HELP ... Questionable results with Cabinet Coat on Bookshelf

kmcfaddenDecember 5, 2010

I just built a bookshelf for my kitchen (plywood box with poplar face trim and pine moldings). Not feeling great about the results so far after primer and one coat of Cabinet Coat. Here's what I've done: Thursday I sanded a bit -- mostly where I had used woodfiller and areas where I needed to even out the surface between the plywood and the face moldings. I did not fully sand all the surfaces of the plywood. After sanding I vacuumed the dust and used tack cloth. Friday I primed the bare wood with BM Acrylic All Purpose Primer. I used a foam roller on the inside vertical backs/sides/ceiling of each compartment of the bookcase, and used a brush on the faceframes, inside flat surfaces, the crown molding/base molding. I let primer dry over night. Yesterday (Saturday) I sanded the raised grain with 180 paper, vacuumed up dust and used tack cloth. Then I applied Cabinet Coat with a 2" angled brush -- did my best to follow the instructions of keeping a wet edge and moving from unpainted to painted surface, not "over brushing". Let it dry over night -- this morning (Sunday) I was not thrilled with the first coat and wonder if I did something wrong here. I had certain areas with signifcant brush marks (kind of thick) and really uneven coverage with variation in the sheen. The areas that appeared to have the best results were the moldings (crown and 5 1/4 base) that were purchased pre-primed. I wonder if I didn't prime properly or enough? I did some sanding today to try to even things out (maybe not a wise thing to do?). Some of the areas that I lightly sanded with 180 grit felt much smoother after a gentle sanding and seem like a fresh coat might go on nicely. Other areas (especially near the seams (insides of the bookcase at the junctions between the horizontal and vertical surfaces) felt a bit sticky as I sanded ... so I kept sanding, until it felt smooth ... in some cases re-exposing some of the wood surface. Needless to say, I am 99% certain I have done something wrong here. I'd love to hear from those of you with experience with Cabinet Coat, and experience painting a bookcase! I found it very hard to paint the 5 interior surfaces (ceiling, back, 2 sides and flat surface) without having some of it begin to dry on me, esp near where the different planes intersected. I'd love to know a fool proof method --- maybe painting one interior surface, letting it fully dry, then paint the next??? Anyway, I'd love advice on how to move forward!

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I know you don't wanna hear this, but...

Can you take it back apart and paint the components with longer, flowing strokes?
This usually leads to much more even coats, and you can use a wider brush to minimize stroking. 2" is kinda on the skinny side to be painting ASSEMBLED shelves....lotsa strokes to cover that area.

>>> Brushing an assembled piece is tricky, unless you do it every day. Spraying could be an option, BUT you've gotta be used to a good technique!

Variation in sheen:
* Usually due to too much paint in some areas vs. others...AND/OR some remaining substrate porosity, meaning primecoat too thin/sanded away slightly too much.
* With those kind of woods, I'd prime TWICE, mainly to give slightly more "sanding cushion".
* Then lightly sand the 2 primecoats.

Bottom line:
IMO...take it apart.
* Since you've largely sanded everything again, I'd apply 2 more evenly/long-stroked Cab-coats with a wider brush.
* 30 seconds is "Red-alert" brushing time! Try not to go past 1 minute.
* Lay on a nice even coat...then get away & repeat next day.
* I'd wait a few days b4 re-assembly. Then I'd put it aside FOR A MONTH b4 putting things on the shelf....I'm serious here!


    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 10:01AM
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Hi Faron -- thanks for the reply. Unfortunately disassembling is not an option -- it is built-in and has been completely fastened to the wall (plus the top/bottom/center shelf were dado'd and glued with screws). I do believe I could have primed more thoroughly -- some areas, especially those that were rolled probably didn't get enough primer. So, besides using a wider brush, is there a painting technique/method you would reco that would allow me to achieve a higher quality, more uniform finish? I am content to go slow, and get it right. What about something crazy like taping off the shelf bottom and top and painting just the sides and back one day, then removing tape and taping off the sides/back and painting the top and bottom??? Or, should I consider using a different product. I was so excited about the Cabinet Coat given the amazing reviews and the fact that this corner bookcase will be a real workhorse in the kitchen (holding phone, cook books, kids school info, etc -- along with some decorative pieces). But, maybe I should use something that doesn't have such a short dry time? I've already invested the almost $50 in the CabCoast, so I'd like to give it a shot, but I am a realist and wondering if I will be able to achieve a nice finish. Finally, one last question, let's take an example of painting a vertical 45"H x 20"W section (ie. the shelf back) --- if I start painting at the top and I am moving left to right, should I take a single brush width all the way from top to the bottom before moving tot he right? I have to admit, I am kind of confused by the description of "painting from dry into wet areas" -- I don't want to make this harder than it is, but haven't had great results so far, so ready to give it another shot the proper way!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 10:43AM
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This is really a perfect example of modern day painting. The fast dry times make brushing out large flat areas very difficult and this is even more true for a novice painter. One of the reasons that the crown and trim pieces may have come out better is because it is much easier to keep a wet edge there because it is narrow and simple to paint from one end to the other without overbrushing or going back into areas that have already started to set. For the big flat areas, I would use a roller. After you roll a section out you can always backbrush it or just leave it. Some paints will flatten out on their own if you just roll it and leave it and some paints will need to be brushed out to look best. Try rolling out a sample board first and see how it dries down. Doing it this way is really the only option with fast drying acrylics because we waste too much time going back and forth to the can dipping our brush. Even if you backbrush, the rolling is just used as a method to get the paint on faster.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 4:38PM
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Stay with the CC!

2 more coats on the horizontals (since that's where the wear is!)...maybe 1 more coat on verticals, since these can be thinner coats anyway to prevent sagging.

* Yeah, you don't have much choice now since it's all installed. Take out any removeable shelves.
* Save all horizontals/crowns/other "outside" trims until last. Use some rosin-paper/similiar to cover fixed-horizontals.
* Practice your technique/rolling/stroking with the actual equipment, but no paint. Consider placements of your trays, etc. too.
* As PG says, rolling-then-immediately-backbrushing gets these types of paint on faster.
* Have the room on the cool side if you can.

Dry-into-wet painting:
* Picture a 4' wide x 18" deep shelf.
* Start @ the far left and evenly stroke the first 2'.
* Now...@ the far RIGHT, apply paint unloading towards the center.
* This way, you don't keep trying to spread a load of paint from left-to-right. It ends up being more "plowed-along" if you keep trying to push the same "pile" of paint!
* Then do long/light smoothing strokes across the whole top.'s gonna be a month b4 I'd put stuff on the shelves!!


    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 12:37AM
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