Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: back of cabinets / furniture

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Central New Jersey
    Posts
    366

    back of cabinets / furniture

    I have always put 2 coats of polyurethane on the bottoms/backs of cabinets and furniture, parts that are never seen, just to seal up the wood. My question, is 2 coats really required just to seal up the wood?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    20,922
    For no-show surfaces I want to protect or where I want to mitigate moisture effects I use a 1lb cut of shellac. It goes on easily, adds a bit of warmth color-wise and leaves a smooth surface when sanded to 400. I generally leave drawer boxes unfinished but, if the function calls for a sealer I also use shellac there.
    "The Danish government believes that if we train 5,000 designers, and produce
    one Hans Wegner, the money is very well spent." - Ole Gjerlov-Knudsen

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    7,049
    If you truly want to seal the wood you need to put on enough finish to create a contiguous film. I've never found that necessary on stuff I can't see. Most of the time I don't put anything on stuff that can't be seen. When I do, like Glenn, I use shellac, but only a single sprayed coat of Sealcoat. It provides some protection but it's definitely not going to seal it.



    John

  4. #4
    For something like a back, one coat (or no coats) is enough.

    I never finish the backs of furniture that won’t be seen. It won’t make a bit of difference re: movement.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wayland, MA
    Posts
    2,294
    I built a cabinet a few years ago that was intended to go up against a wall, so I thought I'd save some work by using a plain back with minimal finish. A year later we moved and in the new place the cabinet worked perfectly backed up to a settee in the living room, which of course exposed my plain, unfinished back. I then had to retrofit a fake finished back for the cabinet, way more work than just doing it right in the first place would have been.

    No more, everything gets a back now that will be OK if it ends up being exposed. I've learned my lesson about stuff that "will never be seen".

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Central New Jersey
    Posts
    366
    Quote Originally Posted by roger wiegand View Post
    I built a cabinet a few years ago that was intended to go up against a wall, so I thought I'd save some work by using a plain back with minimal finish. A year later we moved and in the new place the cabinet worked perfectly backed up to a settee in the living room, which of course exposed my plain, unfinished back. I then had to retrofit a fake finished back for the cabinet, way more work than just doing it right in the first place would have been.

    No more, everything gets a back now that will be OK if it ends up being exposed. I've learned my lesson about stuff that "will never be seen".
    thanks - I agree the extra work could be frustrating if you change the location of the piece. So far all the furniture I built would happen to have the same problem you had after moving the piece. In this case, it's a bath vanity and will never move from it's location unless someone decides to remodel the bath in the future.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wayland, MA
    Posts
    2,294
    I think you're safe with a bathroom vanity! Cabinets like that I use prefinished maple ply for the boxes, if it comes finished both sides the back is finished, if it's one side finished material it goes unfinished. If I were finishing the boxes myself I'd apply finish on all sides, not for any great reason.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    55,548
    I wouldn't typically apply a finish to the back of a built-in cabinet...I kinda take the same track as Roger just mentioned. And if a future owner removes that vanity, "most likely" it's not going back, either.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •