Plywood and MDF end grain for painting

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agrieco

anthony
Corporate Member
I'm looking for some experienced based advise on how best to treat end grain of either plywood or MDF when the end finish will be latex paint.

The project:
Book shelves- ply or mdf to be used for the shelves themselves. Shelve front to have an arc to them (large radius, gentle arc). Since its the shelf front that will be most exposed, I'm looking for something that will be reasonably durable.

I'm still in the design phases so materials are flexible. Painting is not- my better half's the boss on that bit for this project.

Personally, I've used joint compound on MDF edges for painted projects previously but am concerned about durability.

Anyone done this and happy with the results, or even better done it and weren't happy?

thanks!
anthony
 

CrealBilly

Jeff
Senior User
I'm looking for some experienced based advise on how best to treat end grain of either plywood or MDF when the end finish will be latex paint.

The project:
Book shelves- ply or mdf to be used for the shelves themselves. Shelve front to have an arc to them (large radius, gentle arc). Since its the shelf front that will be most exposed, I'm looking for something that will be reasonably durable.

I'm still in the design phases so materials are flexible. Painting is not- my better half's the boss on that bit for this project.

Personally, I've used joint compound on MDF edges for painted projects previously but am concerned about durability.

Anyone done this and happy with the results, or even better done it and weren't happy?

thanks!
anthony
Bondo seems to work well. They sell the cream colored hardener at BORGS just avoid red or blue hardener. Much easier to paint over cream color than pink or light blue.

it's natures way of telling you somethings wrong
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0V0Vu_utUZY
 

Michael Mathews

Michael
Corporate Member
Instead of leaving the end grain showing, why not add a strip of hardwood to cover the edge? If you use 3/4" ply, you can add a 1" high or even larger height strip to make the shelf look thicker. It adds strength and covers the end grain.
 

ehpoole

Administrator
Ethan
Almost any filler that is compatible with latex will work...bondo, spackling compound, wood putty, a coat or two of Poly, even several coats of latex to first seal and then sand smooth and repaint.

Just realize that if you are using water based latex paint then MDF can absorb finish like a sponge (much more so than solid wood) until it is sealed and any increase in moisture absorption along the edges (which are much more porous) can cause the edges to flair out, ruining your flat top unless you sand things smooth again. So you may wish to consider first sealing the edge with a compatible non-waterbased finish (perhaps a shellac) so as to prevent the edge from absorbing any unwanted moisture -- seal well, sand smooth, then paint. Non waterbased finishes do not have the same issue as the waterbased finishes, so they are an easy way to seal things to prevent excessive moisture absorption.
 

Jeff

New User
Jeff
Plywood is easier to work with and is more dimensionally stable for a book shelf (sagging of MDF under weight) even though the project will be painted.

Shelve front to have an arc to them (large radius, gentle arc).
Iron on edge banding will work nicely. Option #2: Thin wood strips (1/16"-1/8") for flexibility along the arc-glued and trimmed to width.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVUM12gjPFI

Paint away to your heart's content with approval from the boss. :wink_smil
 

agrieco

anthony
Corporate Member
Thank you all for your feedback. Based on this info, I'll plan on going with Plywood + edge banding. Will be a first for edge banding. An iron in the 'shop'....my wife will get a kick out of this!
 

Rwe2156

DrBob
Senior User
Good choice on the ply.

B4 you start, how long are the shelves and what are you putting on them?

If they are supporting much weight and are over 24" I recommend a rabbet and thick front strip like Michael said.
 

jazzflute

New User
Kevin
Thank you all for your feedback. Based on this info, I'll plan on going with Plywood + edge banding. Will be a first for edge banding. An iron in the 'shop'....my wife will get a kick out of this!
Well, that all depends. If it is your iron, she will get a kick out of it. However, if the iron is hers, then the kick will definitely be headed in the other direction.

p.s. Irons are cheap. And they don't cause you to limp.

K
 

ehpoole

Administrator
Ethan
Well, that all depends. If it is your iron, she will get a kick out of it. However, if the iron is hers, then the kick will definitely be headed in the other direction.

p.s. Irons are cheap. And they don't cause you to limp.

K
Indeed, even 15 years ago I only paid about $7 for a basic iron at Target so they don't set one back much since there is no need for any features beyond "it gets hot", especially as cheap as such things are these days. I often use mine for transferring toner, so you can imagine how that might play out if I got toner on the "good" clothes iron.
 
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