Painting On Birch Ply - Any Suggestions?

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Forum topic by Bingo969 posted 10-24-2012 05:24 PM 3971 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 2392 days

10-24-2012 05:24 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing painting question

Good Afternoon -

I have an interesting situation. I make a type of latin percussion instrument called a Cajon. Essentially, a large box wooden drum. They are about 20” high by 12” wide and 12” deep. I use the 3/4” 7-ply birch plywood from Woodcraft for the top/bottom/sides and 1/8” solid birch sheets also from Woodcraft

I usually stain them (I use Zar oil-based stain) and then coat with about 6 coats of polyurethane.

One of my customers is an artist and wants to paint it herself. I’m wondering what sort of pre and post treatment would work best for something like that.

She’s not painting the entire thing so I don’t want to just use a normal paint-type of primer. I want the wood showing with her painting on top.

I was thinking maybe just trying a single coat of poly on a test sheet and seeing how that worked out. Then after the paint dries continuining on with more poly. Something tells me though that there likely is a better way to do this.

Does anyone have any tips or suggestions?

Thanks as always for being such a great resource for us crafters just starting out trying to learn!

Matt / Bingo

7 replies so far

View Earlextech's profile


1162 posts in 2931 days

#1 posted 10-24-2012 05:30 PM

Seal Coat from Zinsser at the big box store

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

View Nicky's profile


695 posts in 4333 days

#2 posted 10-24-2012 05:42 PM

Seal coat is a good recommendation.

Other choices would include a good primer followed by the finish coat. If you’re using latex paint then use latex primer and oil based paint, use an oiled based primer.

-- Nicky

View MrsN's profile


987 posts in 3767 days

#3 posted 10-24-2012 05:43 PM

I often use a coat of poly or acrylic on things I am going to paint. I use acrylic paints. I usually finish the paint with an acrylic spray (poly or other “amber” finishes change the color of the paint, turning white into snot)

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3399 days

#4 posted 10-24-2012 05:55 PM

Any film finish will work, but I love the sealcoat shellac for that. Make sure it is well covered, however. When done right, the top paint should wipe right off without staining the wood itself. It’s like using a glaze on wood in that regard.

Be careful with oil-based poly. It will tint the birch quite a bit and might not be what you want.

-- jay,

View waho6o9's profile


8539 posts in 2818 days

#5 posted 10-24-2012 06:03 PM

Practice on scraps, use Zinsser primer, and have fun.

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2818 days

#6 posted 10-24-2012 06:34 PM

+1 on zinsser sealcoat. I’ve done what she is planning before.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2313 days

#7 posted 10-24-2012 10:12 PM

sealcoat times three. We have a local artist we save birch panels for, and he paints the same style with wood grain showing. He thirds the motion for sealcoat

-- Who is John Galt?

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