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Old 25th October 2005, 01:24 PM   #1
boogs is offline boogs  Canada
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Default Slightly OT: Finishing MDF - options?

I'm about to start building 4 sub boxes and have been wondering about finish options. The boxes will be about 18"x18"x24" and are part of our, "nearly finished" home theater. I was thinking either paint or veneer but i've also seen a sub cabinet covered in ceramic tile that looked really good (but must be a bear to move).

Any ideas? Pics would be great!!

Thanks, Scott
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Old 25th October 2005, 02:29 PM   #2
eLarson is offline eLarson  United States
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If you go the painted route, a way to get very smooth edges and faces is to use spackling compound to fill the pits. Sand it down after, then prime, sand again and you should be ready for paint.

Check out this month's American Woodworker for a few more details. Fine Woodworking also took on painted MDF a few issues back, but I'm not seeing the article yet on their website.
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Old 26th October 2005, 04:03 AM   #3
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i finished my home-made double advents with a very dark grey "granite" paint. it has a rough texture, almost black, with dark and light grey flecks in it. looks nice with a pure black grill cloth and the black and silver advent label on the front.

sm.
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Old 26th October 2005, 07:04 AM   #4
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I've got a couple of simple boxes (15"x18"x23"). I used a veneer in Tasmanian Oak (about the same colour as pine, maybe slightly redder but with a different grain). As the box is square with sharp edges, I veneered the sides and then sanded back the edges to show the darker backing wood. Later I might actually cut the edges entirely and putin some half-inch rounds of Jarrah instead.

But, I like the blonde wood as it is at the moment (and I have other things to do - heh heh!)
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Old 8th November 2005, 07:53 PM   #5
JBasham is offline JBasham  United States
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If you're going to paint, I usually roller on a coat of primer and a coat of base black, then spray on a finish coat of Krylon black textured spray-paint. This stuff has a subtle texture, like the slightly rough finish on black amp chassis and the like. It hides small imperfections, but you still need to start with a pretty nicely caulked & sanded MDF surface. If you go directly to spray paint as the first coat, you'll need a ton of spray paint to get good coverage.

I have trouble getting MDF boxes perfectly squared up for veneering. What I do instead sometimes is get 1/4" plywood with one face done in decent veneer (usually red oak; it's widely available for $12 a 4'x8' sheet). You can easily miter-cut panels of this stuff for the top and sides, glue it on, and finish it like veneer. The ply edges on the front are hidden by the grille, and the ones on the back don't show because they face the wall. Paint the back panel black before you glue on the plywood.

For grilles, I like 1/2" MDF cut out in the middle to make a frame, wrapped with black speaker cloth. Looks best if you round over the outside edges of the frame before you wrap the cloth on. Adhere the cloth to the inside of the frame with contact cement on the frame (then stretch the fabric over it). Use glue, velcro, or speaker grille guides to affix the grille to the front.
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Old 8th November 2005, 09:02 PM   #6
hooha is offline hooha  Canada
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If you like the idea/look of ceramic tiling, check out places like Home Depot or Rona for some of the specialty textured paints. Using these, you can make some very interesting patterns that resemble ceramic without a lot of muss and fuss...

Mark
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Old 9th November 2005, 01:26 PM   #7
boogs is offline boogs  Canada
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Thanks for all the replies!

I'm still trying to decide what would look best. I'm also concerned about filling some screw holes; i've tried wood filler but it's slowly started to work it's way out, ruining the finish on previous projects. Is there an easy way to fill screw holes?

Scott
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Old 9th November 2005, 03:22 PM   #8
eLarson is offline eLarson  United States
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spackle? (If you are painting over it, that is... it wouldn't suit under any kind of translucent finish.)
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Old 9th November 2005, 03:40 PM   #9
boogs is offline boogs  Canada
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Is spackle, drywall mud?
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Old 9th November 2005, 07:25 PM   #10
eLarson is offline eLarson  United States
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I think spackle is lighter duty than that, but I've never done any drywall taping.

DAP makes a cool product which goes on pink and turns white when fully dry. Sand it back flat and you are ready to prime.
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