishes and it has an extra fine spray tip attachment. think i may try that on a scrap piece of wood see how it comes out.
Be careful using the wagner for lacquer. Rumor has it there is a risk of explosion spraying lacquer with that sprayer. Make sure it is compatible with that finish. That sprayer is really designed for homeowners to spray latex paint. Even if it doesn't explode the solvents in lacquer might ruin it if it's not compatible. You might contact the company and ask first.
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-10-2015, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Well that would have been terrible to catch on fire. Looked through the Wagner website, says it can do water based lacquers, have been reading about a product I believe called ultimate spray lacquer by target which is water based, may give that a go on some scrap with a fire extinguisher near by just to be safe
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