Paint & varnish finish advice.

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Wood Hacker's picture
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Joined: 2013-03-17 15:02
Paint & varnish finish advice.
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I've just finished building my first project and am all ready to crack open the paint, varnish and stain but before I start I was just looking for a bit of guidance.

The project is a chunky, free standing kitchen workstation, approx 1000 x 600mm, that I built for my baking-mad other half. The idea is she can have her enormous mixer, cook books, utensils, etc all stored in one place, along with a few other bits and pieces.
The whole thing is made of whitewood (softwood) and has a big chunky butchers block type top, made from random lengths of the wood cut and then glued back together to create a work surface.

Our thoughts are to stain and mat varnish the top to show off the grain and the fact it's made of lots of different pieces. It won't be used as an actual butchers block but needs to withstand spills, etc hence the varnish coating.
The frame will be painted with emulsion (latex) paint, possibly distressed, and maybe given a coat of matt varnish for extra protection.

So far I have sanded it all down and my thoughts are:
1, A coat of sanding sealer all over and a rub down with 320 grit paper.
2, A few coats of a medium stain and a couple of coats of matt varnish on the top, rubbing down between coats.
3, A few coats of a matt paint (colour to be decided) and possibly a couple of coats of matt varnish to add extra protection, again rubbing down between each coat if needed.

Sorry to waffle but this is a gift to my other half and my first project so the pressure is on not to spoil it with the finish.
Any advice welcome.

itsChanelle's picture
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Joined: 2013-04-02 13:54
I got an account specifically

I got an account specifically to respond to you!

If you are going to paint the frame you need to apply a good wood blocking primer, like Kilz or (my favorite) BIN oil based. You can use an oil based primer under a water based paint. You do not need to use a sanding sealer on the frame. You also do not need to varnish it if you are using a high quality paint and are allowing it 3-4 weeks to harden before "heavy" use.

For the top, I would really discourage using a varnish. The reason is the kitchen is a heavy use area, and even if you arent planning on using it as a butcher block, things are most likely going to be moved all over the top. I have something of this sort in my kitchen (also painted with a wood top) and I can say that it would be scratched by now if we had varnished it. Id suggest using a finishing paste wax (Minwax makes a good one). Youll have to touch it up every now and then but itll give it that pretty look you are going for without the wear concern.

I hope this helps! Good luck!

Wood Hacker's picture
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Joined: 2013-03-17 15:02
That really helps and thanks

That really helps and thanks for going to the trouble of setting up the account just to answer my wafflings!
I still haven't got round to finishing the island (clearing the house ready for a move) and have been doing some more research online and your comments about finishing the top confirm what I'd found out.
I'll be looking out for some finishing paste now to finish the top and now she has decided she wants the shelves finishing the same, not good as I've already fixed them in place but its a present so it has to be done!

Once again, thank you for the advice, hopefully I'll finally get round to finishing it very soon.