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Box-making: question about pre-finishing the interior

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Forum topic by HarveyDunn posted 11-26-2020 02:46 PM 472 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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HarveyDunn

417 posts in 2699 days


11-26-2020 02:46 PM

I’m making a large batch of keepsake boxes for Christmas. The box walls will be dyed. I haven’t finalized my finish plan yet, I am still testing. The box walls are poplar.

I’m toying with the idea of pre-finishing the interior completely before glue-up. Is there a topcoat that would be a better choice than others in these circumstances. I don’t like the plastic look, but I wouldn’t be opposed to it on the interior if it saves me time. I can do something different on the exterior.


14 replies so far

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Andre

4103 posts in 2774 days


#1 posted 11-26-2020 02:50 PM

Flocking?

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

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HarveyDunn

417 posts in 2699 days


#2 posted 11-26-2020 02:55 PM

That is a very creative suggestion! However, not appropriate for the intended use of these units.

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cracknpop

488 posts in 3317 days


#3 posted 11-26-2020 02:58 PM

You don’t mention how many or how big the boxes are… but if time is the decisive factor, I would spray them with lacquer before doing your final joinery.

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

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therealSteveN

6971 posts in 1542 days


#4 posted 11-26-2020 03:02 PM

Depends what the suggested use is. You could use Shellac if it was light use, up to Poly if it was heavy use. On ANY finish the shininess is going to be controlled between GLOSS, and Satin finishes, and some companies are offering several choices along the spectrum. I seldom use anything shinier than Satin, I don’t like shiny wood either.

-- Think safe, be safe

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splintergroup

4365 posts in 2190 days


#5 posted 11-26-2020 03:04 PM

I pre-finish the interior of most of my boxes just because they are impossible to do well otherwise.

Avoid oils unless a top coat is applied, the smell will never leave. For small boxes, a lining with a neat unfinished wood can really work well. Aromatic cedar, nutmeg, canary wood, plenty of exotics that have a pleasant scent.

For finish, shellac is a standard, but lacquer or even poly can also be used. Even if the finish is “satin” or “matte”, it will appear as a reflective surface. This can be tined down by rubbing with #0000 wool an not buffing afterwards.

Be prepared to mask any areas that will receive glue if you spray!

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HarveyDunn

417 posts in 2699 days


#6 posted 11-26-2020 03:06 PM


You don t mention how many or how big the boxes are… but if time is the decisive factor, I would spray them with lacquer before doing your final joinery.

- cracknpop

20, shoe-box size

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HarveyDunn

417 posts in 2699 days


#7 posted 11-26-2020 03:08 PM


I pre-finish the interior of most of my boxes just because they are impossible to do well otherwise.
...
For finish, shellac is a standard, but lacquer or even poly can also be used. Even if the finish is “satin” or “matte”, it will appear as a reflective surface. This can be tined down by rubbing with #0000 wool an not buffing afterwards.
- splintergroup

If I prefinish the interior sides with shellac and a topcoat, then glue-up, will I have problems removing the squeeze out from the interior without marring the finish?

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Axis39

402 posts in 565 days


#8 posted 11-26-2020 04:07 PM

I pre-finish the interior of most of my boxes just because they are impossible to do well otherwise.
...
For finish, shellac is a standard, but lacquer or even poly can also be used. Even if the finish is “satin” or “matte”, it will appear as a reflective surface. This can be tined down by rubbing with #0000 wool an not buffing afterwards.
- splintergroup

If I prefinish the interior sides with shellac and a topcoat, then glue-up, will I have problems removing the squeeze out from the interior without marring the finish?

- HarveyDunn

No. In fact, prefinishing usually makes it easier to remove glue gobs. (I mean, within reason, of course)

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

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HarveyDunn

417 posts in 2699 days


#9 posted 11-26-2020 04:14 PM

Thanks!

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MrWolfe

1396 posts in 1092 days


#10 posted 11-26-2020 05:14 PM

Lately I will finish with a light stain/oil/poly mix. Then shellac and wax. I’ve started doing this because I will usually line the bottom of the box.

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splintergroup

4365 posts in 2190 days


#11 posted 11-27-2020 03:32 PM

John F. says it!
The finish makes it easy to pop off squeeze out blobs, just resist the urge to try and wipe them while wet, smeared glue is a different animal to remove.

Another layer of insurance is to apply paste wax up to the joint (but not in the joint!) and leave it unbuffed. The glue will easily come off when you buff the wax off.

As a better precaution (with more work), you can apply masking tape up to the joint lines before assembly and remove it after the glue-up along with the blobs.

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Madmark2

2048 posts in 1556 days


#12 posted 11-27-2020 04:25 PM

A shoebox sized box is big enough to reach into for finishing. Just build it and finish normally. Interior finish doesn’t get a lot of close inspection.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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woodbutcherbynight

7233 posts in 3377 days


#13 posted 11-27-2020 04:47 PM

Do it all the time. Finish bottom different from box.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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Calmudgeon

412 posts in 2396 days


#14 posted 11-27-2020 07:17 PM

I usually pre-finish the inside of boxes with sprayed lacquer, being sure to mask off any surfaces that will form part of the joint. This really simplifies cleanup of glue squeeze out and makes for a much better finish because I can lay the parts flat.

-- "As are the things we make, so are we ourselves." - Lin Yutang

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