Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've made a recording desk out of 18mm MDF. What type of stain and varnish would you recommend and would it need a sealer coat applying first.

All advice appreciated.

share|improve this question

I really like using a sealing primer like Bin's Bulls Eye. this is a pigmated shellac based primer that can be sanded smooth as glass. It cures very hard, blocks any stains well and is an excellent base for topcoats. For a top coat, you can use a couple of coats of good grade latex gloss or semi gloss (personal preference). If you want a really hard protective finish, let the latex paint cure for a couple of days and overcoat it with several coats of WATER based urethane.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the advice Shirlock. I've done a little research in forums, which suggest MDF dosen't like spirit or water based stains, which leaves the oil based stain. The spirit stain i tried came out looking very patchy, not flattering at all for the desk i've made. So i'll check out the oil based stain next. Thanks again Shirlock. – Steve Dec 11 '11 at 18:09
I misunderstood the question, my bad, I didn't realize you wanted to do a wood satin. MDF is a very hard composite made of wood fibers and resin, not wood veneer. It will not stain well, ever! It is made to be painted, not stained. – shirlock homes Dec 11 '11 at 23:37
Ok Shirlock I hear you, and thanks again. Looks like paint it is. – Steve Dec 12 '11 at 18:59

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.