Question about finishing particle board (and one about formaldehyde)

Okay, so in the office that I work in, there are a couple tables that have a table top that looks like particle board with a clear finish on it. I like how it looks, and am planning on building an industrial looking desk at home (pipe, key klamps) and would like to use this finished particle board as the surface of the desk. My question is, what would be the best clear finish to use that will work well on particle board and also work well as a desk surface?
Also, as an aside, just how bad is the formaldehyde problem with particle board? I made shelves and toy boxes in a walk-in closet in my new son's room about 9 months ago (he moved into the room at about 3 months old). We keep the door to the room closed, with the door to the closet open. For the first couple months, I could smell the particle board (the fronts and tops are painted, but the backs are unfinished), but it wasn't unpleasant (mostly "wood like") or anything like the symptoms I have since read about regarding formaldehyde, and he never showed any discomfort in the room. Now I am worried that I have permanently damaged my son or something.
Anyway, thanks for any help!
Bill
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Sat, Dec 22, 2007, 3:08am (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@BLAHyahoo.com (Bill L.) doth query: <snip> Also, as an aside, just how bad is the formaldehyde problem with particle board? <snip>
Can be bad. Especially on kids it would seem. Many years back, it would make my son almost physically ill, when my then wife and I couldn't even smell it. If I was you I'd do a LOT of checking before I used it. I'd check with the manufacturer. And google.
JOAT My memory is not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory is not as sharp as it used to be.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 22 Dec 2007 03:08:59 GMT, "Bill L."

I like minwax polyurethane spar varnish, usually I opt for semi gloss thinking if I want a more satin I can always wax it with a scotchbrite pad. I always start with a "wash coat" of the poly thinned at least 30%, let that cure for about 48 hrs then after lightly sanding with 220 and proceeding with 3+ coats full strength, again 220 or 320 between coats. After the last coat I let it cure for about a week before waxing with paste wax at least once. You end up with a sheen type polished finish, something a little less shiny than the semi gloss by itself that will stand up to a lot of abuse and is UV protected and looks great. Oh, don't forget to use at least mid quality brush, don't shake the can, stir slowly and apply in long slow even strokes and you won't get any brush marks. If you do your varnish may be slightly too thick, thin slightly and the brush marks flow out nicely.
I usually finish the tops of tables on both sides at least through the first or second full strength coats, but that is just my preference. Good luck, whatever you end up using to finish it with. regards, Joe
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote: snip
Bill,
Try looking for formaldehyde-free particle board. The brand name is Medite and Medex. It made by Sierra Pine 1-800-676-3339. I'll be using this in a countertop for my chemically sensitive wife.
Best of luck,
Dustin
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote: snip
Bill,
Try looking for formaldehyde-free particle board. The brand name is Medite and Medex. It made by Sierra Pine 1-800-676-3339. I'll be using this in a countertop for my chemically sensitive wife.
Best of luck,
Dustin
Dustin, Until I read your post, I didn't even know about the existence of formalehyde-free particle board and MDF. As I am chemically sensitive myself, I think I can use this to good advantage! Thank You Very Much!
(different) Bill
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

There are clear acrylic, epoxy or epoxy-like finishes used for bar tops and coffee tables. I think you can pour them on thick enough to cover photos and such making them into a permanent feature of the tabletop.
Particle board creeps worse than most any other furniture material so you'll want to reinforce that table top with some- thing better underneath, perhaps angle iron, pipe or tubing.
--
FF

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

Site Timeline

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.