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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Finishing a desktop - Melamine, Topcoat?

Hi all,

A few questions, as I come close to finishing my first desktop!

I have a big, birch-veneered, old door that I'm turning into a desktop.

I've applied a nice wood stain to the faces of the door and I'm ready to wrap it up and throw it on the frame.

Questions:
-I got pre-glued melamine edgebanding. Can/should I apply clear topcoat over it?

-How should I finish the corners of the desk? Just run the edgebanding to the end and try to cut it so the cuts line up? Is there any more effective way?

-To that end, the corners aren't perfect. Some are a little rubbed down from handling the specimen, not perfectly vertical, etc... how do I account for this?

-I feel like I should soften the corners a little, so they don't cut through someone if they bump into it. Any suggestions how to do that?

THANKS!
 

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I could be wrong but I don't think any clear coating would adhere well to melamine. If that is the type of material you want on the edge I would cover it with a formica type laminate and just put your finish on the birch top.
 

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Questions:
-I got pre-glued melamine edgebanding. Can/should I apply clear topcoat over it?
If you already have the edging, it needs no topcoating.

-How should I finish the corners of the desk? Just run the edgebanding to the end and try to cut it so the cuts line up? Is there any more effective way?
Apply the sides with sections with a slight overhang. File off flush to the long edges. Then apply the long edges and file off to the sides.

-To that end, the corners aren't perfect. Some are a little rubbed down from handling the specimen, not perfectly vertical, etc... how do I account for this?
You could try block sanding flat before gluing the edging.

-I feel like I should soften the corners a little, so they don't cut through someone if they bump into it. Any suggestions how to do that?

THANKS!
Once the edging is done, the sharp edge can be eased with a file. Or, before gluing the edging you could cut the corner off at a 45, and have a short edge there. At least it's not a sharp 90 degree.

If you have a wood top, you can buy preglued (hotmelt) real wood edging to match the top if you please.






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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
If you already have the edging, it needs no topcoating.
I assume applying topcoat, then edgebanding is the order I want to do it?

If so, wouldn't a layer of topcoat on the table lead the edgebanding to not sit flush with the top of the table?

I ordered edgebanding to the precise width of the tabletop wood. I'm beginning to think that might have been a mistake. :censored:

Once the edging is done, the sharp edge can be eased with a file.
Wouldn't that file through the melamine edgebanding?
 

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I assume applying topcoat, then edgebanding is the order I want to do it?

If so, wouldn't a layer of topcoat on the table lead the edgebanding to not sit flush with the top of the table?

I ordered edgebanding to the precise width of the tabletop wood. I'm beginning to think that might have been a mistake. :censored:



Wouldn't that file through the melamine edgebanding?
There are many types of iron on edgebanding. If it's Melamine, or a type of PVC, it will be paper thin. Yes, easing the corners will perforate the thickness of the banding. If it was a Formica type HPL (high pressure laminate), it would have a backing, which is a resin coated Kraft paper, and the face is the color. Filing that combination would leave the color of the backing. Could be black, or brown. The thickness of that material could be 1/40", 1/32", or 1/16".

There is a high pressure laminate that has the color all the way through...called "Color Core", from Formica Corporation. You could file that and still see the color. Or, if the edge shows through on other banding, just use a small artists brush and some paint. You could go to a hobby shop and buy a very tiny bottle of Testors paint, in the color you want. It dries fast.






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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Bump on this.

Can I apply the topcoat well by hand?

Also, which should I go with? Minwax Polyurethane or Polycrylic (water-based)?

With those in mind, any idea about the order which I should I apply everything? :)

Thanks for the help so far!
 

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Bump on this.

Can I apply the topcoat well by hand?

Also, which should I go with? Minwax Polyurethane or Polycrylic (water-based)?

With those in mind, any idea about the order which I should I apply everything? :)

Thanks for the help so far!
I would first use a block sander and flatten out the edges all the way to the corners. This should make them more square, and the edge banding should fit better.

Apply the edge banding. If it is proud of the top, file it down with a mill file. Use the mill file to file off the overlap at the corners.

For a hand application, I would use an oil base polyurethane for the top, and wipe it on with a lint free rag, folded into a neat pad.







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