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Old 06-21-2013, 12:11 AM   #1
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Painting old veneer?


Hi all. My wife recently purchased an old desk from a thrift shop for $35. It was apparently a high quality desk in its day, as the darn thing weighs a ton and seems to be built like a tank. My guess is its from the 60's. It has that 50s/60s era look to it. Well, the top of it is some kind of old, thick veneer.

She wants me to paint the desk for her, so that it better matches her craft room. Right now the desk is still in original form. I can handle everything, except the veneer that covers the top of the desk. What method should I use to put a long lasting coat of paint on it?


Last edited by Bennylava; 06-21-2013 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 06-21-2013, 03:44 AM   #2
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Painting old veneer?


1 coat quality bonding primer(123), 2 coats quality semi gloss finish

Quality= a trip to a real paint store, not Home Depot

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Old 06-21-2013, 06:10 AM   #3
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Painting old veneer?


Agree. Just remember that acrylic semi-gloss takes 30 days or so to fully cure even though it dries to the touch in under an hour. Try not to put anything heavy on the desk until it has cured if you can get away with it. And paint store paint for sure for this. You will only need a quart unless doing multiple colors.

If there is a varnish on the desk now, you should scruff the surface with fine grit paper to improve your adhesion. You might need to clean areas that might have taken on oily fingerprints over the years as well with something like Krud Kutter.

Is the veneer failing or something? I realize you have a special concern about it. Is it wood or formica/laminate of some type? If it is a laminate, you might consider a melamine paint for the top. It was first introduced for painting laminates. It will self-level, usually to a high gloss and will really adhere nicely. Its drawback is that it chips easily. A highbond primer should work too.

Zinsser 123+ is a newer waterbased primer with stain blocker. If there is any chance of anything on the desktop bleeding through, you might give it a shot. Zinsser Cover Stain is the tried and proven solvent based alkyd primer.

Hope you are not painting a desk that would look spectacular stripped and refinished?

Last edited by user1007; 06-21-2013 at 06:16 AM.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:24 AM   #4
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Painting old veneer?


Hmm this seems more overwhelming than I fist anticipated. I am not sure exactly what type of veneer is on the top, but I do know that it seems to be thicker than the stuff they use these days. I will try to get some pictures up later to help.

So lets see what we've got so far. I've learned that I'm definitely going to be using primer, and I'm definitely going to be using acrylic based paint. And I'm going to Sherwin Williams to get it. Sound about right so far?

I was going to use alcohol to get all the oils off the top, and then sand it lightly with 220 grit on my dual action sander.
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Old 06-21-2013, 12:17 PM   #5
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Painting old veneer?


I am not sure alcohol would be my first choice for removing oils. If you use it, make sure you use denatured alcohol as rubbing alcohol has lanolin---an oil---in it. I would use Krud Kutter, as mentioned or even tsp if you are going to paint. Just be sure not to oversaturate the top if it is a wood veneer or you will have problems with the wood warping and checking from the moisture.

220 may be too fine for scruffing the surface for painting. I usually step to using it before the final coat of varnish when refinishing. I then use it again after the final coat and follow with 300 to 400 for high gloss.

I think you would do better with a light sanding with 120. You don't want to go much more coarse or you will start carving up the surface. 120 should provide plenty of surface for a nice bonding primer and certainly for melamine paint if you have to go that route.

If it is a laminate veneer, by the way, a plastic primer would be another possibility. Rustoleum makes a nice one in rattle cans and in liquid form.

Last edited by user1007; 06-21-2013 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 06-21-2013, 12:51 PM   #6
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Painting old veneer?


Ok so do I switch to the 220 after the primer? Or do I simply sand with 120, primer, then paint.

Also, would scrubbing the top of the desk with dawn dish soap get rid of the oils? Its a pretty decent degreaser IIRC. I have never heard of Krud Kutter, and the part about it potentially harming the desk kinda scares me off of it. Do they sell it at Wal-Mart or Lowes?
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Old 06-21-2013, 01:18 PM   #7
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Painting old veneer?


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Ok so do I switch to the 220 after the primer? Or do I simply sand with 120, primer, then paint.

Also, would scrubbing the top of the desk with dawn dish soap get rid of the oils? Its a pretty decent degreaser IIRC. I have never heard of Krud Kutter, and the part about it potentially harming the desk kinda scares me off of it. Do they sell it at Wal-Mart or Lowes?
SW should have Krud Kutter or something like it. They will have TSP or TSP substitute. I do not shop in box stores unless I have to for some strange reason so do not have a good idea of what brands they carry in paint prep supplies.

Just remember to work with a damp, not a soaking wet cloth on the veneer if you are not sure what it is. Ideally what you want is something to break up the oils and dirt without leaving a residue and dishwashing soap would not be a good choice IMO.

Unless you pick up dust as the primer coat dries, or you leave the surface primed but not painted for a time, you should not have to sand the primer before applying the semi-gloss. And if using latex/acrylic products you will not have the drying time you would with oil varnishes, etc.

Last edited by user1007; 06-21-2013 at 01:20 PM.
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:02 PM   #8
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Painting old veneer?


Ok now for last question. You suggested acrylic based paint for its hardness, right? Once its fully cured, it should be pretty durable? What is the most durable paint option out there? I ask because I'm also going to be painting my work bench in my shop. Being an automotive work bench, its going to have to take a beating.
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:05 PM   #9
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Painting old veneer?


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Ok now for last question. You suggested acrylic based paint for its hardness, right? Once its fully cured, it should be pretty durable? What is the most durable paint option out there? I ask because I'm also going to be painting my work bench in my shop. Being an automotive work bench, its going to have to take a beating.

A poly-ureyhane based paint.... hard to find though... at least around here.
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:49 PM   #10
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Painting old veneer?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bennylava
Ok now for last question. You suggested acrylic based paint for its hardness, right? Once its fully cured, it should be pretty durable? What is the most durable paint option out there? I ask because I'm also going to be painting my work bench in my shop. Being an automotive work bench, its going to have to take a beating.









I think there is a miss communication here maybe. Oil paint is "harder" than acrylic paint. Modern acrylics are great, and some of them get quite 'hard'. They are certainly flexible and resilient. But 'hard' like a furniture hard, is more like oil or lacquer.
Latex is durable more by being flexible. Oil modified acrylics are closer to a furniture type finish.
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Old 06-22-2013, 08:07 AM   #11
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Painting old veneer?


I don't think I said acrylics were harder but they tend not to yellow or otherwise discolor, or chalk over time like oils will. There are advantages for both.

For your workbench, you might consider a reinforced floor paint. Ben Moore's oil product is urethane reinforced and the waterbased is epoxy reinforced. There are also industrial and marine coatings that might be more durable.
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Old 06-22-2013, 08:54 AM   #12
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Painting old veneer?


Don't want to be a stickler or anything - but someone mentioned "rubbing alcohol contains lanolin"...

OK I'm north of the border and our laws may be a bit different - but the term 'rubbing alcohol' is quite specific, being a product of isopropanol and water either 70% or 99%. By law, there shouldn't be much in there apart from those two ingredients and a denaturant. That's the pint-bottle-for-99-cents stuff we all know about - some of which is used as a skin disinfectant. No lanolin required there...

Now some alcohol-containing products may contain lanolin if their intended use is for massages etc and it may therefore be called a "rubbing alcohol"- but by and large the generic term "rubbing alcohol" doesn't apply to that type of product, and thus stating that 'rubbing alcohol' contains lanolin is somewhat misleading.

Just FYI....
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Old 06-22-2013, 10:07 AM   #13
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Painting old veneer?


Personally I would get a couple rattlecans of whatever color you want and be done with it. It will be a lot more durable than anything water based.
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:49 AM   #14
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Painting old veneer?


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Personally I would get a couple rattlecans of whatever color you want and be done with it. It will be a lot more durable than anything water based.
Hugh?

Not that rattle cans might not be a alternative to painting the desk.
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Old 06-22-2013, 01:06 PM   #15
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Painting old veneer?


Wow. There is a lot more to paints than I thought.

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