220-grit silicon-carbide sandpaper: smooths primer between coats
280-grit silicon-carbide sandpaper: smooths paint between coats
Sanding sponges (medium- and fine-grit)
Primer (oil-based): Use on smooth surfaces or tight-grained woods
(cherry, maple, birch); slow-drying products level out better or Brushing
putty: Primes and fills open-grained woods (oak, ash, hickory)
Spray primer (oil-based): for touch-up
Siliconized acrylic-latex caulk
Paint (oil-based): Easier to clean and more durable than water-based,
which softens when exposed to heat or oil. The best oil paints have a
solids content of 50 percent or more by volume
2 1/2-in. chisel-tip with nylon]polyester bristles
A Primer That Also Fills
Slow-drying, oil-based primers work fine on tight-grained woods like
maple or cherry, or on man-made materials. But they just sink into
open-grained woods such as oak, ash, mahogany, or hickory. Brushing
putty, the pudding-thick, oil-based coating Dee used on these oak
cabinets, fills the grain as it primes the wood. A couple of caveats: It
should be applied with a good-quality nylon-polyester brush, which you'll
have to throw away after each coat. And it doesn't become level as it
dries; assiduous sanding is required to flatten it out.
Painting Doors, Drawers, and Shelves
The strategy for prepping and painting doors, drawers, and shelves is
the same as on the cabinets, except that all the work is done on a table
to reduce the chance of drips, runs, and sags. Paneled doors pose
some special challenges; here's Dee's approach.
Both Sides Now
Painting cabinet doors is a trade-off between perfection and speed.
John Dee, a perfectionist, prefers to do one side at a time, keeping the
faces flat so they don't get runs. But that's 48 hours of drying time per
door — one day per side. Here's his method for painting both sides in a
Twist two screw hooks into holes drilled in an inconspicuous door edge
(the lower edge for bottom cabinets, the upper edge for top cabinets).
Paint the door's outside face as above. Let it dry for an hour while
resting flat, then tilt the door up onto its hooks and put a drywall screw
into an existing hardware hole. Hold the tilted door up by the screw and
paint the door's back side.
When you're done painting, pick up the door by the screw and one
hook and hang both hooks on a sturdy wire clothes hanger. Suspend
from a shower curtain rod or clothes rod until the door is dry.
Tricks of the Trade
Tacking: Unfold each new tack cloth fully, down to one layer, then
crumple it to get the greatest dust-collecting surface.
Caulking: "The hole in the tube's tip should be no bigger than the tip of
a sharp pencil," Dee says. "Slice 45-degree slivers off the tip with a
razor until you see the hole open." Straining: Brushes pick up dust, so
always pour paint into a separate container to prevent contamination of
the paint in the can. If any paint is left over, pour it back into the can
only through a fine-mesh strainer.
Brushing — Tipping-off: Follow the underlying structure of the cabinet
or door. Where a rail (horizontal piece) butts into a stile (vertical piece),
for instance, paint the rail first, overlapping slightly onto the stile. Then,
before the overlap dries, paint the stile. Where a stile butts into a rail,
paint the stile first.
Brushing — Drips: To prevent drips on outside edges, pull the brush
toward them. To prevent drips in corners, first unload the brush by
scraping off the paint, then paint by pulling the brush away from the
corner. If a drip laps onto a dry surface, wipe it up immediately.
Brushing — Avoiding lap marks: Maintain a wet edge. If the leading
edge of a fresh coat becomes dry, the overlap mark will show.
Where to Find It
Polyester wood filler:
High-peformance Wood Filler
Upper Saddle River, NJ
Bondo Home Solutions
Fine Paints of Europe