What to do with plywood

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Forum topic by electricalD posted 01-05-2013 10:35 AM 2010 views 0 times favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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116 posts in 2195 days

01-05-2013 10:35 AM

Hey everyone,
I am soon finishing the sheeting inside my woodworking shop. I am using standard grade 1/2” plywood I got at home depot. I live in NL, Canada and my shop is a detached garage. The rules here for a shop are a bit more free than most other places, so plywood is allowed. I was thinking of maybe staining the plywood or putting some type of sealer on it. Something of that nature. I don’t want to paint it, at least that is my bias on painting. Have any of you dealt with the same, and what have you done? I am open to any suggestions and it is one of these things whereby someone might say,”Hey Dan, I painted it this way” and it could be just what I am looking for. Or even if you can recommend a web site on this as well. For some reason I just don’t want to leave bare plywood in the shop. And pictures would be great.

Dan P.

-- If there were no God, there would be no atheists, G. K. Chesterton

34 replies so far

View patron's profile


13420 posts in 2427 days

#1 posted 01-05-2013 10:47 AM

the main reason i paint the shops white

is for reflected light

especially where finishing is part
of the deal

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View brucethecontrarian's profile


26 posts in 1071 days

#2 posted 01-05-2013 10:58 AM

I agree with patron. White walls are a must for me. Light is one of our best tools and getting as much as possible in the workshop is a good thing. You do not have to have a “showroom finish” I used a budget roller and paint for a good “workshop standard” finish.

-- Bruce, UK

View Ross's profile


139 posts in 1058 days

#3 posted 01-05-2013 12:20 PM

I agree with Patron. White walls for reflected light. I went several years without white walls, having to use extra spot lighting for doing finish work. Also had to use heavier lead pencils for marking so I could see the cut lines.
White painted walls and ceilings are also easier to clean.
I used a satin finish paint for the walls (to avoid excess glare) and flat white ceiling paint on the ceiling.

-- "Man Plans and God Laughs"

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306 posts in 3121 days

#4 posted 01-05-2013 04:19 PM

+1 on white, I do love the look of natural wood colored walled workshops but just going from grey concrete to primed drywall in my shop made an incredible difference in the light intensity in the shop

-- John H. [To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. ~Edison]

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18001 posts in 1760 days

#5 posted 01-05-2013 04:36 PM

Yup, White is right!!!
You could do a whitewash, that would let some of the grain show through, while providing a bit of the light reflecting properties.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

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1727 posts in 1287 days

#6 posted 01-05-2013 04:40 PM

White, White did I mention White…...

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View ShaneA's profile


5824 posts in 1684 days

#7 posted 01-05-2013 04:47 PM

I dont think anyone has suggested white yet, so I with throw it out there… : )

View Brandon's profile


4147 posts in 2037 days

#8 posted 01-05-2013 04:53 PM

Plus, unless it’s cabinet grade plywood or something, plywood is just plain ugly, no matter if you stain or put a finish on it. Unless of course you like ugly plywood, then by all means….

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

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2832 posts in 2642 days

#9 posted 01-05-2013 05:58 PM

Yeah, stain on plywood probably wouldn’t turn out too good. I vote white paint.

-- Don, Royersford, PA

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Don W

16816 posts in 1653 days

#10 posted 01-05-2013 06:03 PM

I just poly’ed mine. Did it before I put it up. Its light enough for me, and it looks like wood. Luckily for me, I don’t believe its ugly, and it is a work shop after all.

Edit: and if you’re like me, you won’t see much of it by the time you are done anyhow. It will be covered with tools, cabinets and storage.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View TechRedneck's profile


756 posts in 1942 days

#11 posted 01-05-2013 07:01 PM

I have plain concrete block walls in my shop. In hindsight, I should have painted them…...yes…. White

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

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3474 posts in 2329 days

#12 posted 01-05-2013 07:34 PM

Not only would I paint them white, I would use a high gloss paint to discourage sawdust from settling on the plywood.

View whitebeast88's profile


3968 posts in 1276 days

#13 posted 01-05-2013 10:46 PM

well i painted mine before i really started woodworking much,so light wasn’t a major concern.i am an avid college football fan and i painted mine inthere colors.crimson,white and gray.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

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3914 posts in 1590 days

#14 posted 01-05-2013 11:04 PM

You could cover the walls with tools…

Or you could go crazy…

Or you could be conservative…

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2069 days

#15 posted 01-06-2013 12:29 AM

If painting is not what you really want to do. You could still get the white for reflection and still have that wood grain effect by pickling instead which can be done like a stain.

Shop for white paint pickeling on Google

Minwax 61860 White Wash…

MINWAX 61860 QT W…
World Paint S…

Minwax Pickling Stain…
Aubuchon Ha…

Minwax Company 61…

Old Masters 1G Pickling Whit…

Minwax 61860 White Wash…

Old Masters 1/2 Pint Pickli…

Old Masters 12404 1 Quar…

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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