1930s Semi. Hallway -panelling - Sanded back - Zinsser Bin?

9 Mar 2018
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United Kingdom
Just finishing stripping hallway paneling (oak veneered ply) for re-painting. It had previously been stripped (circa 20 yrs ago by previous owner) but re-finished in a dark varnish and in some hard to reach places the original dark finish remains. I've stripped it all off and sanded it, although obviously some parts that are tricky to access are less stripped than others. Would the recommendation be to go for Zinsser Bin as primer throughout, including the door frames and skirting (original softwood), and how many coats? Then a standard oil based undercoat before the eggshell topcoat.

I happen to have a tin of Zinsser 123 but I'd rather make sure I get the job right first time.

What would be the best way of applying - brush/roller? Would a light sanding be required between coats?

Also the oak handrail and newel posts are back to bare wood and staying bare as a feature, any recommendations on a wax finish or similar (it's a light oak and I want to try and keep it as natural as possible).

I'm sure I spotted someone on the forum with a whole recommended routine for using Bin but can't find the link.
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As much as I like Zinsser BIN, it is a nightmare to apply evenly over large areas. It dries too quickly. You will end up with rather unsightly brush marks. I guess that you could add some isopropyl alcohol to thin it though.

For what it is worth... Back in the days when my bread and butter was painting MDF cabinets, I decided to try BIN. The bookcase was about 5m long, 2.5m tall. I wanted a product that didn't raise the "grain" of the MDF.

Application was marginally longer than the acrylic primers that I would have used ordinarily, although it didn't raise the grain it was impossible to apply a flat(ish) finish. I then discovered that it is much more difficult to sand back. Had I stuck with waterbased primer it would have taken me 2 days, the BIN took 3 and a half days and a shed load more of abrasives.

I am inclined to suggest that you stick with OB UC. The areas that you can't sand sound like areas that are unlikely to suffer much in the way of wear and tear.

If you do decide to go with BIN, purchase some household ammonia for cleaning the brushes. It smells, until the ammonia evaporates but it, as an alkali, it breaks the paint residues down rather than simply diluting them. Do not try using the bog standard mini foam roller. After a few minutes they double in length and become floppy/unusable.

Apropos the oak hand rail- if you can spare the time then consider French polish. You will need to apply loads of coats but it isn't difficult (check youtube). The finish is probably best described as luxurious. It also builds up a patina over the years that doesn't just look like dirt.
Thanks opps. Would an oil based eggshell (couple of coats) straight on top of BIN work or do you need a "proper" undercoat.
I've got access to a festool orbital sander with vac, which I used to sand the panelling so sanding of a big area not an issue if it helps get good job.
I like the sound of French polishing the rail for the luxury finish my handiwork deserves
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You can apply eggshell straight over the BIN.

If you do with the BIN rather than oilbased UC, then consider using a very short nap mini roller. My recommendation would be a mini Purdy or Wooster roller with a suitable sleeve from either firm (they are interchangeable, however as "bird cage" rollers they will not accept the standard mini roller sleeves). They cost more but are definitely worth the money.

Good luck.

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