Spraying Mounted Cabinet Doors

Finishing doors while they're on the cabinets is a questionable practice, but some finishers succeed with it. October 14, 2006

I was talking to a cabinet door maker and he told me nearly all cabinetmakers in his area stain and spray finish the cabinet doors while they are hinged to the cabinet. I have never seen or even heard of this technique but it does have a certain appeal over moving and racking the doors several times during finishing. Does anyone here spray doors and cabinet faces at the same time?

I am about to spray a big set of cabinets and the doors are overlay on Blum 120 degree euro hinges. The interiors are melamine so the openings behind the doors will be masked. I am just curious if this works well. I am not sure how the lacquer would affect the hinges if at all. Any overspray problems from the spray bouncing off of paper masked cabinet openings? Wouldn't the hinges themselves block an area to be sprayed while the door is open?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor A:
Spraying hinges, hardware etc. = painter
Removing all hardware and doing a proper finish (door panels laying flat to get a proper mil thickness without sags) = finisher

Look into the Pivot Pro - you can hang the doors and spray both sides quickly while still doing a quality job.

From contributor B:
Some of the sloppiest jobs I've ever seen were sprayed while doors were hung.

From contributor C:
In most instances the amount of time spent masking hinges and casework outweighs the time saved by shooting the entire job at once, especially if non-wood interiors are involved. On the other hand you do have greater control of color, because everything is sprayed as a unit. Smallbone of Devizes, whom many consider one of the world’s premier cabinetmakers, sprays all of their doors hung on the casework. You can't argue with their success.

From contributor D:
I must agree with my fellow posters. I have never finished a cabinet with the doors still attached but once you tape off the boxes, it seems to me that removing a door from its hinges would be a lot simpler and quicker and also make for a much snazzier job. When it comes to finishing the boxes in my shop, I just apply a 2" piece of tape around the entire perimeter of the box, but rather than push the tape all the way down to the surface, I roll it over. This creates a vortex effect and no overspray enters the interior of the cabinets. I finish all boxes that don’t get a finished panel with a Preval spray unit.

I stack 3 or 4 cabinets on a dolly, so they’re easy to move around. I spray the boxes outside the booth with the booth door open. Cabinets themselves never see the inside of my booth, unless it has an applied panel. We use either prefinished or melamine for our boxes and if the client specifies differently, we address that issue by itself.

From the original questioner:
I figured it was sort of a schlock method but the guy was so insistent that "everyone does it”, I had to check here. I agree that you can’t argue with Smallbones’ success. I believe they use mostly butt hinges if that makes any difference. As far as film thickness on vertical surfaces, I never considered the difference between my doors - which I spay horizontal - and my cabinets with faceframes and panel ends and backs - which I spray in a vertical position for practicality.

To contributor D: Thank you for your input. I am intrigued by your two inch masking tape vortex method. This full face masking on melamine interiors is killing me. Can you explain it in more detail? I am not quite getting the full picture about the rolling part.

From contributor B:
To contributor C: Do you know how Smallbone handles the edges of the doors and drawers and the insides of cabinets if they spray the doors hung? And the back sides of the doors in relation to hinges? Any info will be appreciated as I have some inset doors to do and would rather not dismount them.