All Replies on Finshing a desk

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View Tom's profile

Finshing a desk

by Tom
posted 12-15-2016 02:05 PM

4 replies so far

View LittleShaver's profile


454 posts in 856 days

#1 posted 12-15-2016 02:32 PM

Poly should be good. I suggest you buy some brush on and cut it with mineral spirits to make your own wipe-on poly. I usually use MinWax Quick dry cut about 50/50 with mineral spirits. If, after a few coats you decide you want a thicker build, add some more poly to your mix.

Another trick I picked up was to lightly scrape the surface between coats with a single edge razor blade held perpendicular to the surface. Don’t press any harder than you would if you were scraping your face with the blade. You are just slightly abrading the surface and removing any dust nibs. Once you get the feel for it, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can work that large flat surface with that small blade.

-- Sawdust Maker

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1156 days

#2 posted 12-17-2016 02:51 AM


I made a computer desk for my sons but ended up it with my oldest son who is now 26 years old. From what I can tell he really appreciates the desk. It is not because it is a fantastic design or build, but rather because Daddy built it. Not knowing the age of your son I cannot say when he will now appreciate the desk you are building, but only that someday he will brag that his Daddy built it. Therefore, protecting the top from indentations from writing instruments is, in my opinion, money well spent. Based on my experience, I would recommend a protective top like glass, Plexiglas, or polycarbonate.

As far as the finish for the top, I see nothing wrong with wipe-on poly, though I typically use brush-on poly. Gloss or semi-gloss are both tough finishes, which would be my choices. But a sheet of polycarbonate, Plexiglas, or glass would protect the surface from abuse, which would only be appreciated when the boy is of age. An added cost for sure but in a few years the sting of the added cost will have faded and the top will be like new.

View Tom's profile


178 posts in 1296 days

#3 posted 12-17-2016 07:37 AM

The man child is 16 and has informed that he “wants” a new desk but doesn’t “need” one. Since that’s the case I’ll hold off on building him one for now…but when I do replace it I’ll either get a piece of glass or plastic to put on top to protect it.

I have other stuff I’m working on…so not having this added to the pile is nice.

View Lazyman's profile


2703 posts in 1623 days

#4 posted 12-17-2016 01:39 PM

I think that regular poly would be easier than the wipe-on. You’ll need more many coats of wipe-on to get the surface protection you probably want on the desk top. The reason I use a wipe on is because I want to be able to feel the wood grain when I am done but for a desk, you want a perfectly smooth surface so your best bet is to build up the finish as quickly as possible.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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