Need advice using Insl-x Cabinet Coat and grain filler

ladydubJanuary 27, 2012

I'm in the process of painting a really nice oak dresser with Cabinet Coat and it's not quite turning out how I had hoped.

Most of the dresser is fairly smooth since it had a good lacquer/urethane glaze on it but the grain on the front and sides is more "open" - very open in some spots.

I did a ton of research and after consulting with my BM guy and online, I decided to prime with STIX and use Cabinet Coat for the paint. I'm primarily using a Wooster Chinex brush and microfiber roller.

I knew going into this that if I didn't fill the grain, it would show. But because this is already a "new" project, I didn't want to turn it into a part time job by adding the grain filling step. I initially decided I was OK with a subtle grain, which I would "fill" a bit by putting a few extra coats on.

At this point, I've done 3 coats of primer (very thin) and two coats of CC (very thin) and I feel like I'm getting nowhere! I started off with a really good sanding (didn't strip though) and I've done a liberal sand with 220 between each coat. The tops and drawers look OK (some grain showing), but the sides and front of the dresser still have gaping holes! OK, I'm being slightly melodramatic, but it's not a subtle grain that I thought I would get.

I'm very impressed with CC and the leveling (no brush strokes!) but thought it would be a little more "filling" according to the reviews I read.

At this point, I still don't mind a little grain showing, but would really like to fill in some of the larger holes. Can I still fill the open grain on the spots where it needs it even though there's already paint on it? What should I use to do that?

Could I use something like this:

Behlen Water Based Grain Filler

or this,


over the paint, then prime and paint over that?

I would *think* that I would need a grain filler that brushes on.

Looking forward to any advice you have. Thanks!

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Hey Ladydub!

Check my thread on this forum called "Brushing-Putty".
(It's no too far down....)

I turned dog-scratched entry sidelite trim into damn near GLASS using the stuff.

Check it out!


    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 12:04AM
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Thanks! I checked out that thread and it does look like nice stuff. I've seen it mentioned elsewhere as well. Unfortunately, it's not available at any stores near me and is quite pricey to order online! I ended up picking up some Timbermate at Woodcraft today, so hopefully that will work!! It will be a learning experience regardless!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 10:25PM
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How did the Timbermate work out for you? Is that a wood filler or a grainfiller that brushes on?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 11:43PM
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Hi - So sorry for the late response. The Timbermate worked great. I made it into a thick paste and spread it on with a scraper tool I got at the Woodcraft store. I made mine too thick to brush on. I suppose you could thin it more and brush it, but then you might need more coats. It sanded down really nicely and I would definitely use it again.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 11:53PM
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Hi - Just wanted to post an update to share my results of using Cabinet Coat on an oak dresser.

After using the Timbermate grain filler (which I really liked and was inexpensive), I sanded super super smooth, primed again and then started adding thin coats of Cabinet Coat.

At this point, I was sure my surface was pretty perfect and thought finishing up the top coats would be smooth sailing. I researched a lot on the technique and thought I was doing everything right. For the life of me, I could not get the "sprayed on" look. I tried rolling the top of the dresser with various Wooster high quality "no shed" brushes. Unfortunately, they all shed. I tried using only a Chinex brush...and got brush strokes (spoke to soon before). I tried heating the room, heating the paint, different techniques, etc and could just not get it to look sprayed. I finally settled on using a quality foam roller, which left a subtle stipple effect, but I figured that was better than brush strokes since at least the "pattern" is uniform.

Now, I will admit, the finished product does look really good and from a short distance looks perfect. I also like the finish and hardness of the paint. But up close it definitely is not a sprayed on finish. I spent A LOT of time trying to get the results I was going for...way way more time than it should ever take to paint a dresser! Ultimately, I'm happy with the result, but felt the Cabinet Coat fell short of the hype.

Admittedly, maybe I never got my technique right. But, now I'm it really possible to get a true sprayed on look without a sprayer or are my expectations too high?

If anyone who uses Cabinet Coat could post a video of their technique, that could be really helpful!!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 11:38AM
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Thanks for the update! It's nice to know of an inexpensive grain filling option that actually worked for someone. Did you brush the paint on and leave it, not overworking the paint so it could level itself out? That worked pretty well for me when using the Alkytex Ace Cabinet and Trim paint, but I also had different expectations, and don't mind my faint brush strokes. Honestly, I think your expectations were too high, though floetrol may have helped. FWIW, I use a Purdy Chinex brush, and I can't recall any problems with shedding.

I read a blog post a while back where the gal said she got a nearly sprayed looking finish, but she used oil base paint and penetrol. Latex paints still can't level as well as oil.

Here is a link that might be useful: ''pretty darn close to a sprayed finish''

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 8:31PM
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Thanks for the reply jessica. I did really try to not overwork the paint. I think I just expected to much!!! I think I'll hold off on painting to much more until I can get a sprayer!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 3:29PM
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