Heat Affect on Finish for Entertainment Center Shelf

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Forum topic by WillTheEngineer posted 09-30-2013 05:07 PM 1051 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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68 posts in 2857 days

09-30-2013 05:07 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tip trick

Hello, Apologies if I missed this topic in my search. I’m finishing up an entertainment center, which of course will have several components generating heat. I’ll be installing fans in three sections. However I was wanting to ask opinions on just keeping a basic oil finish (min wax, Nat & Cherry) stain, or should I add a water based poly?...would the heat dry out the oils in the wood, causing it to crack, etc…..

I don’t think it will be an issue with the fans I’m installing, but would like to know if anyone has came across issues with electrical equipment, that generate heat, on shelves. I have read about TV’s bases getting stuck in poly after years of use.

Thank you..

6 replies so far

View dschlic1's profile


421 posts in 1939 days

#1 posted 09-30-2013 05:16 PM

I used Minwax Poly on my entertainment center. No problems so far….

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4955 posts in 2462 days

#2 posted 09-30-2013 06:31 PM

The heat will not be a problem for the wood, but the cooling is good for the stuff stored in there. If someone’s TV got stuck in the varnish it was for some other reason. For example: some plastic have an elasticize r in them that will dissolve some types of finish. Most of that was with the older plastics, but with so many things coming from China that have unknown substances in it who knows what’s going on. So, it may pay to put a doily under the TV stand, but not because of the heat.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View WillTheEngineer's profile


68 posts in 2857 days

#3 posted 09-30-2013 07:33 PM

dschlic1 & Fred, Thanks for the post. On another form, 7 yrs old, a person had their TV stand stuck in poly. Brand, age, etc..wasn’t stated.

I just know my receiver and cable box can get really hot. I’ll be plugging the one fan for both of them in to the receiver, so when it’s on, the fan will be on.

Not for sure if it would be better to leave the caucus shelves with the oil stain, or put a coat of poly on them.

View CharlesNeil's profile


2389 posts in 3839 days

#4 posted 09-30-2013 09:26 PM

Film finishes are various forms of plastic, they do not like heat, Water base isnt as sensitive as solvent, but it still can have issues. Finishes dont like heat and moisture.

A couple or 3 coats of a good varnish oil, like Arm R Seal , Formbys Tung or Minwax poly oil would be your best bet. Oils tolerate heat better than film finishes.

View WillTheEngineer's profile


68 posts in 2857 days

#5 posted 09-30-2013 10:01 PM

Charles, thank you for the post. Would you advise to just leave the shelves with oil stain, or add a poly? I’ve used a min wax oil stain & water poly on the face frame, top, & sides.

View CharlesNeil's profile


2389 posts in 3839 days

#6 posted 10-01-2013 12:29 PM

I would suggest applying one of the oils listed as a top coat, the stain alone wont offer much protection , and the sheen will be quite dull when it dries out, just be sure to let the oil stain dry throughlyor applying an oil over it could pull some of the color off , also make sure the stain is totally dry before applying a water base finish, unless you seal it with shellac , which is a good thing to do, water over oil unless throughly dry can present adhesion issues

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