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  • Staining MDF

    Gill and I have been chatting about techniques to finish MDF. Gill uses two coats of sealer on the cut edges (sanding inbetween) before painting. Has anyone else used stain to finish MDF? This photo shows a stained version of the fruit & flowers project in the current issue. Light oak stain was used. I quite like the effect, but it has to be a light-coloured MDF, the stain does not show off too well on the darker coloured variety. Unfortunately light-coloured 1/4" MDF is very scarce on this side of the pond.
    Attached Files
    Sue Mey
    Website: www.scrollsawartist.com

  • #2
    Just to clarify the conversation I've been having with Sue, when I paint MDF I apply two coats of an acrylic undercoat/primer which I buy from Wickes, one of the DIY sheds in the UK. I haven't seen this stuff available anywhere else but, reading a recent post by Neal Moore, I suspect it might be similar to artists' gesso. Anyway, I've got gallons of the stuff so I'm not hunting out an alternative right now !

    The first coat raises any fibres that have been exposed during the preparatory sanding, so I give each segment a quick sanding with a medium grade of abrasive paper to knock them back, followed by a second coat of primer/undercoat. Then I apply paint, normally artists acrylic but I also use enamels and aerosol spray paints depending on the finish I'm trying to achieve. If I'm using acrylics, two coats are normally required and the whole piece is sprayed with an acrylic aerosol lacquer once it's been assembled.

    I love the effect Sue's managed to achieve with her stains but I've never tried stains myself on MDF.

    Gill
    There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
    (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)

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    • #3
      Sues effect looks like leather or a terra cotta glaze. I like that.

      Gill, that technique sounds great. I had a crazy thought this morning while scanning a book.
      I need to do a backsplash for my kitchen. I was thinking of using MDF tiles and completely sealing them before I attach them to the wall.

      While I understand that MDF and water do not care for each other, if the tile is completely sealed I think it should work.

      I would love to try staining some and seeing what results I get.
      The thought was to inlay leaves into the square tiles and stain each leaf a different color.
      CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
      "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
      Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21

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      • #4
        You can get water resistant MDF, Carl, but it's pricey and it's black.

        Gill
        There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
        (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)

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        • #5
          Sue, that does give an interesting effect to the MDF.

          Sue and Gill, I would imagine that you would have to any bridges a bit thicker than with ply or they will break off, am I correct?

          Carl, I would be careful using MDF around the kitchen sink. Unless the MDF is sealed until it is almost petrified or you don't splash any water onto the backplash, it is going to wick up water and swell. I put MDF crown molding up in a bathroom and it was primed and painted with high quality pant and it still absorbed enough moisture to cause it to swell.
          Bill

          I have an RBI Hawk 220-3 VS

          Visit my Gallery
          and website www.billswoodntreasures.com

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          • #6
            Hi Bill

            I use MDF extensively for my segmentation projects but if I was cutting portraits I'd probably choose either plywood or a close grained hardwood. MDF doesn't really have the structural integrity to lend itself to the finest work. Unless you're careful, the MDF can separate like layers of thick cardboard. Cutting the bow tie in my last segmentation project was a pretty tense affair. Furthermore, if you look at the male dancer's left arm, you'll see that there's actually a bridge which connects it to his abdomen, thus proving that you can get away with blue murder once in a while .

            Once you've got paint on the fragile areas of the MDF, it does stiffen up; and gluing it to adjoining segments and backer board helps reinforce it wonderfully!

            Gill
            There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
            (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)

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            • #7
              Hi Gill

              That segmentation project is wonderful. I can see that MDF can look very good in some type of projects, especially when it is painted. I know that it sands very well. I do use a lot of MDF in remodeling projects, mostly for window cases and sills. It gives a very smooth surface for painting and if I need to round over edges with a router, it will sand smooth and blend in with the flat surface very well. So I do use a lot of MDF but I have never used it for fine detail work.
              Bill

              I have an RBI Hawk 220-3 VS

              Visit my Gallery
              and website www.billswoodntreasures.com

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              • #8
                Mdf

                Well, after chatting to Gill this morning I decided to use my 'peeping kitty' pattern to make a box/bin. As you can see some cuts are fairly detailed and I achieved a nice, clean cut edge. Now I just need to find some undercoat - would like to paint the project. Maybe I'll use spray paint...
                Last edited by meydenhart; 01-20-2007, 03:47 PM.
                Sue Mey
                Website: www.scrollsawartist.com

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                • #9
                  I love that pattern, Sue.
                  Ian

                  Scrolling with a Dewalt 788

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                  • #10
                    Sue, that is a beautiful pattern on the box. I have always found that spray painting MDF is must better than brush painting. I would put a primer coat on first and then the final coats. Be sure and show us the fininshed product.
                    Bill

                    I have an RBI Hawk 220-3 VS

                    Visit my Gallery
                    and website www.billswoodntreasures.com

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                    • #11
                      It's a smashing project, Sue, and I hope you manage to achieve a nice finish. I can't wait to see the outcome.



                      Gill
                      There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
                      (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)

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                      • #12
                        With a few coats of cream spray paint...
                        Last edited by meydenhart; 01-20-2007, 03:48 PM.
                        Sue Mey
                        Website: www.scrollsawartist.com

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                        • #13
                          That is so good, it makes me wonder whether anybody has gone all the way and attempted "trompe l'oeil" with scrolling - where you make a picture so realistic that people think it's real.

                          Chris
                          "If you march your Winter Journeys you will have your reward, so long as all you want is a penguin's egg."

                          Saws: AWSF18, Meccano Mk II

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                          • #14
                            That looks really good.
                            Diane
                            Dragon
                            Owner of a nice 21" Excalibur
                            Owner of a Dewalt 788
                            PuffityDragon on AFSP

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                            • #15
                              It certainly does look good, Sue . You managed to get the spray paint into all the nooks and crannies successfully? How did you prepare the project before spraying the top coat?

                              Gill
                              There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
                              (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)

                              Comment

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