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    Build a Wall Cabinet: Part 4, Finishing

    more on woodworking safety

    Tools and Materials

    Learn how to apply a simple contemporary finish with a punch, as we wrap-up our four part series on building a wall cabinet.

    Okay, so the case is built and the drawers, too. Now it's time for a finish. Seeing as how this is a contemporary design, I'm using a bold, contemporary finish. The cabinet itself gets a few coats of shellac, but the drawer fronts get a few coats of a bright yellow paint. I like the way the drawers pop and stand out from the rest of the cabinet. I also like the exposed edges of the plywood. Here's a tip for keeping paint off of the edges when you're painting the drawer fronts: Shellac them first. A bit of paint might still stick to the edges, but it will be much easier to sand off. By the way, you should be able to find all of the finishing supplies at a home center, except for the wax. I get my wax at Woodcraft. If you can't find 0000 steel wool at a home center, you can definitely get it at Woodcraft. Of course, it goes without saying: before you get started applying any finish, take time to sand the cabinet and drawers thoroughly. Sand up to 220-grit.

    How to Make

    Put shellac on the cabinetclick to enlargePut shellac on the cabinet

    Put shellac on the cabinet: Use "Seal Coat" shellac and mix it 50/50 with denatured alcohol. This mixture dries very quickly. The cabinet won't be handled much, if at all, so it doesn't need much protection. I apply a coat and then wet-sand it with mineral spirits and 600-grit wet/dry paper. Then another coat of shellac goes on. I burnish that coat with #0000 steel wool. Clean the surface and apply a coat of wax. I like Renaissance wax.

    Put shellac on the cabinetclick to enlargePaint the drawer fronts

    Paint the drawer fronts: Start with a coat of primer. Allow it to dry and then sand it with 180-grit sandpaper. Add a coat of the paint, let it dry and sand it with 220-grit paper. Add a second coat of the paint, let it dry and burnish it with #0000 steel wool. Then, add a coat of wax.

    Put shellac on the cabinetclick to enlargeUse screws for drawer stops

    Use screws for drawer stops: The drawer is not as deep as the pocket, so we need someway to stop it from going in all the way and keep the front flush with the front of the cabinet. An easy way to do that is to add two screws to the back of the drawer. Put them in at the bottom. It takes a bit of testing, but eventually you'll have them screwed in the right amount and the drawer front is flush.