Suggestions on finishing a Desk - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 07-12-2008, 06:57 AM Thread Starter
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Suggestions on finishing a Desk

I'm currently building a desk and am unsure on how I should finish it. The desk is made of Oak and Oak plywood. The desk will get daily usage and have various equipment on it (LCD monitors, keyboards, laptops, coffee cups, etc...)

I want to spray on a finish in order to get a nice flat surface on the desk. I had been thinking of using a lacquer but after reading through numerous posts on this forum I'm no longer convinced if that is the best choice and if a poly or varnish would be better. What are others thoughts on finishing a desk?
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post #2 of 8 Old 07-12-2008, 09:59 AM
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Poly is a varnish,made with an alkd resin and a small amount of polyurethane resin added. It isn't necessary to spray to get a good finish. What do you want this piece to look like / colored - sheen ?. More info would be useful. Personally I would never use polyurethane varnish on furniture.

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post #3 of 8 Old 07-12-2008, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the information Jerry. I'm looking to leave the Oak natural. If the finish yellows some over time, that is fine. I would like a nice sheen, but not a thick gloss coating. As I will be working at this desk every day, I want a finish that can withstand this type of use.
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post #4 of 8 Old 07-12-2008, 08:38 PM
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I, personally, would use a poly - satin type. the poly will stand up to the everyday abuse. Here's some images of a small tv stand i made for a gal. it's oak ply and solid oak trim. It wasn't topcoated in poly though. I used 5 coats of general finishes arm-r-seal. it's a wiping varnish that is easy to apply and looks good. i dyed the oak with transtint dye.
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post #5 of 8 Old 07-13-2008, 06:24 AM
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Some like oil base polyurethane on furniture, some don't. It can be wiped on by making a thinned mix with mineral spirits, or naptha (for a faster dry). The first coat or two use a 50% ratio and it will penetrate well. Final coats can be reduced to 25% and apply as many coats until you get the finish you like.

The same could be done with an interior oilbase varnish.

Another choice would be a water based polyurethane. Some are sold suitable for wood flooring and wood basketball courts. Others can be catalyzed to become cross linked for durability. Check at HD for a product like Parks Pro Finisher.






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post #6 of 8 Old 07-13-2008, 12:21 PM
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Armor seal is a varnish made with polyurethane resin(up to 25%) soya oil, 40-60% mineral spirits and some metallic dryers. Polyurethane varnish has one claim to fame it is a little more wear resistant that alkd varnish. It is less clear,harder to repair,and if exposed to sunlight deteriorates very quickly. If I were finishing this desk I would use Waterlox original varnish(gloss or satin). This varnish is made with a phenolic resin and tung oil.

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Jerry
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-30-2008, 05:55 PM
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I am a newbie here so have not read the reason that some do not like lacquer. That said, I have used nothing but lacquer for over 20 years. I think it gives an excellent look and feel to the furniture. One very significant point for me is that if you do have an accident and need to make a repair I feel that lacquer is the easiest.

George
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-31-2008, 03:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
I am a newbie here so have not read the reason that some do not like lacquer. That said, I have used nothing but lacquer for over 20 years. I think it gives an excellent look and feel to the furniture. One very significant point for me is that if you do have an accident and need to make a repair I feel that lacquer is the easiest.

George

Like you, lacquer was my primary finish for many years. I will say it is an excellent finish. We may be seeing a demise in the availability of lacquers. I switched to other finishes that work a lot like lacquer, mainly waterbased polyurethane, as I've stated.

I've also used with good luck post catalyzed (add catalyst before spraying) conversion varnish. This finish is widely used in production kitchen cabinets and office furniture.

Another product that can have a flattener added to reduce gloss is polyester lacquer.






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