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.


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.

  • 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
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    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

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