Finishing veneered MDF?

18 Oct 2005
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United Kingdom
I'm doing a job using cherry veneered MDF which I want to finish a little darker than its natural colour. I've been told that veneered MDF can end up looking a bit flat using techniques that are okay on solid wood - any recommendations for finishes/treatments? Stain or dye? Do I use a sanding sealer? Any help gratefully received as I'm doing the job for my sister-in-law and I'll never hear the end of it if its not up to scratch :rolleyes: .
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Cherry will darken quite quickly by itself if left in natural light, try laying an off cut in the sun with one half covered for a few hours.

I usually use a water bourne lacquer on veneered boards but have not used it on cherry. An oil based finish will make the wood look darker but does not always work so well on thin veneer. Try a few different products on some offcuts.

Cherry is one of the woods which can take dyes rather inconsistently. As Jason states it also has a natural tendency to darken quite quickly on exposure to light - a good reason to check boards from the merchant for "sun shading" as it can be all but impossible to get rid of. For that reason I'd suggest using a tinted lacquer rather than staining and applying a clear lacquer. Cherry normally sands well up to about 220/250 grit and I'd use a thinned topcoat (say 50% thinners) to fill the grain before applying the finishing coat. Use a Scotchbrite finishing pad or 320 grit sand paper to rub-out between coats and be careful to apply the finish consistently.


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