When to finish before assembly
Stain when access is easy
It often makes sense to finish partial assemblies, too. As shown at right, staining the cabinet carcase before attaching the back or face frame allows you to work from both the front and rear to reach all surfaces. Staining with those pieces omitted also reduces shadows that mask areas of uneven coverage and eliminates corners where three surfaces meet. Stain, especially a gel type, collects in those hard-to-reach areas, creating a blotch.
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