Painting MDF

I am wanting to get a slightly white-washed look on a desk that I am making primarily from MDF. I am not too experienced or skilled at painting, so I am seeking any advice or comments.
Some of the immediate questions that come to mind are oil or water based? Brush or sprayer (I have a wagner)? Primer or not? Number of coats and treatment between (such as sanding)? And of course, how to cerate the washed effect while maintaining a durable and smooth finish.
Again, I would appreciate any help.
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Alan Rudson
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Go ahead, paint it. It takes it beautifully. Rudson Family wrote:>I am wanting to get a slightly white-washed look on a desk that I am making

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This isn't true. I've made a lot of bookshelves out of MDF and never had any swelling when it was painted. It will swell when it gets wet, but seems like it happens more when (what would be) the endgrain gets wet.
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making
By white-washed I assume you mean pickling... A white semi-transparent pigmented finish. I don't see why you want to see MDF at all. Perhaps painting with a base color, and then use a glaze (think of glaze as a clearish paint that you can add as much pigment as need to make it it as opaque as you would like).

Oil. It dries hard (if you let it cure fully, which can take a week or so if you are reallt particular... longer is better) therefore, it is easy to sand out surface imperfections between coats (dust pickies, drips or raised grain).
Latex (water base) is like a plastic coating it remains flexible, but doesn't sand. This is preferable for an exterior application where moisture changes are more extreme and the wood will move more, hese the coating has to be more flexible.

Good spayers can do nice work. Wagner is not a good sprayer... you can do just as good a jub with less fuss with a brush.

Sure.
Number of coats
What ever it takes to get the coverage you want.

Yup... I find a cabinet scraper makes very quick work knocking off any nibs.

See above

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I have always had trouble with MDF soaking up nonoil based finishes like a sponge and have primed with Kilz before painting. Makes a really nice slick finish but a fragile one that scratches easily. but if you are going with white anyway it wouldn't show the scratches.

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wrote: you can get mdf in clear to stain or white to vernish i buy mine here http://www.screwfix.com

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