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A previous customers wants me back to build him a built in custom cabinet for his audio and home theater equipment. He wants it painted white to match the other trimwork in the house.

This thing would be big and intricate with doors, glass fronts, draws ect... My concern is getting a professional finish. Making it out of hardwood and staining would not be a problem, but painting it white is making me scratch my head. For a furniture grade finish wouldn't this need to be sprayed to really look good. I can't imagine I could brush or roller it.

I guess I could sub it to a paint shop to be finished. My other thoughts are just to have the whole thing custom built from a major cabinet maker, such as American Woodmark or such and just install it for him.
 

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There are ways and products to get a 'sprayed ' look from a brush and roller. Use one of the new paints from either BM or SW. Ben Moore's Waterbourne Satin Impervo or Sherwins Waterbourne Pro-Classic both level beautifully, and dry to a nice oil-like finish.

Prime it with an alkyd enamel underbody, and let it dry a cuople days. Lightly sand it with a fine sanding sponge, avoid the sharp outside edges or you'll constantly take the paint right back off. After sanding, wipe it down with a tack cloth.

For the finish, assume at least 2, maybe 3 coats. Using a short napped roller (3/8", 1/4", or mohair) and roll out a section of it. In a section, I mean a piece from joint to joint. Or a recessed panel, or raised panel, etc. Then using a loaded brush, lightly lay it off, or brush it out. Don't brush it like your painting it, just drag the brush across the surface to level it out and remove the roller stipple. For the paints mentioned above, it must be done fairly quickly, as they tack up pretty fast, so don't over roll what you can brush out.

After each coat is dry, (thoroughly) sand agian and tack off.

Its easier to do than it is to tell how to do. Good luck.

If you need help, hit me up, me and the wife have been wanting to do a vaca in Colo for a while now. :Thumbs:
 

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Mike,

You might be able to use an HVLP (High volume, low pressure) unit. It will have less overspray, can give a fine finish, and is easier to use than an airless. It's slower than an airless, so you wouldn't want to use it to spray siding, but for smaller projects it can be just the tool to use. You can probably rent one.

Usually in this situation the real trick is in the masking. Protecting adjacent surfaces (and sometimes things not so adjacent) can be difficult, particularly if you are painting right up to a surface that is already painted the same color.

Sad but true story: Several years ago we had a customer who was moving into a new house. He wanted us to paint a couple of windows black and then sheetrock over the interior. He wanted a dark room and didn't want to replace the windows. My guy covered 3/4 of the new carpet with drops and then used a couple of spray cans to blacken the windows. When the job was done and he picked up the drops, he could see a very faint line where the black paint had drifted past the drops and landed on the new carpet. Fortunately the customer already planned to replace the carpet, but we learned a valuable lesson.

Brian Phillips
 

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Mike, Pro roughly describes a system long used in the marine industry and known as 'roll and tip'. I have only seen it used with oil based or epoxy paints like Imron, AwlGrip or SW's Sunfire. The way that they do it, it takes two, one rolls with a 4" disposable roller and the other follows and 'tips' with a very good (China bristle) brush. The tipper keeps a rag dampened with solvent and keeps the bristles as dry and clean as possible. Done properly, you would be hard pressed to tell it from a spray job.
I just had a 1965 63 ft, Burger Yacht done inside and out, gorgeous! Took 5-6 guys almost 4 months and there was a ton of prep work.
Pro is more familiar with latex and I am going to try his advice on some sample pieces. My personal experiences with getting any kind of finish with latex would involve many 4 letter words and I have listened to many painters and spent a lot of money on equipment. It's not all wasted, the HVLP setup that I purchased will spray a passable job, not a Bink's, but not bad. It will squirt gelcoat too.
 

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Mike,
I had a similar job as yours. I doubt the size was the same, (two end tables).
But Pro hit it on the head. SW makes Pro-Classic in both acrylic and enamel. Its one of the best finish paints I've ever used.
I used a aklyd primer, then the arylic semi-gloss, 3 coats. But to avoid the brush drag, I used the wooster 4" Sponge rollers. Leaves an excellent finish with this paint.
 

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The Roll & Tip method works pretty well.

If you're using oil you can get a good finish, with the right brush.

The same goes for acrylic.

The problem with acrylic is it drys fast, so you don't have as much time to work it as you do with oil, you can add a little retarder to it, then you can work it longer to get a better finish.

Another way to get a good finish with acrylic is to slap the paint on pretty thick to keep it wet, then work it to a smooth finish with a good brush and long, light strokes in one direction.

The trick is to keep your strokes straight and light, and the paint wet, if starts to set tip your brush in fresh paint.

Keep a sponge or a rag handy, if it gets away from you, wipe it off and start over.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I am finishing my deck project and it is time to contact the customer and start the one here. Any recommendations for best wood to use since this will be painted? I was leaning towards birch, any thoughts?

I'm on my way to find some of Ben Moore's Waterbourne Satin Impervo or Sherwins Waterbourne Pro-Classic both level beautifully, and dry to a nice oil-like finish. and try it out on some sample boards to see if I think I can handle the painting. From the posts here it seems like the painting is going to be more freaken work than building the cabinets! 3 coats plus a primer coat! Sheesh! :mad:
 
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