Glazing Basics

A few tips on glazing for a beginner. April 19, 2011

I have been finishing cabinets for many years and I have always managed to steer clear of glazing. Once I did have a set to glaze and I subbed it out. I have one coming up I need to do. I sort of know how to do it but would like some advice and pointers. When you glaze a piece do you wipe it completely clean other than the crevice or do you leave just a little glaze on the doors?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor G:
It depends on the glaze and your technique. Spray on glazes you will spray in the general areas and wipe from the flat surfaces and leave the crevasses alone. Or you can use a liquid glaze and a gun specifically designed to flow the glaze only into corners and crevasses. It just depends on the look that you are going for. The flow in method leaves the flat surfaces untouched and clean. The spray on method will usually leave some color of the glaze on the surface. Both are correct and only depend on the effect you are shooting for. You need to do samples for the client and stick with your sample.

From contributor W:
Yes it is. The glaze can be applied depend on the looked you need. Normally when I apply glaze I spray wet, wipe and brush evenly on the surface. Then if the finishing is an antique color, I continue to do antiquing with some dry brush and other antique techniques.

From contributor R:
There are lots of ways to glaze a project but it all boils down to what your customerís sample looks like. If your customer hasn't provided you with one itís up to you to produce one for their approval. If this is the case, I would make up a glazed sample that was simple to replicate.

For a glaze to have a real impact, the doors and drawers should have some architecture to them. The glaze then collects in the nooks/crannies. If youíre glazing a project thatís void of any architecture (like a flat panel door) the glaze only collects in the corners where the panel inserts into the styles and rails.

One issue you might run into is if everything is just flat panels. The question you have to ask your customer is ďwhere do you want the glaze". Without knowing where to leave the glaze, the project might end up looking messy and spotty.

Since youíre new to this finishing process, I would suggest you try and make this step as simple as possible. Be sure you gather as much information from your customer as possible and make sure to have them sign off on your in house color sample. A glazed cabinet can look beautiful if done right, so sharpen up on your skills and get all your ducks in a row before proceeding.

From contributor P:
One other piece of advice I learned the hard way - don't adjust your technique as you work through the project. The results will be noticeable. Practice on an extra door until you're happy with the results. Get your finish supplier to demo their glaze products, if possible.

From the original questioner:
On this job they want the cabinets painted a off white and glaze over top. I was going to use tinted white lacquer, then glaze and spray a couple clear coats of lacquer on top.

I use Sherwin Williams products. Do you know which stain works best for glazing?

From contributor P:
Talk to your Sherwin Williams rep. Ideally you want an actual glaze product, not a stain.

From contributor R:
A real benefit to doing your own mixes is that you can scoot the color and the density to meet your particular needs. Another benefit is the cost savings. Check out the MSDS sheets as it pretty much tells you what goes into the store bought stuff - some solvents, some color, and maybe some long oil.

From contributor C:
If you are using a lacquer make sure to use a non yellowing one like a CAB lacquer. To get a stronger finish I would use a conversion varnish.