understanding wood painting...

Hi,
I'm iterating on this topic, 'cause I cant understand to the end my choices for painting wood. I want to apply a color over particleboard, i.e. I don't want to preserve the original "wood" color. For my better understanding I was looking the catalog of Sherwing Williams products, just for example. But all the finishes for wood in the SW catalog are transparent, no matter they were lacquers or polyurethane. So means it I'll need to use an oil-based paint, THE SAME THAT IS USED FOR METAL, to be applyed after the sealer? Then after that I'll need to use the transparent lacquer for a highly glossy finish? I was asking in a shop that sells finishings for wood (the most specialized one I've found on my area) and they answered me "we prepare what you need", I saw the guys were "cooking" his paints by mixing and remixing colors, but actually what they were cooking I don't get the answer. I've seen on shops (Wallmart-alike) they sell paint even in can for spraying. They say you can use it for everything, from furniture to cars. Can they be used for wood? I'm thinking I will get better result spraying with these cans than brushing by hand? Is it a real alternative to buy an expensive compressor?
Then, can I assume that after sealing the wood, I can use any type of paint, and after that, I can use transparent lacquer or polyurethane to get the highest glossy finish? Is it right?
I'd prefer you guys not reccommend me any specific product, 'cause the most probable I'll not find it on the local market. I'd preffer advices on generic traditional types of paints.
Thanks in advance
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Faustino Dina
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Not much to preserve with P-board. Clear finish is to show off the expensive mesquite you used for your shelves.
Particle board, you paint. If it's going to be inside in a dry location, any old latex will do. Your latex paint dealer may recommend a specific primer for particle board.
If it's outside, you shouldn't have used p-board.
I've had good success in a damp basement using oil-based primer followed by two coats of latex with an anti-mold additive.
Paint marked "Cucina y Bano" (Kitchen and bath to we Yanks) already has an antimold additive.
Your paint dealer, in most cases, will mix your paint to order using standardized pigments. No biggy. The price includes tinting unless you're buying one of the 2-3 premixed colors, usually different versions of white.
Up here, the Big Box stores have shelves marked "Oops" where you can buy badly mixed paint for $5 a gallon. I can often find a reasonable color choice there if it's for something over which SWMBO doesn't have veto power
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