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Need Super Durable Finish suggestions for Plywood box

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Forum topic by lorne17 posted 06-13-2017 12:38 AM 3400 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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lorne17

13 posts in 3703 days


06-13-2017 12:38 AM

Topic tags/keywords: plywood finish waterproof outdoor

Hello there,

I am making an outdoor camping chuckbox (see what I am talking about here: http://blog.rei.com/camp/how-to-build-your-own-camp-kitchen-chuck-box/) out of balsa plywood. It’s super light ply, but it’s super porous. So I’m trying to figure out what product to coat the entire box in to make it basically impenetrable!

My first thought, was spray paint with an outdoor clear spray paint that protects it. Then I didn’t think that’d be good enough as this will be standing on legs that will move and drag in dirt and rocks in the forest and likely scratch the finish and then suck water in!

My second thought was a truck bed liner, those things are super tough and durable. But I read that they likely would be difficult to clean. Since I’m using this for a camp “kitchen” there will be food, etc that gets on it so I’d like to keep it so I can easily clean it.

My latest thought is to do a poured resin over it. However with all the undulations of surfaces, etc, I figured this may be difficult to ensure everything is coated and covered. Plus this resin is expensive!

So with all that said, what do you suggest? I’m open to anything at this point. Granted, I don’t want to spend a ton, but I also want to protect it to avoid wasting all the hard work in making this box.

Thanks in advance!
Lorne

-- "A great woodworker hides their mistakes well."


27 replies so far

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1135 posts in 1014 days


#1 posted 06-13-2017 01:13 AM

Oil enamel paint?

View StephenO's profile

StephenO

44 posts in 2743 days


#2 posted 06-13-2017 02:20 AM

Maybe something for hardwood flooring…

-- -Steve, Seattle

View gmc's profile

gmc

59 posts in 2354 days


#3 posted 06-13-2017 12:17 PM

I would use a stain/dealer as you assemble it. Make sure you let it soak in and seal everything. Then use an oil based poly for the protective coating. The sealer would insure you get all the wood pours sealed from absorbing anything and the poly would add a layer of protection from dings and scratches. You could use any type of poly but you want it thick to protect it. Just my thoughts on how to do it and keep the cost down. I figure you know not to seal where you are going to glue until the joints have dried.

-- Gary, Central Illinois

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5171 posts in 2691 days


#4 posted 06-13-2017 01:16 PM

First, what you want to do isn’t possible…at least not with the finishes available to us mere mortals (IMHO, of course). Second, a good coat of an oil based exterior paint would be as good as it gets….and better than almost all other common choices. I’d use a primer (also oil based exterior) and then maybe 3 coats of the paint. I would not use an oil based paint on the inside, however…it will smell for a very long time. For that a good 100% acrylic will have to do.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View lorne17's profile

lorne17

13 posts in 3703 days


#5 posted 06-13-2017 02:00 PM

Thanks for all the responses all.

GMC – unfortunately most of it is already assembled! Oops!

Fred – I agree, there is no product that will be perfect, however I feel I can get something that will be close and protect it longer and stronger than other products.

Finally, I was also thinking of doing a garage floor epoxy paint. Before I do that I will sand the box, caulk all the joints and corners. Then coat it in epoxy. Something like this: https://www.amazon.com/1-Part-Acrylic-Interior-Exterior-Concrete/dp/B01M9IQH10/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497362242&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=garage+floor+epoxy#customerReviews

Or something like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XPZQHHB/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I36FOEVNG83ES9&colid=1XRJ0Z22FCBEL&th=1

Thanks,
Lorne

-- "A great woodworker hides their mistakes well."

View ScottM's profile

ScottM

691 posts in 2344 days


#6 posted 06-13-2017 02:26 PM

Take a look at epoxy bar top finishes.

View Rich's profile

Rich

3873 posts in 787 days


#7 posted 06-13-2017 03:57 PM

I like your and Scott’s idea of epoxy — either paint or bar top. Also, it would seem to me that some type of steel corner protectors might help the overall durability.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View dday's profile

dday

168 posts in 1627 days


#8 posted 06-13-2017 04:16 PM

All of these suggestions are good.. for the “food” bearing surfaces ( those likely to get splashed upon or worked on) have you considers covering them with a thin, stainless sheet? It could be bent around any corners and it would be easy to keep clean and stain free.

View Bill Berklich's profile

Bill Berklich

474 posts in 586 days


#9 posted 06-13-2017 04:42 PM

Marine plywood and Marine Spar Varnish. Both are specially formulated to survive for an extended period around humid salt environs. The surface will chalk when it starts to fail (this is a UV failure). Lightly sand off the chalk and revarnish. On a boat that’s 2-3 years on the deck. Or build with teak and apply teak oil annually

-- Bill - Rochester MI

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10705 posts in 1684 days


#10 posted 06-13-2017 05:01 PM

Carbon fiber layering with nanotechnology.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View jbay's profile

jbay

2859 posts in 1097 days


#11 posted 06-13-2017 05:13 PM



Carbon fiber layering with nanotechnology.

- TheFridge

+1 Since your going to be floating it down the river, I see no other way :)

View lorne17's profile

lorne17

13 posts in 3703 days


#12 posted 06-13-2017 06:35 PM

Thanks for everyone’s comments! While I wish I can do some suggestions, they are out of reach ;). But floating down a river would be perfect!

Also marine plywood is out of the question since it’s mostly already built. But good to think of for future projects. Weight would be something to consider however.

What steel edging do you recommend I used for the corners/etc? Perhaps I can get aluminum trim pieces to protect it but also keep weight down.

Here’s an image of what my project will be:

Thanks,
Lorne

-- "A great woodworker hides their mistakes well."

View Rich's profile

Rich

3873 posts in 787 days


#13 posted 06-13-2017 07:09 PM

When I mentioned the corner protectors, I was thinking about something like this. I’m sure something similar could be had in aluminum.

However, looking at your design, it’s hard to see where they would be useful. I was picturing a box with corners like the one in the link you posted.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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lorne17

13 posts in 3703 days


#14 posted 06-13-2017 07:19 PM

Yea, you’re right I don’t think those would work. I was planning on using Plasti-Dip on the feet for dragging around, etc. Maybe instead I just get steel/aluminum angles to cover the feet.

https://www.amazon.com/Aluminum-U-Channel-Unpolished-Lengths-Thickness/dp/B00CNLYMXU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497381517&sr=8-1&keywords=aluminum+U+channel+1%2F2%22

-- "A great woodworker hides their mistakes well."

View jbay's profile

jbay

2859 posts in 1097 days


#15 posted 06-13-2017 07:33 PM

They do make lexan corner protectors.
Just a site I googled..

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