The missus wants me to build her a counter for her latest enterprise. It's
going to have a smooth curve as part of its form, and I was figuring that
the easiest way to do that, would be to face the frame with bendy MDF. The
counter top will obviously follow the curve of the main counter body, and I
was reckoning on using perhaps 18mm MDF for that. Now she doesn't want a
square edge facing the customers, which is not a problem, as I can put a
profile on it by running the router round it. Now comes the tricky bit. How
to put a finish on it that is attractive, and durable. The main counter body
is not so much of a problem. Because it only curves in one plane, I have
options such as laminating plastic sheet or machined stainless or whatever
to it. But the counter top, which is probably going to need to be black, is
another thing altogether, because with the profiled edge, it will curve in
two planes, which precludes being able to use a flat laminating material of
So, does anyone have any experience of producing a DIY high gloss hard
finish on MDF for a reasonable price ? I don't mind having to do it in
several stages with flatting back in between to get a sealed good smooth
finish, but whatever I use has got to be hard and durable to stand up to
being leaned on by customers, and be readily cleanable. Is there some kind
of plastic finish paint or epoxy based paint or whatever that could be used
for this ? Spray paint of some description maybe ? Or a spray or hand
finished hard lacquer finish ? Or any other suggestions ? I'm open to ideas,
and have got a few weeks in hand to think about it.
I don't like MDF for this sort of use. It isn't good when wet and the
surface has residues of release agent that make paint finishes likely to
peel off, although there are primers sold specifically for MDF.
I've achieved good durable finishes on WBP plywood in the past by flow
coating with slow set epoxy then finishing with real yacht varnish - two
pack International Crystal polyurethane either sprayed or applied with a
It's also possible to get two pack polyurethane paint in a range of colours
including black. It's a good durable finish.
Hi Owain. Someone else mentioned Corian to me. I have now looked into this
material, and it seems that it *is* manufactured in sheets, and is able to
be worked with standard wood tools - that's saws, routers etc. So.
Questions. Have you ever worked with the stuff ? Any known good sources for
it in sheet form ? ( I drew a bit of a blank looking for a 'raw material'
supplier). And is it expensive ?
I haven't used it myself. But it seems a likely alternative to getting
something machined out of a solid block of something.
may be helpful. They mention that they can do small batches in bespoke
colours so might be willing to do small supplies.
Ah ... yes ! Some years back we owned a Victorian school building, and it
had a central hall with a lovely parquet floor that had been left to get
into a state of disrepair. I sanded that back, and then treated it with a
two part pre-mix resin 'lacquer' called Clarkes, I think it was. Came in a
gallon can and had a little plastic bottle of hardener with it. Like you are
suggesting, it dried to a very high gloss, and was, as you say,
indestructible. Time for a bit of research on this Rustin's Bar Top. Sounds
like similar stuff, and potentially, just the ticket. Thanks Andy, and to
the others so far that have also made useful suggestions. All appreciated
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