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Paint MDF on workbench surfaces?

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Forum topic by knexster posted 04-13-2020 04:23 AM 220 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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knexster

63 posts in 2018 days


04-13-2020 04:23 AM

I’m building a router table that uses MDF for the fence, including sliding fence faces. I’ve been toying with the idea of painting the MDF a nice orange color, but I’m not sure if there’s a way to do this without it eventually rubbing off and ending up on workpiece surfaces.
I was thinking I’ll spray paint the orange and add a few coats glossy sealer, maybe something like this https://www.lowes.com/pd/Krylon-Triple-Thick-Crystal-Clear-High-gloss-Crystal-Clear-Glaze-Spray-Paint-Actual-Net-Contents-11-oz/1000399289?cm_mmc=shp-_-c-_-prd-_-pnt-_-google-_-lia-_-219-_-spraypaint-_-1000399289-_-0&store_code=643&placeholder=null&gclsrc=aw.ds&&gclid=Cj0KCQjw-Mr0BRDyARIsAKEFbeeygEUZeNbDRkZCQVoEkaDLgZCUFk609GpQkBUq1v0c6ycWi_jkxGAaAua2EALw_wcB

Any thoughts? I will be greatly appreciative of any tips/answers. This project is way out of my league, but has also been a tremendous learning experience.

-- Don't think outside the box. Think as if there is no box at all.


4 replies so far

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Walker

347 posts in 1207 days


#1 posted 04-13-2020 05:04 AM

For a router table/fence you’d be better off adding laminate sheet to your mdf. Smooth, flat, and relatively low coefficient of friction.

If you go with paint, don’t use anything water based as it could cause the mdf to swell, bubble, warp, etc. It’ll also make it fuzzy, which you’ll never be able to sand down. I’d also be concerned about the final surface being smooth and flat. Choose something you can sand. I did a cheap/quick router table top of mdf I finished with 8 coats of shellac, sanding with #0000 steel wool between every coat. The result was really good, but not as good as laminate.

-- ~Walker

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knexster

63 posts in 2018 days


#2 posted 04-13-2020 05:44 AM



For a router table/fence you d be better off adding laminate sheet to your mdf. Smooth, flat, and relatively low coefficient of friction.

If you go with paint, don t use anything water based as it could cause the mdf to swell, bubble, warp, etc. It ll also make it fuzzy, which you ll never be able to sand down. I d also be concerned about the final surface being smooth and flat. Choose something you can sand. I did a cheap/quick router table top of mdf I finished with 8 coats of shellac, sanding with #0000 steel wool between every coat. The result was really good, but not as good as laminate.

- Walker

I forgot to mention, I’m using laminate for the surface of the top. The only pieces with paint that would contact a work surface are the fence wings.
Thank you for the tips on the painting process itself, I will use non water based paint and see how that turns out! Worse comes to worse, I get paint on my workpiece and I just make new fence wings.

-- Don't think outside the box. Think as if there is no box at all.

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CaptainKlutz

3013 posts in 2229 days


#3 posted 04-13-2020 02:17 PM

+1 laminate. Most durable, and least friction.

+1 Shellac. Easy to apply, easy to sand/fix later.

- You want the MDF to be sealed! Drops of sweat on end grain can cause swelling and raised spot on fence/top.

- The surfaces are going to get scratch over time, doesn’t matter what is on top.

- If you want color, try adding orange dye to shellac. If/when it does rub off onto project wood, much less noticeable than heavy pigmented paint?

Last but not least, Wax the top and fence often. Reduces friction, reduces paint transfer, or reduces scratches on your laminate surfaces. :-)

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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mramseyISU

594 posts in 2280 days


#4 posted 04-13-2020 02:25 PM

I normally use rattlecan poly to finish jigs and fixtures I make with MDF. I hit it with 2 coats and normally sand it with 220 grit between coats.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

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