Do I need a primer? What kind?


I have a cabinet made of varnished plywood. I am adding oak molding and then painting it all.
Do I need to use a primer? If so, what kind? Do I have to sand the varnished plywood first?
Thanks
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You will need to wash the varnished plywood thoroughly as well as sand it to make a "tooth" so that the paint will adhere.
The unstated problem here is how the varnish will react to the paint. If you are lucky there may be no reaction i.e. the varnish will serve as a primer. If they are chemically incompatible you will need to remove the varnish.
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wrote:

If you're going to paint it anyway, why bother with the expense of oak molding? Pine, MDF, or plastic would work just fine.

Depends. Do you want the paint to stick?
I'd use an oil-based primer.

It would sure help. Go to a real paint store (not the paint department at Home Depot or Lowe's), tell them what you want to do, and ask them for recommendations.
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snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote in

Go to a paint store and ask them? Than's your advice? Why did you even respond to his post if that's the best you can do. Either put up or shut up.
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Mark wrote:

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Missed this part, didja? "I'd use an oil-based primer."
Next time, try reading *all* of the post before you respond. Idjit.
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Doug Miller wrote:

The borgs can be great. I recently asked one of their paint guys about the difference between the three versions of Kilz they stocked.
His reply? "Doesn't matter. All primers are nothing but elmers glue anyway. They all use that stuff and put it in different cans."
He claimed to have been a professional painter for fifteen years before he went to work for Lowes.
I immediately left and went to a real paint store.
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Why? What kind of glue is it? :-)
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On 7/31/2008 9:34 AM jack spake thus:

A little hard to advise on what little information you've given us, but here goes.
The problem you need to solve is the age-old one of "how do I get paint to stick to this surface?" A couple of aspects of that problem: 1) problems with adhesion when painting over any glossy surface (either varnish or paint), and 2) the opposite, the fact that paint sticks better to roughened surfaces (which you seem to sense in your question about sandpaper).
Is the varnish glossy, or satin or dull? If glossy, then you definitely need to prepare the surface before painting, either by physically scuffing with sandpaper, or chemically with a deglossing agent. Which you use depends on information we don't have, such as how large the cabinet is, what kind of trim it has, etc.
If the surface is not glossy, you can probably apply primer directly over it.
But in any case, yes, you should use primer. My preference is a good oil-based one, which will stick better than a water-based (latex or acrylic) primer.
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If you want to do it the right way (meaning that you actually want the paint to stick) I'd sand AND use a primer. If your intent is to use oil based products check the existing varnish to see if it's oil based (it probably is if it's a factory coating). If what's already on there is water based, then use water based primer and paint.
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