Do I finish inside and back of Entertainment Ctr.?


Old 02-14-00, 10:36 AM
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I had constructed a corner entertainment center and am now ready to begin applying the finish. It is 3/4" oak plywood with a 3/4" luan back. The shelves are also 3/4" oak plywood. My plans were to achieve a natural oak color finish to all visible surfaces (cabinet front and side, top surfaces of shelves):

1. apply a neutral color water based grain filler. Sanding lightly when dry.

2. apply 2-3 coats of a water based polyurethane.

My questions are:

A. Am I going about this the right way?

B. Should I also be finishing the bottoms of the shelves and the top/bottom non-visible surfaces of the cabinet? What about the luan back (especially as visible in the interior)?

Other finishing ideas are welcome.
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Old 02-14-00, 03:16 PM
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Dropped by from the Refinishing forum and saw your question.

I strongly suggest finishing all exposed wood surfaces, whether visible or not. A shelf finished on only one side, for instance, allows moisture to penetrate the unfinished side and increases the chances of it warping. This holds true even for 9 layer cabinet grade plywood.

You don't have to get it looking perfect, but please put at least one coat on every piece of wood you can reach.

(Did you really use 3/4" plywood for the back?)

George T.
Old 02-15-00, 10:52 AM
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When applying a finish, can I stop in the middle of a surface and continue later or should a surface be coated entirely before stopping?

An, yes, I did use 3/4 plywood for the back because of the shape of the shelves. I felt that because it is a corner unit (roughly triangular in shape), I needed to support the back of the shelves equally to the sides. Each 3/4" shelf sits in a 3/4" dado (? - a groove) cut into the sides and the back.

I probably should have visited here before doing all the work as it is now one heavy son-of-a-gun, but it seems pretty stable.
Old 02-15-00, 02:11 PM
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To add a few thoughts to George's comments, I would strongly suggest practicing ALL the steps you plan to use. I have done a LOT of furniture finishing and normally "practice"
on scraps when using a finishing "system" that I'm not used to. Wood filler, used by non-professionals wanting to achieve a professional finish, has ruined many-a-project. If you get it to work on test pieces, you will be able to use it on the whole piece, but I urge you not to start by applying it on the main piece only to find out it isn't working like you hoped or expected.
Rather than 2-3 coats of polyurethane,I would recommend using a coat of the sealer that your polyurethane mfgr makes first, and then go with 2 coats of the natural finish. Sealer is generally a better base coat than the finish coats are.
It is hard enough to avoid streaks and overlap lines when applying a finish when it is all done at the same time, so I don't recommend trying to stop in the middle of a piece. Allow yourself enough time to complete the surfaces you start. You could,in a pinch, stop at inside or outside corner lines but it's best to do the whole works at the same time. Don't make it harder on yourself than it needs to be.

[This message has been edited by The Timber Tailor (edited February 15, 2000).]
Old 02-16-00, 05:23 AM
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Follow TT's advice. The oak doesn't need a grain filler. If it were mahogany, then do it, but NOT oak.

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