Cabinet Making Training: A Brief Guide to Finishing Cabinets

August 12, 2022

Various steps are involved in modern cabinetmaking, and correctly applying the finish is an important one. With the right finish, you can create beautiful and durable cabinets. That’s because applying the right finish plays a big role in helping you extend the lifespan of your cabinets. 

Students interested in becoming professional cabinetmakers can complete their training and hone their skills, gaining the experience they need to successfully launch their careers. Here, they learn how to identify and select wood, read drawings, operate woodworking machines and even apply different types of protective and decorative finishes. Through the techniques you develop from your training, you can complete key cabinetmaking tasks (like applying the finishing) with confidence and skill. 

Here’s how you can get started on creating masterfully finished cabinets!

Planning and Preparing for Your Cabinetmaking Project

Planning ahead is the most important step when starting a cabinetmaking project, especially when it involves applying finishes. First, you’ll want to make sure that your cabinets can handle the finish you choose. For a smooth finish, it’s best to look for close-grained wood species that are known to take paint well, like maple or poplar wood. If you plan on using open-grained wood, then you’ll need to use a wood grain filler.
Ultimately, you want to ensure that the cabinets you’re working with are in good shape. In addition to planning your timeline, you need to consider your materials. After taking cabinet making courses, you may be using a range of equipment, including a mask, brushes, gloves, tape, a sprayer and a drying rack. It’s also best to work in a clean space with a moderate temperature to help with drying your work.

Working with the right materials can help you avoid project delays after cabinet making training.

Finishing Cabinets Efficiently After Cabinet Making Training

Finding the right finish depends on the style you want to go for. You can pick paint finishes or opt for stain ones. The former can help you create a modern aesthetic while the latter can produce a more traditional look. Generally, a paint finish allows you to apply a wide range of colours to your cabinets, while a stain finish is best used for emphasizing the wood. It should be noted that paint finishes aren’t as durable and stain finishes can be more time-consuming to apply.

When applying, you’ll want to thoroughly clean the items you’re working on and remove any grease or dirt. Here, wood filler can be used to fill in dents or cracks in the wood for an even finish. 

Sanding is also a key part of this process. Before applying your primer and in between each coat of paint and primer, you’ll want to sand the surface. If you notice any sharp edges or corners, then sanding should be your go-to solution to smooth down surfaces and help the wood absorb the paint well. For a professional result, you can rely on an airless spray painting device.

Using a sprayer can help you produce a smoother and more professional finish.

Things to Keep in Mind When Finishing Cabinets

Remember, wood is easily influenced by moisture as well as extreme cold and heat. Although paint can slow down the wood’s changes, it loses its elasticity once it dries. This can create cracks or chipping. To prevent this from happening, you’ll need to put extra care into your preparation stage, properly sand your surfaces and let your work dry completely before moving on to the next steps.  

If you’re using a stain finish or applying a new technique, then you may want to test and refine your work on a scrap piece of wood. This way, you can save your materials and boost your productivity. By completing your cabinet making training, you can gain the knowledge and skills you need to become a professional in the field. You’ll learn how to efficiently shape and cut wood, assemble components and work on the preparation of articles for finishing. With these insights, you can more confidently apply cabinet finishes and complete your cabinetmaking projects.

Thinking of going to cabinet making school?

Contact NATS for more information!

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