finishing in a basement shop

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i could use some advice on finishes that are safe to use in an unventilated basement shop.  i have a jet air cleaner and good masks.  there seems to be no easy way to run ventilation to the outside.  i suppose i could wait till summer and then apply finish to what i have built but i was hoping that someone out there who is in a similar situation and could help.  thanks very much



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You will be fine with any water borne finish.  General Finishes has a nice line of products the fall into this category.  They also have a number of videos on their website explaining the different features of their product line.   They are a top notch product.

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 How big is your basement shop? I finish in mine but it's larger 750 sq ft. I usually put a coat on as the last thing i do then leave the shop for at least 12h. I also wear a voc respirator.

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Being in the basement, you probably have a concern about smells coming into the house, even if you can "hit and run" like @Chestnut suggested. I'd stick with water-borne finishes, paste wax, and maybe shellac. The alcohol used to dissolve shellac does smell a bit, but dissipates quickly.

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  • 4 months later...

I spent the entire weekend finishing the old basement room putting in laminate-from-hell and some IKEA Billy cabinets (not a fan but can't beat them time/cost-wise.. honestly it looks pretty good). So not much progress in the workshop.

I was thinking about hanging some of the kitchen cabinets I bought on the walls in my workshop, but I'm not sure what is the best way to do this. I have no experience with the tongue-and-groove walls that are currently there. I *think* there is plywood under the t&g but I am not sure. Any ideas on how to figure this out?

Also, if there turns out to be plywood under there, can I just screw french cleats to the walls and hang the cabinets on those? Or do I still need to search for the studs?

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French cleats should be screwed into the studs.   Then it'll hold the weight.

BTW, as far as finishes go.   I've actually had better luck with wipe on finishes like Arm-r-seal from General Finishes.   Less smell than the water based poly.   Basically you'll just have to experiment.


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