Finishing MDF.... How should I make my flexy sexy?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff_M, Aug 29, 2001.

  1. Jeff_M

    Jeff_M Stunt Coordinator

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    A few months ago, I helped my friend build a nice flexy rack for his A/V equipment. The build was so sturdy, and the whole thing took less than a couple of hours to put together. Needless to say, I was impressed... and very thankful for all the HTF members who posted instructions and hints for construction. The only problem we had, was in terms of finish. We coated the whole thing in flat black paint. Unfortunately, the aesthetics of the rack leave something to be desired. Blotchy looking paint (even after 3 coats) and it attracts a lot of dust and dirt. Has anyone built a flexy and finished the MDF (very absorbant) wood and been happy with the results? If so, please explain how you did this. Pictures would be awesome too. I plan on building one for myself, and looks do matter for me. One guy posted some instructions for a marble-like finish.
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/...14-001116.html
    It looks awesome in the pictures. Has anyone else tried this. Please help me figure out how to make my future flexy look sexy!
     
  2. Jin E

    Jin E Second Unit

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    MDF is nice if you want to laminate or spend several days painting.
    Painting MDF:
    -Prime
    -Sand
    -Prime
    -Sand
    -Prime
    -Sand
    -Prime
    -Sand
    then you
    -Laquer
    -Sand
    -Laquer
    -Sand
    -Laquer
    -Sand
    -Laquer
    -Sand
    -Laquer
    -buff
    -Laquer
    -buff
    -Laquer
    -rub
    -Laquer
    -rub
    -Laquer
    -polish
    -Laquer
    -polish
    -Laquer
    -polish
    -Laquer
    -polish
    It takes a lot of work but you'll get a super piano type finish. You can also stain MDF (it's a little late for you though). Black stain on MDF will give you a very easy flat black finish (Don't use water based stains though!) If you have the tools I always suggest laminating MDF... with the right tools it's the easiest way to finish!
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    -Jin
    My Theater
     
  3. Mac F

    Mac F Agent

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    You can probably still salvage the finish if you put in enough work. The blotchy appearance is caused by uneven absorption of the finish (paint, stain, etc.). To prevent this you must seal the surface. this is normally the first step in finishing any porous surface. If you were staining would, you would start off with a clear sealer, sometimes these are labeled 'sand and seal' or similar. The purpose is to provide a uniform layer for the NEXT coat. In your case, you might be able to get by with a white shellac coating. Kilz is the most common brand, and comes both as water and solvent based. What ever you choose, cover the entire surface -use more than one coat if necessary. Sand smooth (don't go through the sealer) with 220 grit sandpaper. I like the aluminum oxide paper. Then apply your color coat. You will need several coats for a good finish. If you want a shiny black surface, sand the final coat with 600 grit wet or dry sandpaper (black surface). Wet the paper before sanding with water, some people recommend a mild soap as a lubricant. For even higher gloss, follow this with a finer grade wet or dry sandpaper. The automotive section at Walmart carries it in various grits to about 2000 if you have that much energy. Patience is the key to success, but remember that even if you spend several evenings finishing, divide this by the number of years you plan to look at the piece, this will give you the proper return for your investment. Laquer will give a very high gloss, but is difficult to work with unless you have access to some good spray equipment. Hope this helps.
     
  4. Jin E

    Jin E Second Unit

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    You might want to also think about spending the extra money and getting a nice hard wood panel (the ones with harwood boards biscuit joined and glues together). It might be more expensive but finishing is a breeze (stain then Poly). Here is a pic of my rack (the pics don't do the finish justice!)
    [​IMG]
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    -Jin
    My Theater
     
  5. James Mudler

    James Mudler Stunt Coordinator

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    Another option but it will not be as glossy. Use mdf and buy some 3/4 strips by whatever total lenth and place them around the edges. The edges are usually the toughest to seal. Then buy some black ink (at a craft store) and stain it with the ink. Black ink is midnight black and will spread more evenly. Then seal with some type of clear coat finish. Good luck
    ------------------
    Luke, I'm your father
     
  6. Jerry McNutt

    Jerry McNutt Auditioning

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    Hello,
    I have had good cosmetic results with using the spray on truck bed coating on MDF or Particle Board. It works best if you first spay on a quick coat of cheap black spray paint to sort of seal the wood (the ends really need sealing). Then you can spray on the bed liner. Let it dry a few days outdoors because it out gases for quite a while and it is pretty soft for about day. Looks great. The only down side is that it does get dusty and the rough surface is hard to clean. But, when it gets to bad, say a year or so, just repaint it. Looks brand new again.
    I buy the truck bed liner spray at Wal Mart. A bunch of thin coats look better than trying to glob it on. It does hide all the imperfections in the wood.
    McJerry
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