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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm building a bathroom vanity. Everything is cut and I've dry fit the pieces and this is the point I always ask this question - should I assemble the unit and then stain/finish or should I stain/finish and then glue and screw it together.

IMG_2271.jpg

I find it a lot easier to put apply sealer, stain and a top coats to small straight pieces rather than a large face frame unit. I have a nice drying rack that works great for rails and stiles. BUT there is all that taping to do first!

So what's your preferred method and why?

drying rack.jpg

Thanks for reading.
 

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I'd say if you like doing it before assembly then thats the best for you...
 

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The sealing and stain is easier before for sure, especially on the inside in the corners. Final finish inside would be okay but there isn't much to be gained by that. On the outside I would leave at least the top coats off until after. It can take a while for the finish to harden and that means a clamp might leave a mark that has to be refinished and that is a PITA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I would leave at least the top coats off until after. It can take a while for the finish to harden and that means a clamp might leave a mark that has to be refinished and that is a PITA.
Good points, thanks for your insight.
 

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Berry; keep inmind that in production shops all the finishing is done by skilled spray finishers. None of the issues that face hobbyists are obstacles when you spray stain, sealer, and lacquer.
Personally, I prefer to do all my finishing at one time...after the build, and after I've cleaned up all the dust and debris. For me it's just more practical.
 

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I have done it both ways and been successful and had nary a problem. Then there are times when I've assembled it first and had that little bit of glue that I've either missed or not gotten off/out of the wood grain completely and usually with the last applicator stroke. This reminds me that it's - for me, anyhow - best to pre finish with the stain at least then assemble.
 

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I'm not an expert but I would think that finishing after assembly would fill any small voids or spaces between the pieces of wood. Maybe stain as unassembled but apply the final coats when assembled. What do you others think?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Drying Rack

I like the drying rack!
The plans for that came from Wood Magazine years ago. It's pretty neat in that it hangs from the ceiling joists in the garage when not in use. The PVC pipes just slide in and out.

Great so I can get the car out of the snow and in the garage. (we had 7" last night and it's still coming down)
 

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I'm not an expert but I would think that finishing after assembly would fill any small voids or spaces between the pieces of wood. Maybe stain as unassembled but apply the final coats when assembled. What do you others think?
Hi, guys.

This is my prefered procedure, when I need to apply some coat to my projects.
 

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Personally, I like to do as much prefinishing as possible. Sand, stain, seal and a coat or two of the final finish before I cut to finished size and cut joinery.

Keep the show side up as much as possible when machining, a quick scuff sand on that side after assembly and a final finish coat. Done.

Easy. No taping because the joinery is cut after prefinishing on the inside where the glue surfaces are machined and a few scratches don't matter, whatever minor scuffs the show side suffered during construction are easily sanded out and covered with the final coat. If you're careful...

Works for me, YMMV.

Best,
Bill
 
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