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Old 01-26-2012, 10:30 PM   #1
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Need advice using Insl-x Cabinet Coat


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.

The dresser had some kind of lacquer/urethane glaze on it that was worn off in a few spots, but overall the top and drawer fronts were pretty smooth from the start. The grain on the front and sides is more "open" - very open in some spots.

Anyway, I'm a great painter (walls) and have refinished wood furniture before (mostly maple and walnut), but have never painted furniture and haven't worked with oak.

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 except for the top and sides - using a microfiber roller for that. Also, been careful to work quickly and maintain a wet edge.

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 (too late for that now!) 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 just 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.

Are my coats too thin? Should I just keep going and keep adding coats and hope for the best? I'm thinking of 2 more thin coats (no sanding in between)>light sand>final coat and crossing my fingers. Or should I use grain filler on the parts where the grain is "gaping" on top of the CC and then just paint again over the filler? After the last coat, should I sand with a 400+ to buff it, or just leave it?

So glad I'm doing this on a dresser and not tackling a kitchen full of cabinets on the first go 'round!

Looking forward to any advice you have. Thanks!

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Old 01-26-2012, 10:38 PM   #2
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Oh...and I've been painting outside on warm days - between 50-60 degrees. Is that warm enough or would I get better results inside?

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Last edited by ladydub; 01-26-2012 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 01-26-2012, 11:08 PM   #3
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Welcome ladydub. I have to tell you, it sounded like I was reading a pro's words. I'm impressed. You've answered your own question. You're not going to fill grain with paint, not going to happen. I've actually never worked with grain filler, but that's what I would try. Spackling on wood might tend to "over fill" and you give you a texture flash with a sheen finish. You might try some lightweight spackle in an inconspicous area, sand/prime and finish it, then look at it at different angles to see if it's noticeable.

Oh...and the painting outside is determined by what the temp goes down to after painted and what the manufacturer suggests for temp range.
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Old 01-27-2012, 07:46 AM   #4
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I have at times skimmed rough or grainy wood surfaces with setting mud ( because its a bit stronger). Almost always do 2 thin coats, sand with 220 and a block or flat sander- reprime .
You and JS are right- paint will continue to follow the contours of anything it is on- will not settle and fill in the low areas.
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Old 01-27-2012, 09:09 AM   #5
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Thanks jsheridan for the compliment! I'm definitely not a pro, but I research every project ad nauseum which usually helps me get to a good result. Obviously I missed the boat this time.

So, I have zero experience with grain filler or anything of the sort.

Does anyone have any specific product/brand they recommend? Can I use the grain filler or setting mud (no idea what that is either) OVER the paint that's already there, then sand, prime and repaint? Or do I need to strip the paint?

I need to be done with project asap, so if I can grain fill on top of the paint I will do so on the parts that really need it, then move on and finish it up. Will probably leave the drawers as is, because the grain is subtle there. If I have to strip all the paint though, I'll just have to live with it big grain and all for a while..I just don't have time for that right now.
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Old 01-27-2012, 04:19 PM   #6
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You do not need to strip the paint just scuff sand the surface,fill in with a wood filler or hard Spackle then prime and paint corner to corner. But you did pick the hardest wood to paint because of the grain. (if you want a smooth finish)
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Old 01-27-2012, 06:49 PM   #7
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GREAT to know that I can put the filler on top of the paint. Thank you!

Would something like this product be appropriate?

Behlen Water Based Grain Filler

http://www.woodcraft.com/catalog/pro...px?prodid=8466

Oh..and I really didn't "pick" the wood. I'm painting a really nice high quality dresser I found on Craigs List for $40 - Didn't have a choice. In any case, it's a good piece for learning and working on my skill set!

Last edited by ladydub; 01-27-2012 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 01-27-2012, 09:43 PM   #8
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That would be fine ladydub. It sounds like you will, so I'll say have fun.
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Old 01-28-2012, 12:25 AM   #9
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Thanks for confirming that! And yes, it will be fun, but probably more like fun/torture. lol!
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:55 AM   #10
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Hi - Just wanted to post an update to share my results of using Cabinet Coat on an oak dresser. I ended up using Timbermate grain filler because it was available locally and what was recommended to me at the Woodcraft store. It was also very inexpensive. It was easy to use and worked great. I would definitely use it again.

After I filled the grain, I sanded super super smooth, primed again, sanded again and then started adding thin coats of Cabinet Coat (light sand between coats). 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 wondering...is 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!!
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Old 06-14-2012, 06:50 PM   #11
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Ladydub,
I think you sound like a very careful, above-average DIY painter. That being said, you need to add spraying to your skill set. Insl-X (Benjamin-Moore) makes a great product in Cabinet Coat, but, to get a sprayed-on finish use a sprayer, don't approach the project with rollers and brushes. In this case your expectations exceeded the performance capabilities of your tools and coating.
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Old 06-28-2012, 03:38 PM   #12
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Thanks Mr. Paint! I think you're right that my expectations were too high. By the end of this project I was dreaming of a sprayer. I'll have to hold off until I have a place to use it and I look forward to when that time comes. Until then, I think I'll try not to buy anything I need to paint!
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Old 06-29-2012, 02:25 AM   #13
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I have a picture-thread on the Gardenweb "Paint" forum showing my entry-door sidelites project.

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Old 06-29-2012, 04:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladydub View Post
Thanks Mr. Paint! I think you're right that my expectations were too high. By the end of this project I was dreaming of a sprayer. I'll have to hold off until I have a place to use it and I look forward to when that time comes. Until then, I think I'll try not to buy anything I need to paint!

Just so you know, sprayers are great, but it takes years of practice to be good enough to spray cabinets well

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