Cabinet-grade Finishing

Not everything has to have a furniture-grade finish.

by Bob Flexner
pages 66-68

If you read the woodworking magazines or look online, you often come across instructions for filling pores, glazing, toning, rubbing out and so on. These are wonderful techniques for use on sophisticated projects such as furniture. But they are often overkill for basic kitchen or bathroom cabinets.

So it may be helpful to divide finishing into two categories: furniture-grade and cabinet-grade. This article describes the simpler cabinet-grade finishing. It involves just three – maybe four – steps: wood prep, sealing, topcoating and sometimes staining.

Wood Prep

Preparing wood for a finish involves sanding, steaming out dents, filling gouges and dealing with glue seepage, which may cause a finish or stain to appear lighter in color.

The goal of sanding is to remove mill marks caused by machining, and other flaws. You need only sand enough to accomplish this goal. Sanding can be done with stationary or hand-held power tools or by hand. Whichever method you use, the steps are the same.

Blog: Read Bob Flexner’s blog.
In Our Store: “Flexner on Finishing” – 12 years of columns illustrated with beautiful full-color images and updated, and “Wood Finishing 101.”

From the November 2017 issue, #235