Finishing for newbies - over Mahogany Veneer and MDF

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Forum topic by babarracus posted 08-07-2013 07:47 AM 2913 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 1992 days

08-07-2013 07:47 AM

On the job, almost all of the finishing work gets subbed out to the painter. I just build things, so this is mostly new to me and there are way too many options…

I have a speaker that’s currently half raw mahogany veneer, and half exposed MDF. Current plan is to paint the MDF and based on lack of experience, just poly over everything after that. The stumbling blocks are what’s going to work together between painting, filling the grain on the mahogany, and finishing.

Criteria are simple, cheap, durable, fast; in that order.

(If applicable, my compressor is at best marginal for spraying, and I’d have to buy a gun, which would eat into the cheap criterion)

3 replies so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 3950 days

#1 posted 08-25-2013 11:48 PM

Have you found a solution yet? I’d actually have to complete a project before I got to the finishing stage so my experience on that front is pretty limited :-)

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Ron Stewart's profile (online now)

Ron Stewart

146 posts in 2742 days

#2 posted 08-28-2013 11:47 PM

A few years ago, I used mahogany veneer on a pair of speakers. I didn’t fill the grain. I used Zar rosewood stain and Old Dad’s wipe-on poly to finish them. It turned out well for me. Old Dad’s is no longer in business as far as I know, but Arm-R-Seal should work fine.

I really like the Zar stain. It’s much thicker than typical stain (but thick like a gel stain). The mahogany took it very well—it was nowhere as difficult as trying to color hard maple or other close-grained wood.

I have some pictures on my web site. They’re not the greatest, but are good enough to give a reasonable idea about how the speakers look. Here’s one:

There are others on my Ellis Audio 1801F project page.


-- Ron Stewart

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1854 posts in 2554 days

#3 posted 08-29-2013 11:01 PM

If you plan to use oil-based poly be careful about the color. The poly will eventually add a strong yellow tint to your project. This is rarely a problem when finishing darker woods but it can be very ugly on some paints – especially lighter colors.

-- See my work at and

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