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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need some advice from people who have experience painting and/or staining better quality cabinetry.

We carry several lines of cabinets, all finished at the factory. Have declined to re-face cabinets or paint cabinets on-site, except in rare instances for a couple of vanities when we were doing a lot of other work. When I've worked it out new doors, drawers, hardware, etc., run 75-80% or more of what new cabinets would cost and you can never make them look like they came from the factory if you just take a roller or brush to them on site.

Had a spat of people wanting just unfinished doors lately, which I have a couple vendors for. Couple of instances where maybe doing this makes sense. One is a guy who is building bookcases, wants to buy the unfinished doors and paint them himself to match the built-ins he is doing. Second is a vanity, third is a kitchen, with tiled countertops that are desirable to keep. New cabinets would mean tearing them out and replacing tops as well.

Question: If I decide to paint or stain any doors in my shop, what special equipment is needed in your opinion? I've got a guy who builds custom for me, will stain anything, but won't do an opaque finish due to lack of proper equipment.

I assume a spray gun is best for opaque and maybe a lot of stains. Should I seal off an area and put an infrared space heater in it? Or need specialized infrared heat lights, or none at all? Any particular temperature it needs to be done at? How many coats should I expect to do? What about adding hand-rubbed glazes, anything special I should think about? What kind of rack or holder is used to hold the doors and drawer fronts while they are being sprayed and drying?

I really haven't wanted to get into this because I think it means investing a lot for little result and maybe only the occasional job. But painting a door with a brush or roller just sucks. And I'm inclined to do a test job if the investment isn't too high. Can I set up an area and get a decent result without major investment? By "decent" I mean something I would consider acceptable in my house. Anything I should be aware of I'm not asking? Thanks in advance!
 

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Question: If I decide to paint or stain any doors in my shop, what special equipment is needed in your opinion? I've got a guy who builds custom for me, will stain anything, but won't do an opaque finish due to lack of proper equipment.

I assume a spray gun is best for opaque and maybe a lot of stains. Should I seal off an area and put an infrared space heater in it? Or need specialized infrared heat lights, or none at all? Any particular temperature it needs to be done at? How many coats should I expect to do? What about adding hand-rubbed glazes, anything special I should think about? What kind of rack or holder is used to hold the doors and drawer fronts while they are being sprayed and drying?

I really haven't wanted to get into this because I think it means investing a lot for little result and maybe only the occasional job. But painting a door with a brush or roller just sucks. And I'm inclined to do a test job if the investment isn't too high. Can I set up an area and get a decent result without major investment? By "decent" I mean something I would consider acceptable in my house. Anything I should be aware of I'm not asking? Thanks in advance!
Many of the questions you seek answers to are too complex to give a simple response. If you haven't done much or any fine finish spraying or specialty finishes, I would either hire someone with the finishing expertise or even better, sub out the work if you only need this done on occasion. The cabinet shops that pre-finish their work typically have high dollar, dust-free, explosion-proof spray booths with expert finishers. And their finish schedules are multi-step, in some cases up to 10 or more.

Having said that, I do much of my own basic stain/paint and glaze finishes using a high quality HVLP gun. I also use water reduced finishes exclusively so I don't blow-up my shop. There is a learning curve and lots to study about the different finishes and applying them. Do your homework if you want to get into this type of work. This website, http://www.woodweb.com/cgi-bin/forums/finishing.pl, has a lot of info on it, as does this, http://www.finishwiz.com/index.htm.
 

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native floridian
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set up a downdraft spray booth (10'x10') should be enough to get you started. An air assisted airless sprayer will spray lacquers and stains with a quality finish. there are racks available for the door faces not sure where you can get them. The key is having a dust free enviroment.
 

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Wood Craftsman
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staining,painting,varnishing

You need a HVLP: Not saying you can't do it~ but you should do a trial run on the same material, "NOT THE CABINETS" if painting/staining and varnishing.

What I use and "most" craftsman use are HVLP guns but you really need to spend some time with using one before you start this. If you become comfortable with it you can get a glass finish every time.

Staining method I use is the NGR , pricey-YES but wait till you see the results ,I use a 2 step process , I do NOT spray the NGR on the product, it is brushed on and dries almost instantly and it will not raise the grain. Then I use Mohawk wiping stain over the NGR . I do not always use these in combination, it all depends on finish desired. The urethane will need to be slightly diluted before the application is sprayed- if you are using urethane. Everyone has different methods but I have had great success with this process and gives a very professional finish "IF DONE CORRECTLY"


As the above mentioned, you are going to need a ventilation booth - that is a must!
 

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You'll be surprised at what you can accomplish with low end automotive hvlp guns. I spray most of my clear with a $50 gravity feed gun & most of my paints with a pressurized siphon cup gun. I've got a 60 gallon compressor & a 1000 sq ft dedicated paint/finish shop

I'd really like to upgrade to an airless unit, but at this point, I don't spray trim or cabinet doors on a daily basis, so I'm having trouble justifying it. I'll just keep filling the guns 1 qt at a time for now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the tips

Thanks for the advice. Prestige, you describe a staining method that sounds interesting. What kind of different finishes result? And pardon my ignorance, I'm unfamiliar with "NGR." Can you tell me a little more?

I also talked to the high-end paint store next door. Reached a similar conclusion. He suggested a gravity 1-quart HVLP gun to start, he said a new gun and accessories would run about $900. I've never priced one, have no idea what they run. He said if I did quite a bit of work and wanted to step up instead of gravity fed to some kind of powered sprayer, the whole kit would be about $1,600 ball park. If I could pick up a decent used gun for $50 to play with I'd be a lot more inclined!

I could set up a corner of my warehouse as a makeshift clean room. Haven't checked on what it would cost to ventilate it, but I figure a few hundred at most, shouldn't it?

And I have contacts for a couple of painters who can probably do this for me, which I'm sure makes more sense. Got to say, I'm itching to try it and trying to justify doing so. I enjoy staining stuff by hand, so I suppose I could order a door or two and play with them on staining and glazing.

Here's the part I can't get my mind around. IF this is for a kitchen or bath where the cabinets are not being pulled, just doors, drawer boxes and fronts, and hardware being replaced, then the face and sides of cabinets have to be done on-site.

That means taping and covering everything else, sanding them down with a shop vac running, and not knowing how they are going to come out or take stain. This makes a better argument for opaque instead of hand-applied stain. And stain or paint, if sprayed there is always the issue of overspray. Even if everything is covered and taped, I have a hard time imagining there isn't going to be a problem with ventilation and some residue getting on something no matter what I do.

And if I pull the cabinets to bring to the shop, that means destroying a tiled top on the one I have in mind. And if we are going to do that I can order new cabinets with less hassle and at anything from less cost to maybe 30% more, depending on what is choosen. So how do I solve the on-site sanding and overspray problem if I do try this? While I'd love to give it a try, should I say forget doing it myself unless I can book X number of jobs? Even if I use one of the painters I'm still wondering about the overspray and sanding issue.

And last, let's say you're doing new doors, drawer fronts and boxes, and hardware for maybe 18 or so cabinets. I tried guesstimating time involved and came up with 50-60 hours. Does this sound reasonable or am I way off?
 

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Wood Craftsman
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some solutions to your problem- depends

Thanks for the advice. Prestige, you describe a staining method that sounds interesting. What kind of different finishes result? And pardon my ignorance, I'm unfamiliar with "NGR." Can you tell me a little more?


It is an alcohol based stain and dries very quick so you have to be careful- here are some specs graham- http://www.ppgnz.co.nz/pdf/880.pdf

I also talked to the high-end paint store next door. Reached a similar conclusion. He suggested a gravity 1-quart HVLP gun to start, he said a new gun and accessories would run about $900.

Really??? why does that sound familiar to me- i think i got the same shpeel I am going to be honest with you-Cause thats me- when I first started using a gravity fed HVLP gun I bought one from HF of all places ~ I think it was $69.00 purple in color and I have never looked back - if it does the job "correctly" I stick with it-you can spend up to $1200.00 just for the gun itself - check it out for yourself- you will be amazed- if you don't like it - return it, but I think you will be very impressed fo $70.00



I've never priced one, have no idea what they run. He said if I did quite a bit of work and wanted to step up instead of gravity fed to some kind of powered sprayer, the whole kit would be about $1,600 ball park. If I could pick up a decent used gun for $50 to play with I'd be a lot more inclined!

I could set up a corner of my warehouse as a makeshift clean room. Haven't checked on what it would cost to ventilate it, but I figure a few hundred at most, shouldn't it?

And I have contacts for a couple of painters who can probably do this for me, which I'm sure makes more sense. Got to say, I'm itching to try it and trying to justify doing so. I enjoy staining stuff by hand, so I suppose I could order a door or two and play with them on staining and glazing.

Here's the part I can't get my mind around. IF this is for a kitchen or bath where the cabinets are not being pulled, just doors, drawer boxes and fronts, and hardware being replaced, then the face and sides of cabinets have to be done on-site.



Graham,
That all depends on the wood - unless it's some exotic wood you can veneer the face and sides, whatever is going to be seen , it is an "actual wood veneer" - you can get it in sheets -
1.) Pressure sensitive usually 24" x 96"
2.) 2 ply veneer 48" x 96"

the pressure sensitive veneer is very easy to work with , well the learning curve is rather short is what i should say. It is a peel and stick veneer and you use this type of veneer on any face that is not going to have an exposed end -ie; corner - you can take that sheet ,cut it down to a manageable size - stain the desired color to match the doors/draws etc,etc, urethane- in other words the final finish- NOTE: MAKE SURE YOU TAKE A DRAWER (USING THE BOTTOM BACK SIDE) AND A PIECE OF VENEER TO GET A GOOD MATCH ON THE COLOR- ALL DEPENDS ON THE WOODS ,Get your measurements for the vertical and horizontal sections- original to the cabinet construction - cut them over-sized on your cabinet saw/table saw with a fine cut (good blade) 60-80th - your more concerned with the width- not length- that gets trimmed when you install it - start from the left and work to the right- it's not hard. but when your done you will be amazed how nice and new it looks and most of all it is professionally done. I could get into a very detailed explanation if you want , but I just want to give you an idea as to what I am talking about.

The 2 ply is 1/16" thick and you would use this type where a corner is going to be exposed because the side is stain-able on this type of veneer, the pressure veneer not stain-able on the sides, however it is only 1/32" so sometimes you don't need to use the 2 ply - it all depends- i have used the pressure veneer (PV) and it was not noticeable - the corners are your main concern - the face and side panels go pretty easy. Have a touch up stick for any touch up you need as well.

I use an actual paper cutter (when I can) to cut the veneer to length - you can get that at office depot/max- you get a nice smooth strait cut , and a good matt knife with a very sharp blade for detailed cuts if need be. Just make sure that the old cabinets that this is going on has been sanded (lightly) and thoroughly cleaned with mineral spirits and then a damp cloth let dry and your ready to start.




Pressure Sensitive Veneers (24” x 96”): These veneers feature veneer faces with pre-glued adhesive backers and a protective layer that can simply be peeled away from the backer prior to application. Thickness including the backer is approximately 1/32” thick.
2-Ply Veneers (48.5” x 97”) : These veneers feature a real wood face and a wood backer. 2-Ply wood veneer allows for the staining of the edges and reduces the “black-line” effect. Thickness including the backer is slightly less than 1/16” thick.


That means taping and covering everything else, sanding them down with a shop vac running, and not knowing how they are going to come out or take stain. If thats what they want- thats a headache you nor your customer really needs to go through- If you use the refacing with the veneer already finished- you will be done with this with a considerable amount of time being saved- And they will be impressed - IF DONE CORECTLY:clap:





This makes a better argument for opaque instead of hand-applied stain. And stain or paint, if sprayed there is always the issue of overspray. Even if everything is covered and taped, I have a hard time imagining there isn't going to be a problem with ventilation and some residue getting on something no matter what I do.

And if I pull the cabinets to bring to the shop, Now that I explained this to you- do you still want to go through all of this?????:cry:



that means destroying a tiled top on the one I have in mind. And if we are going to do that I can order new cabinets with less hassle and at anything from less cost to maybe 30% more, depending on what is choosen. So how do I solve the on-site sanding and overspray problem if I do try this? While I'd love to give it a try, should I say forget doing it myself unless I can book X number of jobs? Even if I use one of the painters I'm still wondering about the overspray and sanding issue.

And last, let's say you're doing new doors, drawer fronts and boxes, and hardware for maybe 18 or so cabinets. I tried guesstimating time involved and came up with 50-60 hours. Does this sound reasonable or am I way off?
Graham,
This a road you haven't traveled on so it "is going to take a little more time- When you get familiar with the procedures and get a system down it probably will be more like 30-40hrs , could be more, could be less- but honestly, I have no concrete answer as far as time , to many variables because this is a new process, but I am confident your going to like this. Hope this helps.

on a side note- check out " You think you know how to use your hammer" general discussions . blew me away!
Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the details

Prestige:

Thanks for the details. And to everyone else who kicked in their thoughts. I need to find some time to look through the links that have been posted.

I didn't realize the veneers would take whatever stain or opaque finish you want to apply. I've seen a couple of jobs where my understanding was they were a "preprinted" finish and consequently one couldn't do a custom stain or opaque, much less a glaze. I would have termed the quality of those jobs from "okay, if not terribly attractive," to below average.

I figured I could find an HVLP gun a lot cheaper, but I didn't expect < 10% what he estimated. Really nice paint store, custom matches all my stains for trim, etc., but I expect them to be a little higher than elsewhere. Just not THAT much higher, but he may have been adding in several accessories - maybe only 8X higher instead of 10X when all things are considerd!

Time-wise, I figured about 40 hours +/- if I had worked with these products before, but figured another 50% for the learning curve. Sounds like I'm at least in a ball park and not off by a factor of 4-500%.

Reality is, except in unusual circumstances like this of not wanting to destroy a countertop, I can't justify the cost of getting into this area except that I'd like to try my hand at it. The cost keep coming up to what a decent set of entry cabinets would be, or about 75% of what really nice cabinets would be. And while i could make time to do a job or two personally, it would be pretty hard to make the time consistently and run the rest of the business.

I've about talked myself into ordering a couple doors and finding a cheap spray gun and seeing what I can do. If I screw up bad it's just a couple hundred to learn my lesson. Thanks for the advice!
 
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