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How can I get a great-looking finish on a desk top?

Discussion in 'Wood / Woodwork / Carpentry' started by endecotp, 4 Jun 2014.

  1. endecotp

    endecotp

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    Dear Experts,

    I'm planning a large desk to fit in an alcove.

    I think that most aspects are within my DIY ability, but I'm not sure if I could get a really smart-looking finish on the top. I have been considering either a bamboo panel (e.g. http://www.moso-bamboo.com/panels-veneer/solid-panel ) or some sort of veneered plywood.

    I think that the best finish would be achieved with some kind of spray and/or UV process. I don't think I can do that at home, can I?

    I have investigated getting the desk top cut to size and finished for me, but that is expensive; the unfinished bamboo panel costs something like £120, but getting it cut to size, making some holes for cables, and then lacquering it would add over £400.

    Can anyone offer advice about how I could achieve a really good finish? Or alternatively, suggest where I could get this done at a better price?
     
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  3. Norcon

    Norcon

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  4. WalksWithTurkeys

    WalksWithTurkeys

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    What characterises a really good finish? How big is the top?

    I like natural wood with hard wax oil then wax.

    Wood is expensive, but knackered old solid wood furniture is cheap and an old table top can be cut to size and finished.
     
  5. endecotp

    endecotp

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    It's a bit bigger than a typical office desk.

    In this case, I think that a permanent "varnish" type of finish would be more suitable than a wax / oil finish. For me the challenge would be getting it nice and uniform and free of brush marks and dust.

    I have asked a local company what they would charge to spray it with PU in their spray shop, and they've estimated £160. That's more than the wood costs....
     
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  7. foxhole

    foxhole

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    Just used Danish oil on my oak topped desk.
     
  8. endecotp

    endecotp

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    That looks nice. Easy to apply but requires maintenance, right?

    Is that an oak veneer? What exactly is it?

    I fancy a lighter colour and was considering a bamboo panel.
     
  9. foxhole

    foxhole

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    Oak block board, you could use an Osmo oil which is much longer lasting.
     
  10. endecotp

    endecotp

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    Here's an update on my progress. I bought a bamboo panel which I'm very pleased with; it's good stuff, though it has blunted some of my tools a bit! I then applied the "hard wax oil" from the bamboo supplier. The instructions say to apply two thin coats by brush, wiping off any excess after each coat. On a test piece this worked brilliantly. On the actual desk top, I think that the oil was drying out fast enough that after I'd brushed it on to the whole panel, going back to wipe of the excess was smearing it. Perhaps I should have had a brush in one hand and a cloth in the other and wiped as I went. Anyway, for the second coat I tried to get it really thin by brushing it out and then didn't wipe it. The result is that it's a bit thicker than would be ideal, and it has also got some dust it it (but is basically a good finish).

    So I'm now wondering if I want to try to buff it, or anything else to finish it off. It doesn't need to be any shinier but if buffing will remove some of the wax or dust that would be great. What do people think?

    (I also now have an offcut which I plan to make into a shelf - there may be more questions about that soon!)
     
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