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Poly on nightstand: apply to just tabletop or entire piece?

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Forum topic by RedWoodworker posted 04-06-2018 02:19 PM 902 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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RedWoodworker

34 posts in 605 days


04-06-2018 02:19 PM

Hello all,

I just finished painting my latest project, a nightstand/side table. This is the first time I have ever used paint, so I’m hoping to get some advice on how much of the table I should protect with Poly.

The paint is latex (satin), and I plan to use polycrylic (though I’m open to other suggestions).

Should I coat the entire table in poly, or just the table top? The top is the portion that will get the most wear and tear, so I was initially planning on doing just that.

If I just do the top, should I coat the rest in paste wax? Similarly, should I coat any portion I cover in poly in paste wax?

Any suggestions or info would be greatly appreciated

Here is a photograph of the nightstand taken from Steve Ramsey’s site. Mine is identical, except, of course, much worse quality :)

Thanks everyone!


20 replies so far

View PPK's profile

PPK

1433 posts in 1228 days


#1 posted 04-06-2018 02:22 PM

When we painted things in the cabinet shop, we’d always cover them with lacquer. In your case, poly :-)
I suggest the whole thing, not just the top. Two reasons: 1) more protection 2) the poly has a slight hue to it, and I think it’d be pretty noticeable that there’s two different finishing methods on the piece. My 2 cents!

-- Pete

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ArtMann

1396 posts in 1235 days


#2 posted 04-06-2018 02:24 PM

Why use polyurethane at all? It won’t be more durable than good paint.

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RedWoodworker

34 posts in 605 days


#3 posted 04-06-2018 02:31 PM



When we painted things in the cabinet shop, we d always cover them with lacquer. In your case, poly :-)
I suggest the whole thing, not just the top. Two reasons: 1) more protection 2) the poly has a slight hue to it, and I think it d be pretty noticeable that there s two different finishing methods on the piece. My 2 cents!

- PPK

That makes a lot of sense, thanks. What’s the difference between Lacquer and poly? Any reason why you used lacquer instead of poly?

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RedWoodworker

34 posts in 605 days


#4 posted 04-06-2018 02:32 PM



Why use polyurethane at all? It won t be more durable than good paint.

- ArtMann

I thought it was common practice to apply a coating over paint, but maybe not?

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PPK

1433 posts in 1228 days


#5 posted 04-06-2018 02:44 PM


That makes a lot of sense, thanks. What s the difference between Lacquer and poly? Any reason why you used lacquer instead of poly?

- RedWoodworker

The chemical makeup is different. Poly cures by a chemical reaction with the air. It’s generally a little more tough, and more water resistant. Lacquer cures by the solvent evaporating. It’s (in my opinion) easier to apply. Both types of finishes have a lot of different types and variations and qualities. But sticking to the plain old Minwax Poly that you can buy from the big box stores is just fine. It’s a good product.

-- Pete

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patcollins

1687 posts in 3284 days


#6 posted 04-06-2018 03:09 PM

Some plastic/rubber items actually bond with paint when sat on them no matter how long the paint has dried/cured. This is called blocking.

I can see an alarm clock sticking to t he painted top if it does not have polycyilic over it.

View WyattCo's profile

WyattCo

93 posts in 523 days


#7 posted 04-06-2018 03:12 PM

Latex paint is soft even after full cure. It has always been a complaint on book shelves and the like where items with any significant weight sit, and sink into the paint, leaving an impression. On a night stand, a lamp, alarm clock, whatever, will leave impressions.

In your situation with the night stand, I do feel a top coating is recommended. If you’re going to use poly, use water based as it’s crystal clear and you can get the sheen to match your paint without effecting the color.

I typically use automotive carnauba wax (7 to 12 coats). It’s gets very, very hard and is easy to repair.

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

1243 posts in 2414 days


#8 posted 04-06-2018 04:22 PM


That makes a lot of sense, thanks. What s the difference between Lacquer and poly? Any reason why you used lacquer instead of poly?

- RedWoodworker

The chemical makeup is different. Poly cures by a chemical reaction with the air. It s generally a little more tough, and more water resistant. Lacquer cures by the solvent evaporating. It s (in my opinion) easier to apply. Both types of finishes have a lot of different types and variations and qualities. But sticking to the plain old Minwax Poly that you can buy from the big box stores is just fine. It s a good product.

- PPK

From a production standpoint, lacquer dries MUCH faster to a point where it can be recreated or handled. So you see it over poly a lot in production shops.

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

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TheFridge

10858 posts in 1905 days


#9 posted 04-06-2018 04:32 PM

If you put finish in just the top you may have issues with it potato chipping. Unless you use alder.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1396 posts in 1235 days


#10 posted 04-06-2018 04:57 PM

It isn’t common with me and i don’t know anyone else who does it. I have heard of the practice but never understood why. If you need a hard durable surface, choose your paint carefully. That is what commercial furniture makers do. Latex is not the best choice as already mentioned but it will dry hard after a while.

Why use polyurethane at all? It won t be more durable than good paint.

- ArtMann

I thought it was common practice to apply a coating over paint, but maybe not?

- RedWoodworker


View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1417 posts in 3268 days


#11 posted 04-06-2018 08:07 PM

These pedestal tables are in an open reception area of our church, they get moved all over for all sorts of tasks, and are often used as seats themselves. I used a smooth roller with a latex paint over primer. Last step was three sprayed coats of Minwax polycrylic. 4 years later the finish is still holding up well even over the MDF edges

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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RedWoodworker

34 posts in 605 days


#12 posted 04-07-2018 03:15 PM

Thanks everyone very much for the advice. I really appreciate it. I’m going to go with the polycrylic.

One last question: do I need to sand the paint before applying the poly?

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ChefHDAN

1417 posts in 3268 days


#13 posted 04-09-2018 02:44 PM

Depends on how well you lay down the paint. If I get a good finish with the paint, I’ll lightly hit it with 320 or 400. If I get some runs or bigger goofs, I use a razor blade like a scraper and then blend it out with 120, up to 320.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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RedWoodworker

34 posts in 605 days


#14 posted 04-09-2018 03:21 PM

Thanks!

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Andybb

1932 posts in 1022 days


#15 posted 04-09-2018 03:52 PM

Here is a photograph of the nightstand taken from Steve Ramsey s site. Mine is identical, except, of course, much worse quality :)

Thanks everyone!

- RedWoodworker

Let’s see a picture of yours! :-)

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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