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Thread: How to obtain smooth paint finish on plywood

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Sacramento, California
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    188

    How to obtain smooth paint finish on plywood

    am building a speaker and interested in painting with a latex paint.

    I would like to hide the blemish/grain pattern and I have several questions.

    1. is primer necessary?
    2. quality brush or sponge type of applicator?
    3. do I need to apply a product to "smooth out" the grain etc?

    thanks,

    gychang

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Charlotte,N.C.
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    smooth paint finish on plywood?

    I have heard this same question asked elsewhere. I tried it and it works really well, after all the sanding and dust removal, apply a couple of coats
    of clear shellac (either spray or brush) and let them dry throughly and then apply the paint. It makes painting twice as easy and the paint flows as easily as spreading hot butter on toast! Try it....eezlock

  3. #3
    I guess it really does depend on the quality of the plywood. I have successfuly painted plywood without any issue of the grain showing.

    1. spend time on surface prep, fill any voids, dents scratches and sand smooth. get rid of the dust
    2. Yes do use primer a couple of coats of good quality latex

    Dont be impatient, wait for each coat to dry before applying the next

    3. apply the topcoat following the manufacturers reccomendations.

    Having tried sponges and other applicators if I want to control my paint finish the only way to go IMHO is with a good quality brush. I spent years buying the cheaper "disposable" ones. they are fine for painting a wall but thats it. Just think of the amount we all spend on power tools a brush is also a tool so spend the extra and take care to clean it well afterwards.
    Jon

    Phoenix AZ - It's a dry heat
    ________________________________

    We all make mistakes and I should know I've made enough of them
    techzibits.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Sacramento, California
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    Quote Originally Posted by poolhound View Post
    I guess it really does depend on the quality of the plywood. I have successfuly painted plywood without any issue of the grain showing.

    1. spend time on surface prep, fill any voids, dents scratches and sand smooth. get rid of the dust
    2. Yes do use primer a couple of coats of good quality latex

    Dont be impatient, wait for each coat to dry before applying the next

    3. apply the topcoat following the manufacturers reccomendations.

    Having tried sponges and other applicators if I want to control my paint finish the only way to go IMHO is with a good quality brush. I spent years buying the cheaper "disposable" ones. they are fine for painting a wall but thats it. Just think of the amount we all spend on power tools a brush is also a tool so spend the extra and take care to clean it well afterwards.
    thanks, very helpful.

    gychang

  5. #5
    there is plywood that is made to be painted, it has a smooth paper (?) surface. that said, sand it with new sharp sandpaper, old paper will cut away the soft part and leave the hard stuff so you see the grain in 3 dimensions when painted. fill the pores of the plywood with a filler. stuff made for floors is thin, cheap and easy to apply and sand. seal it with a shellac based primer zinzer (sp) makes some. if brushing use a good foam brush ($5) or a good synthetic bristle brush ($15). use floetrol to slow down the drying of the paint and allow it to flow out flat. don't thin with water as the paint becomes strange and you get other problems. take your time, let it dry, sand between coats and if you want a gloss finish use the gloss last, use flat for the first few coats. consider a clear coat for the gloss over the flat (gives an old lead based paint look to it), test all the ideas you get here first on scrap

    consider using a denser material than the ply for the speakers, they will sound better MDF or HDF

    bill, who had a capital idea but decided against them

  6. #6
    Watch the quality of your paint too. I have found it worth the extra to get Pratt & Lambert's mid grade, or the Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore paints. You seem to need fewer coats for the same coverage, and it seems to better hold up to being cleaned.

    I have also used the small 4" or 6" rollers with the short nap to get a nice smooth coat. This is the roller with foam inside that is about 2" in diameter and a fuzzy outer area. 1 end is rounded off so you can paint in corners. The widest surface I have used one on was about 12".

    Karl

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    And use fresh paint right from the store... That can that's been in your garage for three years ain't gettin' it, even if it's unopened.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Vancouver, WA, USA.
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    I've had good luck thinning the paint down and applying multiple coats. I've used Floetrol (sp) and just plain water. Basically you want to slow the drying time down so the paint can flatten out before it dries.

    Depending on how perfect you are trying to get it a very light sanding with 220 between coats can help.
    Rand
    "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like your thumb."

  9. #9
    Depending on the size of the job, with rough ply I wipe on joint compound with a trowel and sand it smooth, then a coat of primer and finish coat.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    San Jose, CA, USA.
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    The "paintable" plywood is called MDO, I believe, not usually available from the big box stores but at better lumberyards. It has a surface that's like a heavy duty layer of brown butcher paper. Especially made for being painted, commonly used for signs. I've had good results using HF's HLVP sprayer, sanding with very fine sandpaper before and after the final coat (assumes you don't want a high-gloss finish). You could thin a latex with waterborne polyurethane, getting the benefits of thinning (for the spray gun) and toughening (more so than plain latex).
    - David

    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” -- Oscar Wilde

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