Beach House Kitchen – Painting Cabinets

I really enjoy designing, building and installing cabinets. I can’t say the same for painting or finishing them. As far as I’m concerned it’s a necessary evil. Lucky for me, my DW enjoys painting.

If I need to paint, I use a sprayer. To do that, I needed to build a spraying rack. It looks like I’m set up to sell wind chimes at the farmer’s market.

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I wanted the rack to be reusable, so I came up with the idea for these legs. They’re a simple “T”, made with a lap joint, having notches down 3″ from the top. These are glued and screwed together.

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All other connections are temporary, and held together with a single screw. The cross piece goes into the notches to make a stand.

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The stands support long 2×4’s, held in place with a single screw.

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This makes a sturdy, flexible rail system. Since the cabinets are mostly 24″ deep, I used 24″ cross pieces. Next time I set this up, I may used different sizes.

When I finished, I took everything apart and I only have to store the T pieces. The rest of the wood will go into the next framing project at the beach house.

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I made the tall rack for the doors and drawer fronts by screwing upright 2×4’s to the racks, then adding cross pieces. The weight of the cabinets made everything very solid – but even after I took the cabinets off, the uprights stayed in place.

Step 1: Sand, then spray the primer coat.

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Hanging the doors by cord makes spraying easy. I spray the bottom half first, holding the top – then once it’s dry to the touch, hold the bottom and do the top.

Step 2: Sand again, then apply the first coat.

It’s tempting to skip the second sanding, but I know the end result will be a rougher surface. After all this time, money and effort – I want it to turn out right. I guess that’s a lesson I’ve learned: don’t focus on making it easier, focus on making it right.

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Step 3: Paint the exposed surfaces with a brush (my DW owned that). Spraying gets the work done quickly, but doesn’t give the cabinets the vintage look we want.

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Once the cabinets are installed, we will do a final touch-up coat.

Paint Sprayer

My sprayer is a Graco Magnum X5 that I bought at Home Depot for about $300. I’ve had it about 5 years and it’s worked great. I’ve painted my house, my shop and a number of smaller projects. For these cabinets, I bought a 313 tip for a smaller pattern. The standard one is a 517 tip, which throws out too much paint.

The critical thing about sprayer is cleaning it at the end. Normally, I loan most of my tools out to people who ask, but I’m not going to do that with the sprayer again. If you don’t clean these well, they fail – and last time I let someone use it, it came back pretty dirty.

Here is a great guide to cleaning and conditioning paint sprayers by Portland Compressor. A friend of mine who is a professional painter gave me the same advice: Clean it with water, then pump paint thinner with a bit of motor oil through it when you’re done.



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