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Sealing MDF Workbench Top

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Forum topic by Paulson posted 07-02-2019 06:31 PM 542 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Paulson

2 posts in 107 days


07-02-2019 06:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: mdf linseed oil shellac sealing workbench

Does MDF swell upon the application of boiled linseed oil? I’m sealing the top to a new work bench and will be using linseed oil on the base, so it would be easiest if I could simple use it on the entire thing. Another product I’ve seen recommended is Shellac, but for simplicity I would prefer an oil if it works.


14 replies so far

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

991 posts in 3300 days


#1 posted 07-02-2019 06:36 PM

I used shellac and it worked great.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5540 posts in 2858 days


#2 posted 07-02-2019 06:45 PM

Poly works well, can’t speak to BLO, as I haven’t used it on MDF.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Cincinnati2929's profile

Cincinnati2929

41 posts in 415 days


#3 posted 07-02-2019 07:16 PM

I’d go with either wax or thin coats of non-water based finish.

View SMP's profile

SMP

1391 posts in 413 days


#4 posted 07-02-2019 08:02 PM

Hmmm…if I have any scrap MDF I can try when I get home.

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Fred Hargis

5741 posts in 3000 days


#5 posted 07-02-2019 08:16 PM

BLO does not make it swell, I’ve used it a few times on MDF. But my favorite finish for it is a mixture of BLO, MS, and beeswax.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View tywalt's profile

tywalt

83 posts in 671 days


#6 posted 07-02-2019 09:23 PM

shellac and poly for me too. Never attempted BLO.

-- Tyler - Central TX

View Paulson's profile

Paulson

2 posts in 107 days


#7 posted 07-02-2019 09:43 PM

Thanks for the input! I’ll be doing test pieces this evening too, but wanted to make sure there was no longer term problems I should consider.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

3878 posts in 1081 days


#8 posted 07-02-2019 11:26 PM

BLO, MS, and Poly all in 3rds, dries rock hard, I’ve got a worktop in the garage I did right after we moved here 9 1/2 years ago, and it still looks like it did then. I like the poly, or possibly Fred’s wax for a coating that other stuff will not get a purchase on, glue mostly, but even other finishes wipe off with no smear. So it’s easy to keep clean. I dog holed that bench like an MFT, and the mix keeps the top edges of the MDF from flaking of with nothing more than a very light chamfer on them.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

2093 posts in 1111 days


#9 posted 07-03-2019 12:00 AM

Another option….FWIW I used water based Varathane floor finish. Very tough and very easy to apply.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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ScottM

742 posts in 2654 days


#10 posted 07-03-2019 03:21 PM

I had some old oil poly that I needed to get rid of. Thinned it down with some MS and poured it on and spread it. It will soak in and evaporate quickly. Let it dry and then sanded/smoothed it out between coats. 2 or 3 coats and it is holding up pretty good.

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OSU55

2402 posts in 2497 days


#11 posted 07-03-2019 06:10 PM

Would NOT use blo, take forever to dry and cure. Either poly thinned 1:1 or shellac. Poly will have better chemical resistance.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

3878 posts in 1081 days


#12 posted 07-05-2019 03:24 AM

I think you are thinking of raw Linseed oil, which can take a week to dry the first coat. BLO drys to recoat in 15 minutes at 65*. Dries done in 24 hours after 3 to 4 coats.

-- Think safe, be safe

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2402 posts in 2497 days


#13 posted 07-05-2019 11:42 AM


I think you are thinking of raw Linseed oil, which can take a week to dry the first coat. BLO drys to recoat in 15 minutes at 65*. Dries done in 24 hours after 3 to 4 coats.

- therealSteveN


No, blo. You must use very thin coats. Takes several days to dry if allowed to penetrate which is where the benefit comes from. Thats why I use thinned poly – dries faster, harder, more chemical resistant. Adding japan drier to blo helps but still an inferior treatment.

View BattleRidge's profile

BattleRidge

117 posts in 723 days


#14 posted 07-06-2019 02:47 AM

I haven’t been a big fan of MDF and chose two sheets of 3/4” plywood (screwed / not glued) together for my combination workbench, assembly sable and outfeed area with a sheet of hardboard affixed by double sided tape for a work surface. The hardboard provides a stable surface, smooth and is easy to replace once worn or damaged.

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