Dresser glides, to finish or not?


Dave S
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Good morning all. Brand-new to the form, and hope I can tap your collective wisdom. I am building a dresser out of walnut with hard maple drawers and glides. When I pull the drawers in and out they slid very nicely over the sanded drawer and mounted glides on the case. My question is should I apply finish to these parts that are gliding smoothly now or will that muck things up. Never built a dresser before so not quite certain how to proceed.

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Thanks again for your interest and responses pkineb and treeslayer.  Dovetails were cut at the router table using incra’s fence system. My wife bought it for me for Christmas two years ago and I finally got around to using the provided dovetail templates first on a small Christmas present I made for my nephew and then on these drawers. The system works great, but you have to find the center of the board perfectly or things go south.


 

I made a walnut display cabinet for my daughter using some plans I found in Wood Smith and finished it with General Finish Oil based- Topcoat. My daughter loved the look so I thought I would go back to that here since this dresser is for her. However, somewhere (maybe the wood whisper) I read you should not finish the inside drawers of a dresser with varnish because it will make the clothes stink. The stuff I have finished with that in the past has indeed smelt up the joint until it cures fully, but then seems okay to me. So, still up in the air about finish. Any suggestions welcome.


 

Thanks again

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Nicely done!   I typically don't finish the inside of the drawers but, there's nothing wrong with doing so.  If I were to finish the insides, I'd probably go with a WB finish since there's no off gassing or VOCs and cures rather quickly.

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Excellent guys. I used Enduro Var from General Finish for that Christmas present I mentioned above and it looked great. However, at least for a while it too had an odor. Wtnhighlander's comment makes me wonder if maybe I stop smelling things before others do (perhaps an inferior sniffer). So shellac it is!

Thanks so much for all the input folks. Since my woodworking only began after I retired in 2016, I still have much to learn and am looking forward to interactions with you all in the future.

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3 hours ago, Dave S said:

Wtnhighlander's comment makes me wonder if maybe I stop smelling things before others do (perhaps an inferior sniffer). So shellac it is!

 

Every female I know is far more sensitive to odors than I am, so I doubt you are any less sensitive than most guys. As for shellac vs. water-borne poly, I just choose shellac because it dries very quickly and I am familiar with its working properties.

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I've had shellac off gas for a bit on some enclosed projects but i personally LOVE the smell so i keep using it on drawers. I like giving a bit of finish on drawers that see clothing. With the high amounts of polyester used in cloths I've found that even well sanded bar wood will cause the clothing to snag at times. Some shellac and 400 grit solves that fast.

For the glides I use shellac and buff with the finest steel wool and johnsons paste wax. I have no proof but i feel that unfinished wood doesn't hold the wax as long. It requires a refresh but it's a lot faster to refresh than to do the initial waxing.

Your other option is some UHMW tape. https://www.amazon.com/TapeCase-423-5-UHMW-Tape-Roll/dp/B00823JEUO/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=uhmw+tape&qid=1584893761&sr=8-5 I've used it with good results. Still helps to wax with the tap but the wax lasts a LOT longer.

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Welcome.  If it's worth making, it's worth making out of walnut ;-)  I'm with others here on wax on unfinished runners and shellac IF the drawers need to be finished.  I will specifically finish the insides of drawers for things like lingerie chests or sweater storage.  I want to assure a smooth, no-snag interior.

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Thanks Chet. gee-dub, I too like walnut, but my daughter is crazy about it. Since I am rapidly becoming her source for furniture, I suspect a few more walnut trees are going to be found in my daughter's home. I really appreciate the observations from folks about clothing snagging on unfinished wood. It reaffirms my notion of using shellac on the doors.

So that leads me to another question. On the glides, I was going to take Chetnut's suggestion of shellac (smoothed with steel wool) followed by Johnson paste wax. Does it matter whether or not the shellac is de-waxed?

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9 hours ago, Dave S said:

Thanks Chet. gee-dub, I too like walnut, but my daughter is crazy about it. Since I am rapidly becoming her source for furniture, I suspect a few more walnut trees are going to be found in my daughter's home. I really appreciate the observations from folks about clothing snagging on unfinished wood. It reaffirms my notion of using shellac on the doors.

So that leads me to another question. On the glides, I was going to take Chetnut's suggestion of shellac (smoothed with steel wool) followed by Johnson paste wax. Does it matter whether or not the shellac is de-waxed?

That should make no difference at all, that you will notice. The desire for 'dewaxed' shellac stems primarily from shellac's use as a sealer below or between other finishes. In that application, was will reduce it's ability to adhere, somewhat.

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