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Finishing Baltic beech plywood

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Forum topic by b2rtch posted 04-28-2014 06:08 PM 892 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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b2rtch

4351 posts in 1795 days


04-28-2014 06:08 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question finishing

I have to make some book displays for my church’s new location.
I shall be using Baltic Beech plywood both 3/4” and 1/2”.
What is the best ,least expensive and easiest way to finish them?
What about sanding, I am going to cut through the veneer if I sand them?
Which grit to use, 220?
Thank you for your help.

-- Bert


22 replies so far

View firefighterontheside's profile (online now)

firefighterontheside

5813 posts in 603 days


#1 posted 04-28-2014 06:13 PM

Baltic beech or birch? I finish it as if it is solid wood. There should be no voids. The outer lamination is thicker than other cabinet grade plywood. You should not burn through it. That’s been my experience.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

View Thewoodman2000's profile

Thewoodman2000

764 posts in 717 days


#2 posted 04-28-2014 06:18 PM

Sierra does carry some pre-finished baltic birch panels. would that help with your project?
You will be fine sanding the material as long as you don’t hang out to long in one area. I would sand thru 220.
Are you going to finish the edge or just let the plys show thru?
If you can spray or brush on some poly that should be fairly cheap.

Hope that helps some

-- (the only thing in there she says is....tap on head..........tap..........tap..... saw dust) - James www.etsy.com/shop/ZionsWoodnCrafts

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b2rtch

4351 posts in 1795 days


#3 posted 04-28-2014 06:21 PM

“Baltic beech or birch?”
I do not know.
Which one is correct?

“Are you going to finish the edge or just let the plys show thru?”
I am not sure yet, it will depend of the look.

-- Bert

View RockyTopScott's profile

RockyTopScott

1150 posts in 2225 days


#4 posted 04-28-2014 06:24 PM

Mix some BLO, Mineral spirits and Poly and wet sand them with 400+ wet grit and they should look fine.

-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

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firefighterontheside

5813 posts in 603 days


#5 posted 04-28-2014 06:26 PM

I assumed you meant Baltic birch, as I’ve never heard of Baltic beech. I used it on a project because of the fact that there are no voids. You can use the edge with no banding necessary. You can shape the edges with a router too. I just stained and polyurethaned it. The problem I had with it is that it came in a 5×5 sheet which is very difficult to carry if you’re not really tall. Also the factory edges were not straight.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

View RogerInColorado's profile

RogerInColorado

306 posts in 701 days


#6 posted 04-28-2014 06:31 PM

If they are book displays and aren’t going to get lots of “wear and tear”, I’d probably brush on or spray shellac. It builds quickly and can be sanded level pretty quickly (with a soap and water lubricant) so it’s pretty hassle free. It dries quickly so you can probably get all the coats you need to apply all done in a day. If you are planning to use a clear finish with no stain under it, I probably wouldn’t sand all the way to 220, Just sand out the mill / planer marks plus a grit or 2 and then start with the clear finish. I’d do a test piece with several grits under a finish so you can see and compare results about how fine you need to sand to get the result you like. I usually do that on every project whether I’m staining or not just to get a “feel” for how the wood and the stain and the top coat are going to “like” each other.

RockyTops BLO-MS-Poly is a really great finish, too, it’s more work but it is really “touch friendly”.

By the way, I recall you talking about having a shed full of free Ash. These displays would be a beautiful use of that bounty.

View Mike Throckmorton's profile

Mike Throckmorton

79 posts in 411 days


#7 posted 04-28-2014 06:34 PM

One caution, depending on the finish you use, you can get some distinct yellowing.

As always, test your proposed finish on some scraps of the ply you are using.

If you are using just the plywood, all color shifting, if any, will be in concert.

If you are mixing in some other woods, you can have some awkward relative color shifts (speaking from experience with not doing some test pieces…surprise!).

-- You are never complete, you just draw a line where done is and stop at that line.

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b2rtch

4351 posts in 1795 days


#8 posted 04-28-2014 07:14 PM

“Mix some BLO, Mineral spirits and Poly”
Which proportion?.
My’customer” wants the displays tinted dark walnut.
I plan on using an oil for tint.
May I mix the oil with the mixture above?
If yes , which proportions?
Can I spray the finish?
Thank you all.

-- Bert

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1323 days


#9 posted 04-28-2014 07:26 PM

My typical finishing schedule for baltic birch (probably the one you meant) is a couple coats of sealcoat (dewaxed shellac), lightly sand with 320,then apply a few coats of a good waterborne clear coat. Quick and easy.

Edit to add:
You can tint the sealcoat with transtint for the desired color. It works great.

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

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b2rtch

4351 posts in 1795 days


#10 posted 04-28-2014 07:31 PM

waterborne clear coat and transtint.
What are these?
Thank you.

-- Bert

View RockyTopScott's profile

RockyTopScott

1150 posts in 2225 days


#11 posted 04-28-2014 07:54 PM

Sorry Bert…I do equal parts of each…I prefer a flat look poly but you may prefer something more glossy.

I am not sure about spraying this finish….I am not skilled at that yet.

-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

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b2rtch

4351 posts in 1795 days


#12 posted 04-28-2014 07:58 PM

Thank you Rocky

-- Bert

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distrbd

1302 posts in 1193 days


#13 posted 04-28-2014 08:10 PM

Bert I know of a mixture that has worked very well for me:

25% pure tung oil.
25% Spar varnish.
50% paint thinner.
1 teaspoon of Japan dryer per cup of mixture.

You could find japan dryer in most paint stores.The mixture has been around for a while but I first heard it from a well respected member from a Canadian site.

-- Ken from Ontario

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NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1323 days


#14 posted 04-28-2014 09:27 PM

“Waterbornes” are any clear coat where the carrier is water; not oil. They dry faster, don’t have as noxious of fumes and usually dry very clear. Crystalac, minwax polycrylic, general finishes enduro-var, enduro clear poly and high performance are all waterbornes. Rustoleum makes a waterborne that’s pretty cheap too; ultimate poly.
Of those I’ve used crystalac (liked it a lot but availability seems to be an issue these days), polycrylic (decent) and ultimate poly (decent). I have a sample of enduro clear poly on the way to try out.

Waterbornes are also much more spray friendly because of the low voc. Oil based finishes are sprayable, but it’s usually not recommended to do so. They take a long time to dry and any overspray will make a crusty film on nearly everything around where you spray. Just not worth the hassle IMHO. That’s my biggest peeve with oil based finishes; how long they take to dry. You could have the finish applied and the project ready to go in 1-2 days using waterbornes, while an oil based finish, be it from a can or one of the home brews (which I’m not a fan of), you’re looking at a week or more of total dry time.

Transtints are colorants from homestead finishing products. They’re in liquid form and you mix them with alcohol, water or even clear coats. I usually mix them with sealcoat. They work great.

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

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b2rtch

4351 posts in 1795 days


#15 posted 04-28-2014 11:52 PM

Thank you all for your help especially NiteWalker.
So can I sand to 220 and mix transtints in my waterborne finish and be done?
How many coats would I need?
Do need to sand between coast?

-- Bert

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