Garett Radke, of Radke Construction in DeWitt, Mich., likes to experiment with finishes in his cabinet shop. He has perfected a high-gloss finish by using products normally associated with auto-body work. In his most recent project, he used this technique to create a variegated copper veneer for a Prairie-style home.
Radke starts with a smooth, closed-grain wood such as birch, beech, or maple. He spackles on a filler that is used for marine applications, and sands it smooth. He then applies a catalyzed primer that adheres to the filler and sands it again. He sprays the cabinet body with a layer of metal-flecked paint. To produce the variegated metal finish for the doors and drawer fronts, he over-sprays the same metal-flecked paint onto the surfaces. “The paint flows together and coagulates, forming little clumps of the metal in beautiful patterns,” he explains. “It looks like a hologram.”