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How to finish a birch plywood desk top?

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Forum topic by SamuelP posted 1120 days ago 3108 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SamuelP

752 posts in 1278 days


1120 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question finishing

I would like some input on how to finish a birch plywood desk top.

I found a desk for my wife that needed a new top. I have 2 1/2 sheets of 3/4” birch ply so I decided to use it as the top. She will be using it for scrap booking, so it will get some wear and tear. The edge will have a 3/4” oak edging around it.

Any suggestions on a durable finish would be appreciated.

-- -Sam - Tampa, FL- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns somthing he can in no other way" -Mark Twain


6 replies so far

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Earlextech

961 posts in 1322 days


#1 posted 1120 days ago

Step 1 – Zinsser Seal Coat dilute 1:1 w/denatured alcohol – two light but wet coats
Step 2 – General Finishes Exterior 450 water based poly – three coats
Sand in between coats.
Of course, spraying with HVLP is the easiest way to get a great finish!

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "finished"!

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SamuelP

752 posts in 1278 days


#2 posted 1119 days ago

Thank you.

What grit sand paper? Finish with steel wool?

-- -Sam - Tampa, FL- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns somthing he can in no other way" -Mark Twain

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crank49

3373 posts in 1602 days


#3 posted 1119 days ago

Most waterbased finishes I have investigated warn against using steel wool. There are some scotch brte substitutes, however, that contain no iron.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

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Earlextech

961 posts in 1322 days


#4 posted 1119 days ago

If you’re using water base materials, sand to 320 and never touch it with steel wool. If solvent based, sand to 220 and steel wool is fine.
CPB – makes a good point. For long lasting durability, laminate it a great choice for this project. I would add a wood edge first, then laminate, then route a nice profile on the edge, then finish the edge.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "finished"!

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SamuelP

752 posts in 1278 days


#5 posted 1119 days ago

Thank you.

-- -Sam - Tampa, FL- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns somthing he can in no other way" -Mark Twain

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woody1492

31 posts in 1488 days


#6 posted 1119 days ago

The laminant may be a good option; however, it requires some skill to makesure the contact cement covers both surfaces properly and ensure the piece is lined up well. I normally use dowels or thin pieces of wood spaced out about 1’ between each to ensure the laminant does not stick down too soon. You’re not getting that piece off once it’s bonded.
If you are looking for a natural finish and don’t have a compressor or HVLP, you can use a wipe on poly like the minwax brand. I would do more research on other sites as well.
A lot depends on what finish you are trying to achieve and if you are wanting to add color. If you’re new to finishing, minwax polyshades is an easier way to stain and finish in one shot. I would go with a satin finish, not gloss. Further, I would use a poplar, maple, or birch for the edging. It would match your project better than the oak.

Best of luck and I look forward to seeing the pictures of the finished product.

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