For a little while now, I've been thinking about making a cabinet (or something) with a finely painted exterior, but a natural finish on the inside, so that there's a little hidden gem when someone opens it and sees nicely finished wood in there.
Soon, I'll build a wall cabinet for a bathroom that I'm in the middle of remodeling right now. I'm going to paint at least the exterior to match the vanity that's already in there, and I think this painted outside/natural inside finish would be a really nice looking touch in this freshly updated bathroom if it's successful. But I'm concerned about wood movement. If there are different finish thicknesses/moisture barriers on opposite faces of the boards that make it up, I worry that uneven moisture absorption would cause the boards to warp, and the cabinet to do anything from racking to tearing itself apart. And of course, bathrooms are a particular challenge for wood movement, given their frequent, wide swings in humidity.
So is there a decent chance of success with this, or should I save this idea for a different piece, or maybe abandon it completely?
In the past, I've had really good results painting pieces with this finishing schedule:
- Two coats of shellac-based primer, such as BIN
- Two or three coats (as needed) of latex paint
- Two to four coats of brush-on water-based polyurethane
Sanding and leveling between coats.
I thought for this project, I'd try this:
- Two coats of super-blonde, dewaxed shellac, 1 lb. cut, applied uniformly as if I were finishing like a sane person.
- Exterior: two or three coats (as needed) of latex paint. Interior: equal number of coats of the same shellac, but this time a 2 or 3 lb. cut, to try to match the thickness of the paint coats on the exterior
- Four coats of brush-on water-based polyurethane, or 10 million coats of wipe-on poly, also applied uniformly.