Making painted desk tops durable

      Creating tough surfaces for office furniture. October 31, 2000

Currently I paint my built-in furniture with an oil-based paint to match existing trim in houses. I am receiving more and more requests for desk surfaces that stand up to everyday office/computer use. In short, I need to come up with a surface over my painted desk tops that is considerably harder than paint. Can I spray on lacquer, polyurethane, varnish or anything else that will not discolor my paint and give an adequate surface?

Forum Responses
If you have the appropriate spray setup and are familiar with spraying lacquers I would opt with the catalyzed conversion varnish. ML Campbells Resistant is a pigmented varnish that can be tinted to numerous colors and is tough as nails. That would be one of your best choices. Another alternative with less durability would be spraying a waterborne pigmented finish and then topcoating it with a waterborne clear.

I have suggested to most of my customers to cover the desk surface with 1/4" glass, which makes for a good writing surface. Especially with soft woods like mahogany. Most customers agree. Your glass store can take your top and get a good fit. Looks terific with beveled glass, but a little more pricey.

If I try waterborne paint and clear topcoat, would I encounter the "stickiness" associated with latex paint?

Use the waterborne approach. Try ML Campbells polystar. You will not get the stickiness that you get with a latex enamel and it is very durable when you apply the right amount of wet mil. It sands and looks just like solvent based products.

I would avoid placement of glass on a flat surface such as a desk. You could end up with another problem--liability.

On top of the painted surface you usually put plastic tabs so that the glass is not directly on the finished surfaces.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking: Residential Cabinetry

  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing: General Wood Finishing

  • KnowledgeBase: Furniture: Custom Furniture

  • KnowledgeBase: Woodworking Miscellaneous: Woodworking

  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2019 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article