Want Advice: Protecting MDF From Water Contact

Has anyone had experience with a water protective finish for MDF? I have a work table with an MDF top, and I briefly set a glass of ice tea on it, and the wet spot swelled up. Fortunately, it wasnt permanent. I saw that Pat Warner saturated his router table top with Watco. I wonder how that worked out.
I have on hand Watco, Exterior Watco, Waterlox, and several types of varnishes. What would be best? I plan to submerge the top, but I dont want water soaking in on contact.
Thanks. Joel
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Whoops! I left out the word don't --- I don't plan to submerge the top.
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----------------------------------------------------- Has anyone had experience with a water protective finish for MDF? I have a work table with an MDF top, and I briefly set a glass of ice tea on it, and the wet spot swelled up. Fortunately, it wasnt permanent. I saw that Pat Warner saturated his router table top with Watco. I wonder how that worked out.
I have on hand Watco, Exterior Watco, Waterlox, and several types of varnishes. What would be best? I plan to submerge the top, but I dont want water soaking in on contact. ---------------------------------------------------
2-3 coats of an oil based deck paint is one way; however, think I would cover the top with a piece of sacrificial, 1/4" hard board.
When it gets crapped up, replace it.
Probably less costly than a can of paint.
Lew
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On Wed, 9 Dec 2009 20:55:09 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

Maybe a polyurethane varnish, floor paint or apply Formica over the MDF. If unprotected wood gets wet, it will swell.
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wrote:

Best bet would be covering it with a layer of something else that is less fragile. Any type of protectant or finish that soaks in may weaken the binders in the MDF, and a pinhole in any surface finish will be an achilles heel.
Plywood, plastic laminate, metal sheet...
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A sheet of Formica (HPL from anybody) is, IMO, one of the better solutions. Most adhesives won't stick to it (depending on the choice of laminate finish ie, the satin-like finish works best), easy to clean, and cheap. Many laminate distributors have discontinued colours that they will sell for cheap. I bought 50 4 x 8 sheets for $8.00 per sheet, which I use as backers for custom laminate countertops. MANY of the mish-mash of colours had a good reason to be discontinued, there's some fugly colours in that pile. A simple painter's razor blade scrapes justabout anything right off. We use it for glue-ups all the time. For some reason Titebond III really sticks to it..... mmmmm
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wrote:

A sheet of Formica (HPL from anybody) is, IMO, one of the better solutions. Most adhesives won't stick to it (depending on the choice of laminate finish ie, the satin-like finish works best), easy to clean, and cheap. Many laminate distributors have discontinued colours that they will sell for cheap. I bought 50 4 x 8 sheets for $8.00 per sheet, which I use as backers for custom laminate countertops. MANY of the mish-mash of colours had a good reason to be discontinued, there's some fugly colours in that pile. A simple painter's razor blade scrapes justabout anything right off. We use it for glue-ups all the time. For some reason Titebond III really sticks to it..... mmmmm
I use a cabinet scraper to remove TBIII from plastic laminate.
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TBIII will come off alright, just seems a bit more difficult. TBIII pops right off gloss laminate though.
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wrote:

A sheet of Formica (HPL from anybody) is, IMO, one of the better solutions. Most adhesives won't stick to it (depending on the choice of laminate finish ie, the satin-like finish works best), easy to clean, and cheap. Many laminate distributors have discontinued colours that they will sell for cheap. I bought 50 4 x 8 sheets for $8.00 per sheet, which I use as backers for custom laminate countertops. MANY of the mish-mash of colours had a good reason to be discontinued, there's some fugly colours in that pile. A simple painter's razor blade scrapes justabout anything right off. We use it for glue-ups all the time. For some reason Titebond III really sticks to it..... mmmmm
Maybe thats why it is called Titebond. WW
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I have wiped a couple coats of poly on MDF and hardboard to help protect it. Seems to work OK but I haven't exposed those surfaces to a lot of wear.
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Formica.
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whit3rd wrote:

I agree.
--
Free bad advice available here.
To reply, eat the taco.
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On Wed, 9 Dec 2009 20:55:09 -0800 (PST), the infamous

I've always loved Waterlox, so I'd use that: 10 handrubbed coats or 4 brushed coats. I much prefer handrubbed to brushed. Use 420 grit between coats if you feel any roughness at all. I handrub two coats the first day, then go to one coat a day at quickest. I really like drying time, even with quick-drying products like Waterlox. More screwed-up finishes have been had from hurrying. None from waiting.
I would let that ring dry out WELL before you sand it and seal it. Otherwise, once it does finally dry out, you'll have a ring dip in the tabletop. A light bulb about 8" off the surface should dry it out in a couple days. Let it cool well before starting, and even though it's not real wood, use a quick wipedown with lacquer thinner or mineral spirits before putting the finish on half an hour later. Again, I wait for the thinner to be completely gone before I start work.
Oh, wait, you said you plan to _submerge_ the top. Forget using MDF for that, -ever-. Any pinhole leak will blow the thing out in 5 minutes.
-- To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive. -- Robert Louis Stevenson
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Two part epoxy paint...specifically Rustoleum Industrail Mastic, not cheap but waterproof & very durable. Not great for sun exposure though.
cheers Bob
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