I'm building a third set of bookshelves. The first I painted with flat
latex, which is almost impossible to clean. The second set I used gloss,
which look nice but the books still stick to them three years later.
This third set will be clear pine standards and MDO plywood shelves.
What is the best paint?
BAD hit the bull's-eye on the nose. I don't know of an oil-based
paint that will not eventually stick to your books/papers. An
epoxy-based paint might be ok. The one finish that will never ever
get sticky, even after a hunnert years, is shellac. Yup. Don't
bother with wax either. You can shellac right over the top of your
paint/varnish, provided it's not one of those ultra-hard conversion
varnishes/lacquers, which doesn't sound likely.
Miller paint AcriEnamel in high gloss. I just did some shelves. Let the
paint cure two weeks. Nothing sticks.
It is really, really, really, really hard to do a good job painting. The
wife think it is perfect. I just see all the flaws.
I've had excellent results with Benjamin-Moore Alkyd enamel. I use the
gloss stuff, usually apply 2 coats over primer and allow to cure for
at least 2 weeks before putting books on. I've never had a problem.
I painted my bookshelves a with a high-quality gloss paint. Then I
allowed the paint to cure for two months (I know it takes a month, but
I wanted to be sure). Then I waxed and buffed the shelves. No
sticking at all.
As you found out, don't use latex. It is designed to stay "soft" for
years, which makes it great for the outside of your house but not for
wear and/or contact surfaces. The stickiness that you refer to is
officially refered to as 'blocking.'
Either use a quality oil based enamel or a brushing lacquer to avoid
this situation. Both should really be allowed to cure a week or so
before adding books.
I have begun experimenting with Oxford/Target Coatings PSL (Premium
Spray Lacquer) which works well for a water based finish. Can't tell
you yet if it has the same type of blocking tendency as latex,
although it does seem to dry hard, and both the manufacturer and users
indicate it can be color sanded and buffed; just like a traditional
lacquer finish. Jeff Jewitt caries these through his Homestead
Finishing web site. The manufacturer also has web site and online
forums to answer questions. Unlike a lot of manufacturer sites, theirs
is pretty active, and they don't seem to be afraid of standing behind
their products and addressing their occasional shortcomings.
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