finish for wood shelves for clothes

I'm planning my first woodworking project - a set of shelves in our walk-in bedroom closet. 5 shelves each about 4.5' x 14". I was planning on using 3/4" birch plywood for the shelves since I want them pretty smooth. Each shelf will be supported by solid pine cleats running along the wall.
What is the best type of smooth opaque finish to use on this? It has to be perfectly smooth so none of our sweaters will get pulls as they go on and off the shelves. Also something cleanable would be nice. It also has to be white. I don't think paint is going to setup smooth enough or be cleanable. What are my other options?
Thanks!! -Bob
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Tinted shellac, tinted laquer, colored poly... you see the pattern here? Use a wood finish that has color added :) Then you can sand between coats, even buff it out to as smooth a finish as you need.
David
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David wrote:

Or do that with paint! I'd say the average car is plenty smooth enough for his purposes. Paint. Just paint. Yeesh. It doesn't have to be this complicated. I buy my 2000 grit sandpaper in the automotive department for a reason. It's used to sand out paint to get it smooth between coats, so you can wind up with a glassy finish on top after you buff out the final coat. Best results could probably be obtained using a real paint of course. Something with noxious chemicals in it that are known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects. Stuff with -ene on the end. Xylene, toulene, neoprene, aspirene, latrene, tangerene.
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I agree there's no need for complication. Were you implying that applying tinted shellac, etc would be complicated, or were you referring to the OP's question?
David
Silvan wrote:

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David wrote:

Well, more toward upthread stuff about using flassanox and blurticulated rimflab with particle sizes down to 0.3 angstroms to ensure a perfect mirror polish and stuff. This is turning into one of those grossly over-complicated Wreck adventures. Unless the OP's sweaters are made out of spun gold or something. :)
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Opaque?
Sand smooth the surface, prime and again lightly sand then finish off you in your choice of color with an Alkyd Oil based paint. Use a 1" diameter "closed foam roller" for smooth results.

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Leon wrote:

sandpaper over any rough spots. These surfaces can be washed and even scrubbed after a couple of weeks. If you want to be really fussy you can still add a layer or two of waterbased polyurethane.
Josie
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I've found that using the poly over the paint is good. I did several shelves for my daugters room, let them dry for about 2 weeks, then put them up. She had several dolls that were still in the boxes.
When we moved t years later, several of the boxes had stuck pretty hard to the shelves. For the next set, I put poly over the paint, and have not had any problems with them.
Trace
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I'm gonna show how much of a newbie I am here, but can I really use waterbased polyeurethane over latex paint -or does one of them have to be oil based? It seems like waterbased urethane and latex paint would not play nice together.
Thanks for all the advice!
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You are going overboard here. Make the shelf from that plywood with the paper coating. Apply a neat wood trim or even the plastic T edging that sits in the kerf and then give it one coat of primer, and a coat or two of epoxy paint. This will flow out nicely and be rock hard and glossy
Plan B. Use MDF. Round over the front edge, prime and paint with epoxy.
Plan C. Use Formica.
Plan D cover the plywood or MDF with shelf paper.
Save the fine woodworking for where folks can appreciate it.
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I've put WB Varathane over latex several times without problems. Used a pad for application and got a SMOOTH finish.
On 7 Jan 2005 12:45:06 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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By melamine coated particle board.
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Hi Bob,
If you want perfectly smooth and wear like iron, why not use melamine?
You can trim the front edge of each shelf with an oak strip to may it look nice. It's also a lot cheaper than birch ply.
We are planning to re-do our walk-in and will most likely use melamine.
Lou

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There are a few reasons I don't want to use melamine. First of all, the boards only come in 12" width and I need 14". I could use a 4x8 sheet of melamine, but I've heard cutting it can be very difficult without making it shred the surface. I'm doing this with a circular saw - no table saw.
Also, I wanted to put in some dividers, that I didn't mention, and I don't think I can use a router on melamine to dado in some vertical dividers.
Lastly, I just kinda want to make it out of wood - seems like more fun. Though, maybe I won't say that this time next week.
Either way, the cleats would be solid pine and I need to find a similar finish for those.
Melamine is the sort of finish I'm looking for though, I agree.
loutent wrote:

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On 7 Jan 2005 09:03:32 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

After you trim the edges in solid wood, sand everything with 120, 150, and 220. Prime, then _lightly_ sand with 220. Apply a gloss white paint, allow to dry for a few days, and lightly sand with 220. Apply another coat of paint. After two weeks, apply Johnson's Paste Wax with #000 steel wool and buff. You won't have any snags.
Another option is to apply a white laminate with contact cement and a rubber J roller. Use a router trim bit and a chamfer bit. The laminate, unlike the paint finish, will be slicker, easier to clean, and won't need any finish work.
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I sounds like you've had bad experiences with paint. A good paint and job will give you what you are looking for. Here is a finish scehdule that I used recently on an old rocking chair. The Customer wnated it painted white.
Sand the plywood up to 220 grit. Prime with Zinsser's BIN. It is a two or three pound cut of pigmented shellac. Lightly sand with 280 grit to knock down any grain stuck in an upright position. Use two coats of a 100% acrylic paint lightly sanding with 320 grit between coats. I used Sherwin-Williams Pro-Classic as I was doing everything with a brush rather than a spray gun. Acrylic handles differently from vinyl or vinyl / acrylic so try it out on some scrap first. It can be easily overbrushed. Also, wait for the paint to thoroughly dry before putting the shelves into service, about two weeks.
The ultimate in an opaque color coat is pigmented lacquer but you must use a spray gun.
Good Luck.

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I agree that the simplest solution would be to use melamine shelves. You can iron on edge banding. (No special tools needed)
David
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