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Author Topic: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it  (Read 807 times)

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barky

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First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« on: May 02, 2018, 09:41:23 pm »
Hey all. Been lurking on here for a bit, and now I finally have an arcade project to post about. I bought a Kraylix kit from Kray (highly recommended) and I have done a ton of research on how to prep and paint the cabinet. The cabinet is MDF and comes with a lot of machined and beveled edges, with some prep work left to be done. I have never worked with wood, never done any kind of project like this before, so all of this is new to me (electronics is what I'm experienced in, nothing in wood working). After building the cabinet per Kray's instructions, I spent today getting the cabinet ready for paint. I used bondo to make sure the edges were continuous, especially the top of the cabinet which has a quarter circled sized hole that needed to be filled. I sanded the bondo down with 120 grit paper and then 220, feels nice and smooth, real happy with that. I sanded down the whole cabinet with 220 grit sand paper, excluding the parts that will not be seen (inside of the cabinet). I got to the point where I was ready to paint. I'm using rustoleum oil based primer (grey) and rustoleum satin black for the paint itself. I basically went to start painting the primer, started on the back piece of the cabinet and just kind of froze up. I guess I've convinced myself this thing is going to look like ---steaming pile of meadow muffin--- no matter how careful I am. I've heard a lot of horror stories of botched paint jobs.

The question at the end of this rambling post: What would you have liked to have known before you started your first cabinet paint job? What advice would you give to someone doing this for the first time? Thanks in advance.

ivwshane

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2018, 10:53:29 pm »
I hate painting. However I have learned a few things.

First, spraying the paint is way better than using a brush or roller. I got way better results when I used a spray gun on my second cab.

If I can, I'd like to try spraying on the primer next time as well and then use 220 to smooth out the primer before painting the final coats.

On my next cab I really want to limit the about of nail holes or screw holes that I have to fill because I couldn't get an even surface after trying to send the holes smooth (however maybe if I used a larger sanding block I could have gotten better results).

I also learned that lighting is super important as trying to touch up areas I missed can be a pain to blend in correctly.

A quality gun makes a world of difference in terms of over spray, control, and in the amount of "dust" that is created.

If you are really concerned and scared about bad painting then I recommend practicing on a large scrap piece to get a better feel of what you need to do and how you will do it.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2018, 12:43:35 pm by ivwshane »

jennifer

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2018, 06:37:40 am »
I hate painting. However I have learned a few things.

First, spraying the paint is way better than using a brush or roller. I got way better results when I used a softest gun on my second cab.

If I can, I'd like to try spraying on the primer next time as well and then use 220 to smooth out the primer before painting the final coats.

On my next cab I really want to limit the about of nail holes or screw holes that I have to fill because I couldn't get an even surface after trying to send the holes smooth (however maybe if I used a larger sanding block I could have gotten better results).

I also learned that lighting is super important as trying to touch up areas I missed can be a pain to blend in correctly.

A quality gun makes a world of difference in terms of over spray, control, and in the amount of "dust" that is created.

If you are really concerned and scared about bad painting then I recommend practicing on a large scrap piece to get a better feel of what you need to do and how you will do it.
I never heard anyone speak of light before, But you are not wrong, It should also be mentioned the quality of light, it should match daylight (in wavelength) as close as possible or it will look like butt in the sunshine.... To the OP, don't be afraid of it, dry times between coats is your friend, and use a sanding block, the paint you have will work, so may as well use it.... A foam roller (without the furry nap on it) will give you less to sand off later.

DaOld Man

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2018, 07:35:13 am »
I never heard anyone speak of light before, But you are not wrong, It should also be mentioned the quality of light, it should match daylight (in wavelength) as close as possible or it will look like butt in the sunshine.... To the OP, don't be afraid of it, dry times between coats is your friend, and use a sanding block, the paint you have will work, so may as well use it.... A foam roller (without the furry nap on it) will give you less to sand off later.

+1 on the roller. I used the wrong one once and the surface had little bumps in it, I mean thousands of them. I was disgusted with it.
Bad thing about painting is that its usually the final step in the wood working part of the job, so it's not like when you mis-cut a piece, you cant just toss it and start over.

Malenko

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2018, 08:22:33 am »
First, spraying the paint is way better than using a brush or roller. I got way better results when I used a softest gun on my second cab.

Anecdotal evidence is not data. Both methods work fine, and if you take your time, can yield pretty much the same results.

To OP, take a panel you cant see, like the panel to the back of the monitor and give that a go first.  With MDF you're going to want to primer AT LEAST twice, more likely 3 or 4 times. The MDF will soak up the first layer, you lightly sand it then prime again, then sand again. If its smooth and evenly colored, start on your paint layers. if not, keep priming and sanding until it is smooth and even.  If you click that little arcade icon under my name, you can see some of the projects Ive done where I painted.... all with a roller.
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ivwshane

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2018, 12:42:23 pm »
Sure both methods work fine, however one method gets better results with less skill and less work.

When using an oil based primer you don't have issues of the mdf soaking up primer. Its why people recommend oil based primer for mdf, specifically because the mdf doesn't speak it up.

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2018, 12:58:17 pm »
Sure both methods work fine, however one method gets better results with less skill and less work.

Better is subjective, that's all Im saying.   If you sprayed one cab and rolled the other, the sprayed would probably turn out better. If I did the same, the rolled would come out better. I dont think the amount of work between the two is substanial enough to compare.


I glossed over the oil part, but he'll still need at least 2 coats of primer, especially if parts are bondo'ed else the color wont be even.
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Drnick

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2018, 01:07:52 pm »
When I sprayed I would have liked to have known it was going to take as many cans as it did :) When I rolled I should have been more thorough with the sanding. I would highly recommend a good orbital sander. also a good tack cloth and some wipes to ensure no dirt/dust etc between coats. (Also allow twice as long as minimum recommended for drying between coats).

jennifer

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2018, 02:25:27 pm »
   Jenn does prefer to spray (like that's big news ::)), although that does add a new level of potential pitfalls, and if not done correctly is far less forgiving,.... Dry times in both systems are more important than one might think as paint needs to cure and shrink, personally I put on 3 coats and wait a month before sanding, paint repeat, paint repeat, until nice (but that's just cause I got the time, and multiple projects in different phases of paint ) ,However 2 weeks IMO, would in most cases suffice. In fast production type work, a heat bake booth, infrared work lamps (chicken lights) or a good hot sunny day outside will help speed things along as that actually cooks the paint with radiant heat from the inside out.... What you need to take from all this is, it just dosent matter really, Few paint jobs are really ever truly "perfect" And you can fix ANY problem you may encounter , but most important just have fun with it, or it just wasn't worth doing. 
« Last Edit: May 03, 2018, 02:44:03 pm by jennifer »

ivwshane

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2018, 02:42:21 pm »
When I sprayed I would have liked to have known it was going to take as many cans as it did :) When I rolled I should have been more thorough with the sanding. I would highly recommend a good orbital sander. also a good tack cloth and some wipes to ensure no dirt/dust etc between coats. (Also allow twice as long as minimum recommended for drying between coats).

Just to be clear, when I'm talking about spraying I'm not talking about using spray cans. Spray paint takes skill as well and can even harder to get a good coat of paint on without having some skill.

When I use a paint sprayer I typically use way less paint than if I had I rolled it on.

jennifer

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2018, 03:38:16 pm »
When I sprayed I would have liked to have known it was going to take as many cans as it did :) When I rolled I should have been more thorough with the sanding. I would highly recommend a good orbital sander. also a good tack cloth and some wipes to ensure no dirt/dust etc between coats. (Also allow twice as long as minimum recommended for drying between coats).

Just to be clear, when I'm talking about spraying I'm not talking about using spray cans. Spray paint takes skill as well and can even harder to get a good coat of paint on without having some skill.

When I use a paint sprayer I typically use way less paint than if I had I rolled it on.
  Spraying paint is loud, dirty, expensive, and to be good at it requires a lot of experience under adverse conditions , **(Jenn  painted herself John Deere green once, by accident, hair, face in my ears, up my dress, down my shoes, nasty green sticky like EVERYWHERE, and still gets quite embarrassed :-\).... Bomber cans can be an effective alternative, but there the quality of paint becomes question, cheap paint is thin by design, and for sprayability hence the less coverage, High temp engine enamals usually cover quite well, as they typically use a ceramic bonding carrier.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2018, 03:58:01 pm by jennifer »

yotsuya

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2018, 03:39:59 pm »
Iím planning to spray my 720 this weekend. Any recommendations on how I should thin the paint?
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jennifer

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2018, 03:43:12 pm »
What are you spraying it with?.... Solvent?

jennifer

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2018, 03:53:56 pm »
Typically its 2/1 (paint/thinner).... Stir it fast and pull the stick out and watch it,, Paint should run off the stick and start to drip, after about 1 sec.... If our dealing with solvent enamels/clear, a small splash (very small, like almost none) of acetone will help level and reduce orange peel.

yotsuya

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2018, 03:57:48 pm »
Satin latex enamel
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jennifer

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2018, 04:06:59 pm »
That is actually quite exciting!!!.... :applaud:....I would over thin it a bit, for sprayability, test on scrap first, before each coat, and keep the tip wet between coats Because those sprayers tend to clog up and make sputter troubles.

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2018, 04:46:26 pm »
I'm a rookie.  I did spray cans on the whole cab.  It was probably more expensive that way and it took a long time.  I probably spent 4-6 weeks painting and sanding all the coats.  For the most part, I liked where I got with it.  Next time I would probably roll the primer layers and spray the last couple. 

Sand each layer.  If you don't and the orange peel effect starts to build up, it is harder to get perfectly smooth later. 

Whatever you do, make sure your primer is sandable.  I bought some ---steaming pile of meadow muffin--- called "gripper" and it was a nightmare because I couldn't sand it.  Thanks to the Home Depo paint department for that one.

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2018, 05:31:41 pm »
   The problem there, is your finger is going to get tired, using bomb cans on areas that big, better off to use a gun, that orange peel is no joke, and seems you learned it the hard way..... 4-6weeks (IMO) seems like a long time, but in terms of dry times, Ya maybe not so much, The point beings you were happy with it after all that time.

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2018, 06:16:40 pm »
Haha, yeah, you're right.  Now that you mention it, I forgot about the finger fatigue!  It just took that long because I got a little paranoid and sprayed dozens of light coats with a day to dry in between.  I also only worked on one area of the cab at a time.  That would be my other suggestion.  Plan it better and do all your painting together if you can.  It will reduce the overall time.

barky

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2018, 07:45:18 pm »
Thanks to everyone for the great replies! I got the gusto to finally put the primer on today, and all in all I'm happy with it. I didn't mention this in the OP, but they didn't have the primer (grey rustoleum) in canned paint so I had to use spray. I'm going to roll on the actual black satin paint. My forearm hurts from spraying, went through 4 and a half cans. I'm still on the fence about a second coat of primer. The edges definitely soaked up a lot of the primer (I'm looked at it 8 hours after spraying it on), and all the sanding I did seemed to be silly since the end grain kind of stood up like hair when I sprayed the paint on there. I'll post some pictures here in a second and I'll ask if you guys think a second coat of primer is necessary before I start the paint job.

edit: here's the imgur album with the cabinet with primer on it. The last three pictures are examples of parts of the cabinet where the grain is kind of flaring up. Not sure if this requires another coat: https://imgur.com/a/8Qc6ehx
« Last Edit: May 04, 2018, 07:51:43 pm by barky »

jennifer

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2018, 08:26:22 pm »
  That's and interesting piece, Almost seems to be fiberglass from the pic, Yes I would do more prime, (let that dry first, and fill those pinholes with glaze putty if you have access to it) if not, put a big wet puddle of primer on them, and then spray the whole thing again over your puddles and lightly block any problem areas , and bury again, you can get pretty close and put it on good and wet with that stuff and the runs will sand off later, you ultimately want smooth and flat at around the 400-1000 grit wet sand and cured/dried before you even think color.....If that's fiberglass the edges will always look like that, that a mold plug thing, unfinished edges and all, most of it will sand out with your primer, (don't go too deep) only sand on your primer Not into the substrate or you have to basically start over.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2018, 08:40:01 pm by jennifer »

barky

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2018, 09:25:02 pm »
  That's and interesting piece, Almost seems to be fiberglass from the pic, Yes I would do more prime, (let that dry first, and fill those pinholes with glaze putty if you have access to it) if not, put a big wet puddle of primer on them, and then spray the whole thing again over your puddles and lightly block any problem areas , and bury again, you can get pretty close and put it on good and wet with that stuff and the runs will sand off later, you ultimately want smooth and flat at around the 400-1000 grit wet sand and cured/dried before you even think color.....If that's fiberglass the edges will always look like that, that a mold plug thing, unfinished edges and all, most of it will sand out with your primer, (don't go too deep) only sand on your primer Not into the substrate or you have to basically start over.

It's actually MDF, I think Kray gets the credit for the fiberglass like quality and look. Thanks for the advice on the primer,  I'm still on the fence about putting on an extra coat. Once I sleep on it and sand this coat I think I'll be in a better place to make a decision.

lomoverde

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #22 on: May 05, 2018, 08:44:24 pm »
Might have been asked before but....when trying for authentic recreations/restorations. was there a high standard finish with original cabs? of course i dont remember,and checking out the finish was the last of your worries.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2018, 08:46:44 pm by lomoverde »

jennifer

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2018, 09:19:06 pm »
Perhaps..... But you got to remember they were done by experienced hands at a literal Hundreds a day. If there was a way to cheat it into a box they would know. Galaxy pinball for example made like 5500 machines in a two month production run.

morton

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #24 on: May 29, 2018, 02:38:14 pm »
I dunno how far this has gotten, but wanted to add my $0.02...

MDF needs a sealer or it will turn out crap. It also needs considerable prep to gain a good finish IMO.

My cab is MDF, and when I primed I used Zinnser BIN Shellac Primer applied with a small foam roller. Stuff was a dream. Melts into previous coat. Easy sanding between coats, doesn't gum up the paper badly. After over 8 months sitting, its yet to show any seams telegraphed through. This is a common issue with joints where you have two pieces that meet. You see seams. Look at lots of DIY projects that are hastily done and you'll see it in abundance.

Before priming, I sanded the cab flat to 220, and used bondo to fill any bad spots, sanding the bondo flat again. I am sure its not 100% but its as good as I am gonna get with my effort level. Those edges on yours look rough and could use a bit of a sand IMO. When you sand between primer coats, try to avoid the sharp corners. Just sand flat surfaces.

If you're priming/painting MDF and aren't using a sealer like shellac, I advise the 50/50 PVA and water mix and sand that smooth before adding paint. MDF sucks big time and WILL absorb moisture and screw up paint if it isn't primed well. That is a super nice cab and a good finish would do it justice.

This is the shellac I used... a Gallon did a cabinet inside and out, as well as a joystick controller I built. It's not cheap, but its well worth it. I will be painting my subs this summer and plan to use the same stuff:

https://www.rustoleum.com/product-catalog/consumer-brands/zinsser/primer-sealers/b-i-n-shellac-base-primer

Good luck with the build, looks like a great cab!

barky

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Re: First time painting a cabinet and nervous about it
« Reply #25 on: June 16, 2018, 01:24:35 pm »
hey! I know this is super late but I have a finished post over in the projects forum that shows the final finish. It's not perfect, but better than I expected for a first timer. http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,157415.0.html

  
 

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