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Filling grooves in MDF table top..

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Forum topic by jeth posted 08-07-2017 07:30 PM 357 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jeth

256 posts in 2673 days


08-07-2017 07:30 PM

Topic tags/keywords: mdf filling refinshing grooves question finishing refurbishing

Hello all, been a fair while since I last passed by the forum, hope all is well in lumberjock land!

I have some MDF table tops to refinish, they have approx. 5mm grooves that imitate a typical picnic table top with spaces between boards, the client would rather the grooves were filled to facilitate cleaning and i am a bit stumped on how to get the best result.
Possibilities I have considered… wood filler, sheetrock joint compound, or filling with wood strips left proud then planing/sanding level before priming and painting the tops. The final finish will be coloured, not transparent, which helps.
My main concern is that the filled grooves be as invisible as possible, and that the filler will not separate from/fall out of the grooves over time or as the finish dries. Finish will most likely be a waterbase acrylic or PU coat..open to suggestions.
Anybody had any experience doing anything similar to enlighten me??


9 replies so far

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MrUnix

5990 posts in 2034 days


#1 posted 08-07-2017 07:35 PM

Epoxy or Bondo would be my go to choices. Gluing in wood strips would work, but it would IMO be much more of a hassle. Any way you go, run a router down them to get to fresh material and remove any existing finish – so you get a good bond.

Cheers,
Brad

PS: MinWax “high performance” wood filler is just Bondo with a different color hardener :)

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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recycle1943

1505 posts in 1457 days


#2 posted 08-07-2017 07:56 PM

OK – Here’s my unofficial labor intensive suggestion.

If I were doing it and given the info you’ve provided I would run the top over a route bit at least 1/4” wide and as deep.
Cut strips to fill the void you just created and glue them in and as you already suggested, leave them proud. Either sand them or plane them down to level with the rest of the top.
Allow at least over noght to dry and then get your handy dandy Binks spray gun, mix some auto body grey filler primer ( usually about 50/50 ) and put 2, 3 or 4 coats down and start wet sanding with 400 to 600 grit wet&dry paper as it flashes off.
I would think (bet) that 2 or 3 of these procedures and you will have a surface void of any sign of repair.
If you are going to apply the final finish,you might do well to cover the entire surface with the auto primer and spray on the finish coat of paint remembering that you should treat the entire surface as you did the repair grooves.
that is primer, wet sand, primer, wet sand etc until you’re satisfied with the surface.
Nice thing about doing it that way ( for test purposes ) is that you can apply a coat of final and while it’s still wet, you will be able to tell what the real final result will be.
Good luck

this post will self destruct if you feel it’s more work than you want to get into. lol

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

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GR8HUNTER

2954 posts in 548 days


#3 posted 08-07-2017 08:50 PM

custom cabinet shop we used Bondo for all paint repairs …. :<))

-- Tony Reinholds,Pa. REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

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DS

2822 posts in 2256 days


#4 posted 08-07-2017 09:05 PM

My first option would be Bondo, for sure. If the color is an issue, maybe that won’t work for you.

MDF is relatively inexpensive. The cost of a new sheet versus the time to make complicated repairs begins to shift the balance towards a new sheet. IMHO.

Is there an option to flip the sheet over? Put the grooves on the bottom face? Hard to say without actually seeing the project.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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bondogaposis

4477 posts in 2187 days


#5 posted 08-07-2017 09:45 PM

For jobs like this I mix epoxy resin and wood flour and spread it like peanut butter. Sand flush when cured.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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GR8HUNTER

2954 posts in 548 days


#6 posted 08-08-2017 01:57 PM


My first option would be Bondo, for sure. If the color is an issue, maybe that won t work for you.

MDF is relatively inexpensive. The cost of a new sheet versus the time to make complicated repairs begins to shift the balance towards a new sheet. IMHO.

Is there an option to flip the sheet over? Put the grooves on the bottom face? Hard to say without actually seeing the project.

- DS

make complicated repairs really…..... I could fix them in 15 mins …..take that long to load sheet onto saw :<))

-- Tony Reinholds,Pa. REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

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DS

2822 posts in 2256 days


#7 posted 08-08-2017 02:54 PM

GR8HUNTER: Okay. There is talk about dadoes and inlays, etc.

For the $28.00 in MDF I would not go to that much trouble – especially if the finished product is a compromise instead of what the client really wants.

MDF is not usually something that is just clear coated. It is usually covered with a veneer, or painted a color.
Perhaps, the simple fix is to fill the grooves with bondo, then paint it a color.

Fact is, a can of bondo, a new can of paint, might even cost MORE than the new MDF. This is close to, if not at, a point where re-making the top correctly costs no more than putting on the band-aid fix. That’s all I was saying.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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oldnovice

6428 posts in 3203 days


#8 posted 08-08-2017 07:50 PM

I would just add a very thin piece on top!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View jeth's profile

jeth

256 posts in 2673 days


#9 posted 08-10-2017 02:12 AM

Thanks for all suggestions… I had thought bondo would be the most popular option, but then, I was thinking on the line of the clients request to “fill” the grooves… Then I saw DS’ response… genius!! Turn the sheet over and leave the grooves on the down-side… I even kill two birds with one stone as these factory produced table tops are unfinished on the (as is) bottom and I had already suggested sealing that face to protect the mdf.

I fully appreciate all the suggestions to just cut up a fresh sheet of mdf, which for most of you would probably make sense, but I’m working in a third world economy and that sheet of MDF costs about 12x the daily minimum wage, so economy is king!

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