Paint or poly first?

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Forum topic by bdresch posted 12-14-2014 11:16 PM 1075 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View bdresch's profile


141 posts in 1575 days

12-14-2014 11:16 PM

I am building a flip top planer stand and have a finishing question. The panels will be ACX plywood that I will paint with a hammered green finish. The edge banding will be maple that I want to finish in clear poly. Is it best to apply the poly first and then do the painting, or should I paint first? I was thinking poly first would be the best because then any misplaced primer or paint would wipe off easier. Any thoughts?

7 replies so far

View TheDane's profile


5404 posts in 3630 days

#1 posted 12-15-2014 12:00 AM

I think I would prime & paint first, then top-coat with poly.

Alternatively, you could use shellac as a sealer, paint, then poly.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View AandCstyle's profile


3027 posts in 2225 days

#2 posted 12-15-2014 12:43 AM

You can tape off the maple banding with blue tape and paint the ply. However, be careful to press the tape down really well so the paint doesn’t run under the tape. I don’t think that will be much of an issue with a tight grain wood like maple.

-- Art

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 3214 days

#3 posted 12-15-2014 12:52 AM

Paint the ply before the glue up. Then you just have to keep it out of the spaces that get glue. Looks better, easier to paint too.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2643 days

#4 posted 12-15-2014 04:21 AM

I think you will want the wood that is clear finished done first. If you don’t get the tape sealed then the paint can be cleaned off the poly. If you get paint on the wood and it seeps under the tape, it will be difficult to remove. Just the way I would do it I think.

View ChefHDAN's profile


1057 posts in 2817 days

#5 posted 12-15-2014 01:42 PM

+1 for painting the ply before attaching the banding. then you can just poly the entire unit which will add durability to your finish

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2060 days

#6 posted 12-15-2014 02:20 PM

If you can’t finish the painted and polyed parts separately I’d do the poly first. But make sure you give the poly plenty of time to cure. Especially if you’re using an oil based primer or paint. You don’t want a situation in which the mineral spirits in the paint can dissolve into the poly.

Lots of masking tape will probably make it doable.

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2297 posts in 2337 days

#7 posted 12-15-2014 02:50 PM

I think painting before the edge-banding would be the ideal way. Assuming you’re using solid edging and not iron-on (don’t know if the heat would effect the paint at the edges). I think it’d be important to fit make sure your edging is sized and trimmed well before painting the ply. Planing/sanding of the trim could be done once it’s applied to the painted ply, but it’d be more work to avoid damaging the paint than it would be if you just fit everything prior.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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