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Forum topic by poopiekat posted 322 days ago 1016 views 1 time favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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poopiekat

3408 posts in 2239 days


322 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: mdf glossy finish paint ignorenwbusa question

I bought some cabinet parts, approx. 24” X30” of a very unusual material. They appear to be MDF, 3/4” for commercial fixtures, with the most beautiful glossy red paint finish you could ever imagine! They actually look like painted steel panels. I’ve never seen such a high level of gloss on MDF, but it is giving me all kinds of ideas.

So how does one achieve an almost automotive-grade mirror-like finish on MDF? I assume there’s lots of sealing and sanding required, but does anyone know what technique, what equipment, what finishing materials are needed for an ultra-glossy color finish on MDF? I went back to H4H for more, it was all gone…

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!


23 replies so far

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bandit571

5419 posts in 1188 days


#1 posted 322 days ago

Might be a MD…..O? Medium Denseity OVERLAY? A thin layer of paper is added to the MDF. Used a lot in road signs, and the New Yankee workshop for painted projects.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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poopiekat

3408 posts in 2239 days


#2 posted 322 days ago

Possibly, bandit! I used to keep a couple of sheets in my shop for a local signpainter, she’d buy the sheets and store them at my place, she’d tell me what dimensions for a piece she needed for her custom orders. Mostly, I have no idea what paint products and techniques are required for such a slick surface. It’s almost mirror-like!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile

joeyinsouthaustin

1080 posts in 577 days


#3 posted 322 days ago

2 part reactive varnish in the hands of an expert can get the finish you describe very well on many surfaces. Especially high quality mdf, which is quit flat to start with, likely less sanding and more care in construction. Is very durable as well.

-- Who is John Galt?

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DS

2085 posts in 925 days


#4 posted 322 days ago

I’ve done this a few times. It’s a PIA, but doable.
Surface preperation is critical.
At least 2 good primer coats make all the difference. No coarse scratches allowed.

Sand to 600 grit in primer. Then color coat, 600 grit again, then clear coats. By the third clear coat I am up to 2500 grit
The fourth and final coat of clear gets 5000, 8000 then 12500 grit and poilishing compound.

EDIT: I used precat lacquer.

-- "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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DS

2085 posts in 925 days


#5 posted 322 days ago

Recent project in MDF

-- "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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LakeLover

272 posts in 444 days


#6 posted 322 days ago

We were in a fancy kitchen appliance store a couple years ago. My wife noticed these doors on a cabinet. They were flat with a slight radiused edge. Had a gloss blue coat and looked great.

She asked me how they were made. I said ” Looks like MFD, painted in an autobody shop.” A salesman over heard this and said to me. ” many people have asked, you are the only one that knew” I got a bit of a laugh out of that.

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DS

2085 posts in 925 days


#7 posted 322 days ago

You can use automotive paint, but it is 5 times as expensive and much more volatile.
(I paid aprox. $40/gal for gloss precat while automotive is about $200/gall)

-- "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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poopiekat

3408 posts in 2239 days


#8 posted 322 days ago

Hey, thanks everyone for some great advice and insight!
Though I hate to walk into paint stores, it looks like I will need a salesperson with some strong knowledge of his/her products to show me exactly which product will achieve the desired finish. The gloss ‘pre-cat’ sounds like the way to go. I have a few mdf projects just over the horizon, and I really like the slick, wet look of these new coatings. Thanks again for the great info, everybody!
p.s. Great looking console, DS!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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MrRon

2407 posts in 1748 days


#9 posted 322 days ago

MDO is not MDF. It is a plywood that is impregnated witha 30% polyester resin. It is used mainly for highway signs. It is waterproof and very stable. It doesn’t sound like what you have.

View KnickKnack's profile

KnickKnack

965 posts in 2071 days


#10 posted 322 days ago

I knew I’d read a long and interesting article about this a while back, I dug it out and it’s here…

http://forums.shoryuken.com/discussion/67501/how-to-paint-mdf-to-a-mirror-finish-worklog

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1474 days


#11 posted 321 days ago

If the finish resembles that of a high gloss slab door, it will have a plastic film coating on it, not paint or lacquer. I’ve done a few mdf projects where I’ve gloss lacquered over the paint and they came out with that wet look.

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3408 posts in 2239 days


#12 posted 321 days ago

KnickKnack: Man you hit it!! Yesss, this is exactly the tutorial I was hoping to see. His finished product is absolutely stunning! I’m anxious now to get started on a few MDF projects, once I get some other obligations out of the way.

I’m grateful that you took the time to find this article, I see it was posted four years ago. Your efforts are appreciated beyond words, and I hope others find it helpful too.

Thanks to everyone who contributed!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Airspeed's profile

Airspeed

413 posts in 407 days


#13 posted 321 days ago

After baking these in a home made oven for 24 hours to get the MDF stable I sprayed them with sandable primer, sanded smooth until I get it to 600, then I sprayed them with 2k urethane, wet sanded them to 2000 and buffed them with compound and finally polish. They are super glossy.

-- http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v655/aaronhero/

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Mainiac Matt

3525 posts in 833 days


#14 posted 321 days ago

Airspeed, your speakers look AWESOME!!

I know very little about high end painting…. but I’ve been able to scrounge some MDO left over from projects at work in the past, and it is great stuff….. very flat, smooth and stable. The paper-like surface is tough… almost like a phenolic impregnated skin.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

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poopiekat

3408 posts in 2239 days


#15 posted 321 days ago

Airspeed: Wow, that is excellent workmanship, for MDF this is astoundingly high craftsmanship!
And that finish…just like the stock I bought that I referred to in the original post. I now know that this type of finish is achievable in the home shop! Though my next MDF project will be rectilinear in nature, nobody can argue with the flowing lines of your speaker project. That surface is just like glass. Thanks for sharing the pic with us!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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