Can you apply a finish to MDF?


This is a similar but more general question to one posted by Morris Dovey. I'm making a workbench with an MDF top. I'm a little concerned about eventually ruining it with drops of glue, oil, paint, etc.. Has anyone ever applied a coat of Polyurethane to the top of MDF? How did it turn out?
Thanks for your help.
Kevin
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Slop some Watco on it, and then optionally wax it. Works great.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Poly works well. Does not look any prettier, but it does offer protection.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Fine.
Try it on a scrap of the same MDF.
Shellac, lacquer, or any other finish you'd put on wood can be used on MDF.
Barry
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
MDF is amenable to most finishes. Shellac, poly, paint, whatever. It routs beautifully, to boot! Go for it.
Dave
klklimes wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Gotta agree with using the Watco - that really pops the grain.......;-)
Bob S.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Clear only.
It's a sin to stain it. <G>
The MDF should be allowed to darken naturally in the sun, or fumed.
Barry
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I have an MDF top workbench also. Lots of stain splotches and glue droplet stains. I wouldn't consider it ruined... after all, it's a "work bench"
How does "drops of glue, oil, paint, etc" ruin a work bench? Does it double as a kitchen table for you?? :)

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
My workbench is MDF, covered with 1/4" masonite. When it gets covered with too many globs of glue, I grab a scraper, knock them off, hit it with a sander for a few moments, wipe on a coat of shellac, let that dry, and then apply wax. Now I've got a semi water resistant, SMOOTH work surface again. Total time: around 6-8 minutes. (I just refinish the center section where all the glue mess occurs).
Dave
stoutman wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

By making it uneven, and knocking them off may leave torn out holes, which by becoming many will also be adverse to working on theat surface.
--
Dr. Juergen Hannappel http://lisa2.physik.uni-bonn.de/~hannappe
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@physik.uni-bonn.de Phone: +49 228 73 2447 FAX ... 7869
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I don't mind colour stains on a workbench, but I don't want raised drops of glue.
MDF is a good workbench top. Coat of hard poly or floor varnish, then definitely well-buffed wax to stop spilled glue from sticking. You could even skip the varnish, but get that wax on there.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
klklimes wrote:

Why not consider a layer of 1/4" hardboard?
Lower cost, will last longer, simple to replace.
Lew
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
MDF accepts paint very well.
I use an epoxy product Rustoleum Industrial Mastic 9100 series to paint all my MDF shop "furniture".
Hard durable no stick finish
Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I've done that for several years. With a workbench I want something that dries quickly, and can be easily restored. Have used both shellac and wb poly, with the poly convenient as it's more resistant to alcohol and such. Every so often I run a hand scraper over the top lightly and may sand it down just with a rotary 220. A coat of wb poly is dry enough in a few hours to scuff sand and it's ready for a few more months.
A tempered hardboard cover holds up better, but is harder to fix. With MDF I can easily smooth over any scratches or digs, then recoat it. I've got 1-1/2 MDF with hardwood edging, and its survived glue, oil, paint and pounding. Gerry

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks to all of you who eased my fears that a coat of Poly wouldn't make MDF disintegrate. I'll definitely be giving it a try. No, not to keep the benchtop looking pristine but to keep it smooth and give me a safe place to park my cold beer (after the tools are locked up of course).
I appreciate all your help.
Kevin

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.