Urethaning cabinet made of particle board and MDF

I'm planning on buying a fish tank stand cabinet that's made of particle board and MDF coated with that fake wood looking veneer. However, I don't want to ruin the cabinet with an accidental water splash, so I would like to protect it somehow. I'm guessing the best way would be to urethane everything. So I'm looking for input on how to go about this or if there's better things to try. I've urethaned tons of wood furniture, etc. before, so that's not my problem. However, I'm especially concerned about the fact that I'm urethaning things that have a tendency to get ruined when to liquid. How can I urethane the fake wood veneer, as well as raw particle board and MDF without causing it to bubble up, etc. What products should I use? Maybe spray can stuff? Water, oil based?
Thank you very much for any help, Harry
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If by "fake wood veneer" you mean plastic foil printed with a pattern reminiscent of wood it's already as waterproof as such junk is worth while, no paint on top of that plastic will do any good.
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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
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I agree that it's not exactly top quality stuff, however, it's the best I can find/afford at the moment. Why would urethening not help any in resisting water damage?
Harry
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[...]

[...]
Because if it already has a plastic foil surface it's already water resistant. The only point where you possibly could improve that would be at edges where the bare MDF/particle board is visible.
Since this group is rec.woodworking why not build a wooden stand?
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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
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Maybe we're not talking about exactly the same thing. I'm referring to the stuff that most furniture that you get, say from Walmart, would be covered in. I'm not sure if it's plastic or not, but it does have the printed wood pattern on it.
However, I know from experience that if you leave a puddle of water on these for longer than a few hours, the particle board starts to bubble. My bubbling was right in the middle of the wood, not near any edges. That's the kind of damage I would like to protect against. There's also the particle board at the back edges that I want to protect and the inside has some MDF that I want to protect also. So I'm just looking for input on how to urethane all of these three types of surfaces without them bubbling or doing anything funny on me.
Thanks, Harry
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Harry Muscle wrote:

Harry, the polyurethane shouldn't cause any problems, but try a spot first just to be sure.
It should help but obviously won't make a silk purse out of a sows ear. But you already knew that :)
If any water can get to the edges, pay particular attention to them and use enough coats of polyurethane to be sure it's sealed.
I believe you will have better results in your application with an oil based poly instead of a water based poly.
Good Luck
Rico
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spar varnish is usually used around fish tanks. the wood is going to move a LOT due to the increased localized high humidity.
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I'm just worried about the "wood" reacting to the finish like it reacts to water, since it will take a little bit of time for the finish to dry.
Thanks, Harry
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that's why you should use a non-water based product, like spar varnish.
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the fake wood veneer is paper for the most part.
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