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Hard smooth finish for desk top?

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Forum topic by Bob Sundquist posted 07-27-2021 06:13 PM 413 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Bob Sundquist

12 posts in 163 days


07-27-2021 06:13 PM

I want to make a desk for my granddaughter, similar to the one I made for her big brother 2 years ago:

I want the surface of the desk to be a good writing surface: smooth, hard, and durable. What recommendations do you have for finishing to get such a surface?


8 replies so far

View LesB's profile

LesB

3060 posts in 4655 days


#1 posted 07-27-2021 06:59 PM

Many years ago I made desks for my kids and I used a linoleum top that I bought at a flooring store. It is a durable waterproof surface that makes a great writing surface, much like leather top desks.

Other wise I would use a floor grade water based polyurethane on the wood. Floor grade has more solids and is much more durable than the regular poly. I have used it on table tops and stairs with good success.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26637 posts in 4317 days


#2 posted 07-27-2021 07:05 PM

I like Oil based poly wiped on. Seal it with shellac and then put about 3 coats of wiped on poly…sanding with 320 or 0000 steel wool between coats.

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View SMP's profile

SMP

4712 posts in 1117 days


#3 posted 07-27-2021 08:25 PM

personally i find that it looks and performs best to get a good writing pad. i usually just get them on Amazon

View Andre's profile

Andre

4679 posts in 3018 days


#4 posted 07-27-2021 11:37 PM

On a make up table years ago, I had a piece of glass cut to cover the top?

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Bob Sundquist's profile

Bob Sundquist

12 posts in 163 days


#5 posted 08-19-2021 07:20 PM



I like Oil based poly wiped on. Seal it with shellac and then put about 3 coats of wiped on poly…sanding with 320 or 0000 steel wool between coats.

Cheers, Jim

- Jim Jakosh


Multiple coats of shellac or just 1 coat followed by polyurethane?

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

7792 posts in 2599 days


#6 posted 08-19-2021 10:16 PM

Personally, I would skip the shellac and just stick with the poly. I don’t really see any advantage to sticking a different finish in between layers of poly.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

8632 posts in 1786 days


#7 posted 08-19-2021 10:38 PM

The only reason I would use the Shellac coat is I know that Poly will yellow the end result on many lighter woods. I love the look of Garnet Shellac, and I use it sometimes to color lighter woods, then protect that single coat with the durability of Poly.

I don’t have enough personal use with the water based poly to know if it will yellow as much, so I must say that the poly I do have use with is oil based, and I haven’t noted a huge range of difference between brands of oil based poly to say one over the other. However for an all in one solution of ease to use, and great protection I dearly love General finishes Arm r Seal. Scroll down to get prep, and application how to info.

Applied like Jim suggested with 3 wipe on coats, and knocking off the nibs with a light sanding with 400 grit between coats will give a surface durable, and smooth enough to write on. Plus it’s easy to do applied as a rub on. Kinda spendy versus straight up poly, but worth every cent IMHO.

I like Oil based poly wiped on. Seal it with shellac and then put about 3 coats of wiped on poly…sanding with 320 or 0000 steel wool between coats.

Cheers, Jim

- Jim Jakosh

Multiple coats of shellac or just 1 coat followed by polyurethane?

- Bob Sundquist

You could get other answers, but for me it’s usually only over a single coat of Garnet Shellac, which I use for the reddish color it imparts. Either clear Shellac or Oil based poly will impart a yellowish cast, so going more than one coat of Shellac doesn’t have a good purpose for me if I were to use it on light colored woods, so in truth I would do as Nathan suggests and pass on the Shellac if I just wanted an amber tone, and go straight for the poly.

-- Think safe, be safe

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

8632 posts in 1786 days


#8 posted 08-19-2021 10:41 PM



personally i find that it looks and performs best to get a good writing pad. i usually just get them on Amazon

- SMP

I agree for the writing area, this is a great look. Something about wood and leather. Seeing as how it is a constant contact piece of furniture, that is going to see lots of touching, sitting, and probably exposure to food and drink I would still do a poly coating of the piece, even if I added a writing pad.

-- Think safe, be safe

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