New Radio Desk Wood Coating
I am making my new radio operating desk out of ½ finished plywood sitting in two file cabinets permanently supported and attached to the wall. I have painted the plywood with about 4 coats of flat black premium quality paint. I asked the guy at the paint store what should I seal the plywood with to ensure a water proof seal, so if I should set a cold glass of pop on it, that it would not leave a ring and would be a easy clean up from dirty arms leaning on the desk top. ( He said Minwax Polycrylic would be the thing to use ) use at least 3 to 4 coats. The paint and Polycrylic are water based products.
So does he know what he is talking about.? Or should I coat it with something else?
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I've used Minwax polyurethane stains and finishes on tack trunks (to hold horse-related equipment) and they hold up very well. You won't believe what gets splashed on them. Some people also stand on them to mount the horse. While they're very durable, they're not indestructible. The sharp corner of a radio chassis could scratch them.
Follow the instructions carefully for preparing the bare surface and for between coatings.
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A layer of thin transparent plastic (Plexiglas etc) works well and you can put paper notes under it. Might be a bit expensive. Or thin glass. Check with a glass store for both.
I also make benches with file cabinet end supports, works great, and very practical.
Kitchen counter top makes a good surface if you can find a piece the right size and cost.
TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
Minwax poly will yellow if exposed to the sun. Just beware.
I refinished an old oak dinning room table about 25 years ago. Only recently did it start to show signs of wear. After sanding to the barewood I used a good stain. To protect it from stains due to water and what not I used Varathane Polyurethane finish. I put 8 coats on the top of the table. It was a bit time consuming since you have to let each coat dry for a day but well worth the effort. If you are painting it as you said be sure to seal the wood with Keltz primer before hand. It should last you for a long time and look good if you do it right. Good luck.
I like to cover a table with a sheet of Borco - which is a vinyl sheet used to cover drafting tables - it's slight resiliant under a pen, making a nice writing surface, is waterproof so won't stain if spilled on, and does not conduct electricity.
It's not terribly expensive and can be used on each side.
A drafting supply store should be able to find it for you.
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My garage workbench has a 4' by 8 foot rectangle of 3/4" standard plywood top. I diligently rounded all the edges and sanded the top nice and smooth. After that, I applied 3 or 4 coats of that W4HAY mentioned Minwax polyurethane coating. It's holding up well for a general electronics/garage workbench coating. It's far from the sun though.
Last edited by NL7W; 08-24-2012 at 12:06 AM.
73, Steve, NL7W
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I am going with the Minwax satin polyurethane on the oak veneer plywood surfaces of the L shaped bench I am building. I have used this before and it holds up very well, but will scratch...
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I love Polyurethane ( MINWAX ) Applied with a brush!!!
I just refinished the desktop of my 'shack' where the Icom 7600, Notebook Computer and 27" iMac reside.
I forget how many coats I put on, but I also forget how many I sanded off to get the glass like finish I have.
I let it dry in a temp/humidity controlled room for over a month to insure 100% cured.
After all that I went out and purchased a piece of plexiglass to cover it with round pieces of felt like fabric.
Best operating bench surface I ever built, a long time ago when I had a HUGE shack (16 x 24' room with a wrap-around bench that covered three walls) was 3/4" exterior grade plywood supported by nine file cabinets and cleats on the wall. My buddy Pete WB2GUH (at the time) was quite the carpenter and helped me a lot with that, including using routers and jigsaws and all sorts of crap to round the edges so nobody could get hurt if they bumped into them, etc.
I "finished" it by sanding, then tacking, then sanding, then tacking, several times. That took about 8 hours. Then applied Minwax to stain it, using a cloth, not a brush. Pete told me a cloth works better. Pure cotton cloth, such as an old T-shirt.
Then used very fine steel wool to polish that. And then four coats of Minwax Polyurethane finish, applied with a cloth also. In between each coat, polish with 000 steel wool (very fine), then tack it, then apply the next coat.
It took at least 36 hours to do all that, over a period of a few days. But when it was finished, it had the appearance of a bowling alley...very smooth and shiny, and very tough.
That shack and bench made QST magazine, in a wide-angle shot by W1XX. I can go look up the issue, but don't remember it offhand. Probably in 1979 or 1980 or so. It provided me with 60 linear feet of surface area and was 30" deep all the way around the room. Room enough for six separate stations, so I could roll a chair around the room to change bands.
I miss that, but one day hope to have the same setup, it was really convenient!
Don't forget to make cutouts in the bench to bring cables through. I had nine of them, holes about 4" in diameter cut with a jigsaw prior to staining and urethaning. Makes it easy to bring up power cables, coax, rotator cables and so forth behind all the gear so nobody sees any wiring when it's all done.
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