General advise on finishes for Birch Ply? (staining? Dye? Polyurathane?)

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9 Mar 2021
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Hi, I'm going to start a large project soon where I throw all of my old furniture away and making all of my home's furniture with 18mm Birch Plywood, and seeking general advise before i embark on this large project.

I have experience making stuff with Birch ply before so i'm ok confident that i'm not going have any major screwups regarding assembling to fit furniture, but I've never stained or dyed wood before, and I need to do it because my partner said that they don't like the "raw and DIY" look of the stuff I've been making. So I'm seeking some advise for that.

I've done alot of research on dyes, and stainig and there's just alot of information of products that i can't buy, and i'm still unsure whether i need a pre-conditioner for my wood before staining it, then what stain? or should i dye it instead? Just still a tonne of questions, and i'm hoping someone here have worked staining or dyeing Birch Plywood, and maybe they could share their results on how they did it, and how it looks.

Currently, from what i've researched, I'm going to buy a 20L polyurathane varnish from Paintmaster (are they any good? i might also buy factory emulsion paint from them too), thin it down a tonne with water to use as pre-conditioning, then dye it with some self made iron rust solution with foam brushes, let that completely dry for a few days, then paint 2 coats of polyurathane for a hard-wearing satin wood finish. Does that sound right? is making my own iron rust dye with iron wool and vinegar really a good idea? should i buy gel stains instead (but i can't find any in the UK...)

Many thoughts, and many good practices of colouring wood that i don't know. Please help!!

Thankyou very much
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All I can say is regarding the polyurethane [oil based] varnish. It yellows with age. I have used acrylic/water based as they keep the original colour of the ply.

I have coloured birch ply with a water based stain (no odour etc.) I believe the brand was Village Green. They do lots of colours. It goes on easily and you can get rid of patches by putting on more coats. I didn’t find pre stain conditioner worth the hassle after trying it once. But you will need to seal it with any standard clear varnish otherwise the colour will rub off.

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