can you put a finish on masonite?

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Forum topic by TheSerpenteer posted 12-23-2009 04:43 AM 13575 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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22 posts in 3563 days

12-23-2009 04:43 AM

Seems like an odd question. but I built what turned out to be a very nice train table for my son. I made the surface a 1/2” sheet of MDF covered with 1/8” masonite. I was going to paint the masonite, but it actually goes very well with the Honey stained oak. BUT, it takes almost nothing to get water stains and such on masonite and that ruins it. So, before I try anything, can you wipe on a coat of poly or some other varnish to waterproof the masonite. I know it would darken it, but it would be much easier than paint, and would actually look pretty darn good. Any input?
Thanks, Brian

5 replies so far

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3590 days

#1 posted 12-23-2009 04:46 AM

Poly would be the most waterproof and durable finish. I’d go with a brush on versus wipe on to get more build up – i.e. more thickness, more durability.

-- Joe

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3797 days

#2 posted 12-23-2009 05:05 AM

i wouldn’t go with poly. poly will want to soak in and will most likely not get good adhesion to the the masonite. if you really want to finish it i would recommend scuff sanding it with 400 grit and then either spraying a few coats of a precat (not nitrocellulose) lacquer to get up a good protecting finish. either that or you would use a thin coat of the pour on epoxy. those would work really well but i would think that if you use poly it would flake or chip.

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 3852 days

#3 posted 12-23-2009 05:22 AM

My favorite for years two coats sand & sealer and when cure paste wax…the old times called it the 100 year finish…also try it on any wooden glides you make on your draws , its amazing… smooth running.

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3135 days

#4 posted 12-23-2009 07:07 AM

I’m with Blackcherry. All my benches are masonite, brush on poly and lots of J&J paste wax. Any spills I’ve had just wipe off. Glue, latex paint, enamal paint, coffee, lots of coffee spills. It just beads up and you wipe off. I usally wax once a week because I like the shine and it makes the shop smell nice too.

View Ger21's profile


1075 posts in 3160 days

#5 posted 12-23-2009 02:18 PM

Any finish that soaks into the workpiece will have excellent adhesion. Polyurethane needs to be sanded between coats if fully cured for the new coats to adhere to the old. Any flaking of the finish would be due to poor preparation. If it penetrates really well, it actually can make the surface harder. You might want to thin the first coat a little with mineral spirits so it really soaks in good, then add an unthinned coat as soon as the first gets tacky. Let cure, sand and recoat and your good to go. For a really nice finish, another coat or two and wet sand using mineral spirits up to 400 or 600 grit and finish with 0000 steel wool.

-- Gerry,

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