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I am building cabinets for my shop.... Red oak for FF doors and drawer fronts and oak ply for boxes.... I still have a lot of work to do but b4 I get too far ahead I would like to cover all my bases.... Should I attach FF to boxes b4 staining and finishing? Or wait till after assembly.... What method do u guys use for sanding the solid wood and the ply? Start with 120 and work up? What should be my final grit? I have my stain already but what should my clear coat be? I've always used polyurethane in a can with foam brush.... But I have been using spray cans of poly on other smaller stuff.... Pros and cons?.... What is some diff methods?.... Should I look into investing into a hvlp sprayer? What are some good ones for the money?.... Sorry for soooo many ?s but I HATE redoing things and u guys have all the answers! :) thanks a lot
 

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Old School
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I am building cabinets for my shop.... Red oak for FF doors and drawer fronts and oak ply for boxes.... I still have a lot of work to do but b4 I get too far ahead I would like to cover all my bases.... Should I attach FF to boxes b4 staining and finishing? Or wait till after assembly....
When I fabricate with or without face frames, all finishing is done after assembly.

What method do u guys use for sanding the solid wood and the ply? Start with 120 and work up? What should be my final grit?
I usually end up with 180x. I use an open coat paper, or in some cases scraping and sanding.

I have my stain already but what should my clear coat be? I've always used polyurethane in a can with foam brush.... But I have been using spray cans of poly on other smaller stuff.... Pros and cons?.... What is some diff methods?.... Should I look into investing into a hvlp sprayer? What are some good ones for the money?
If you are finishing cabinets, using a rattle can in any media would be difficult to get good coverage. Oil base finishes are difficult to spray, even with a good gun and adequate compressor. It's a heavy body finish that has the propensity to run. It stays wet for a long time and is a magnet for dust and ity bity critters.

I would recommend using a waterbase polyurethane. It stays clear, dries fast, low odor, and easy cleanup. It's easy to spray out of an ordinary conventional siphon cup and gun.






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I like to assemble then final sanding and I agree with cabinetman - 180 is my final grit. My preference is to start with 100 - 120 - 150 with machine sander (palm or whatever you have). Then I wet (not soak) the project and watch it dry (about 20 minutes). This will do 2 things for me. It brings out the mistakes like glue blotches etc. Wet will also lift the loose fibers left behind from sanding. After the project is dry, I hand sand with 180 to get rid of the loose fibers.

Some folks will sand up too 400+ to get a glass like look finish, but I was taught that any sanding beyond 180 is counterproductive because at that point you begin to close the open pores of the wood. Besides my way being my preference... I'm just too lazy to keep sanding. :laughing:
 

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I typically sand plywood only to 150, but use 180 on everything else, pretty close to what the others replied. Anyway, they get finished after construction (if you're doing the inside, you might do that before assembly on the smaller cabinets). Also if you use an oil based finish, try doing it with a high quality natural bristle brush, as opposed to spraying. But if you go waterborne, spray it. If you don't have a spray gun, get an HVLP conversion gun.... it does eliminate some of the overspray. But if you have a conventional gun, go for it.
 

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+1 to cabinet man. Up until about 6 months ago I did all my finishing after assembly, now I use a joint which allows for 0 clamps. Now all my finishing come 1st.
 

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Scotty D
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+1 to cabinet man. Up until about 6 months ago I did all my finishing after assembly, now I use a joint which allows for 0 clamps. Now all my finishing come 1st.
Is it a special secret spy joint, or can you share this joint without compromising national security? :blink:
 

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I started sanding my red oak project with 180 then went to 400 and can't believe how smooth and clean it looks/feels but I guess this will mostly change during the finishing process? Is that correct, depending on how it is finished?
 

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>>>> Start with 120 and work up?

Yes, on solid wood start with 120 and then go up to 180 until all sanding marks are sanded out.

Plywood is factory sanded to 180 grit. With today's very thin veneers, do not sand above 180 grit. Get your first two coats applied and then sand gently with 320 grit. That way you are sanding the finish, not the wood and will have less chance of sand through.
 

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I'd probably get in big trouble. It is patented. And I do not own the rights to use it. So... I don't know how that works. I saw a picture of it and started my own way. They use cnc. I use table saw and a beefed up t-slot cutter on shaper.
 
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