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How to finish bath panel in white

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Simon_M

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I would like to finish a bath panel in white.

It’s made of a software frame and three hardwood plywood panels. Not quite finished.

What alternatives are there to sealant, primer, undercoat and top coat?

I would like to maintain some of the character of wood grain (and hopefully a long life).

Any suggestions?
 

rafezetter

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Pictures would help.

Do you want the grain of the softwood or hardwood panels - if softwood there is a way to accentuate it so it's not diminished by the paint.

Do you want a "solid showroom white" effect or an "aged white" ?

As far as the painting for a "showroom white" - no easy shortcuts I'm afraid on that score, for a bath panel that's going to get water and be in a humid room.

Oh except one, ditch the sealant part, a thinned "wash coat" of primer, then lightly knocked back before undercoat should be enough.
 

sunnybob

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would you rather not buy a plastic side and end? save you a fortune in time and materials.
 

Simon_M

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rafezetter":12bzyo5p said:
Pictures would help.
Of course, it's easier to start with a picture (or two).

The whole panel - the top rail and three plywood inserts are not glued (so far).

IMG_0223.jpg


There is some finishing to do e.g. plane down softwood surfaces and sand etc.

Here is a detail of one of the corners - the top rail and panels are not glued (so far):
IMG_0225.jpg


I plan to rout the internal edges of the post/rails...

also, rout the top rail round...

and, cut a rebate to allow the panel to be flush with the end of the bath, which covers the end of some cut tiles.

The joints are hidden by the lip of the bath and the top rail fits under this lip.

The "old" panel was a curved pink sheet with no features of thin plastic that discoloured (30+ years old) and cracked along the top edge/lip - so I'm determined that the "new" panel should have some strength and some detail.

NB I should have had a quick "tidy up" before taking the picture LOL.
 

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Simon_M

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rafezetter":nqzysb2o said:
Ditch the sealant part, a thinned "wash coat" of primer, then lightly knocked back before undercoat should be enough.
Thank you - I was going to use cellulose sanding sealant to seal the knots and make them stable before painting.

Cutting the "fake" lines in the plywood, made me realise just how thin the veneer is - probably thinner than a sheet of paper - so perhaps they should call it "wrapped"? No durability and, of course, different to the post and rails. I will "save" the boards for something else.

I ripped some wood to the same panel thickness and made some tongue and groove boards and I think the effect is much better:

IMG_0227.jpg


The plan is to glue the boards together into a larger floating panel, add a bevel on post/rails, then either sand and finish naturally with a oil and wax finish. Or to try and accentuate the grain/knots etc. in a light finish - ideally white. For the latter, I have no idea how to go about it but for an oil and wax finish, it would be mostly the same as finishing a turned bowl.
 

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rafezetter

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Simon_M":omzij9vh said:
rafezetter":omzij9vh said:
Ditch the sealant part, a thinned "wash coat" of primer, then lightly knocked back before undercoat should be enough.
Thank you - I was going to use cellulose sanding sealant to seal the knots and make them stable before painting.
Whoops! - didnt realise it was knotty pine, so absolutely use the sanding sealer, but hit the whole thing, rather than just the knots, in the past I've found the "splodges" of knotting being visible as slightly proud of the rest of the surface under the paint - most annoying.

Simon_M":omzij9vh said:
Cutting the "fake" lines in the plywood, made me realise just how thin the veneer is - probably thinner than a sheet of paper - so perhaps they should call it "wrapped"? No durability and, of course, different to the post and rails. I will "save" the boards for something else.
All veneered ply & mdf is like this now, time was the veneer was thicker and items could be sanded and refinished several times; but that's before the chiselling accountants told them they could make more money by making veneer half as thick and thus sell twice as many sheets.

Simon_M":omzij9vh said:
I ripped some wood to the same panel thickness and made some tongue and groove boards and I think the effect is much better:

Horses for courses on which you prefer - the rebated panels don't look terrible, it's just the cut edges of the veneer, but there is a way to make the issue go away - if you have the time and patience.*

*answer forthcoming if you're interested.

Simon_M":omzij9vh said:
The plan is to glue the boards together into a larger floating panel, add a bevel on post/rails, then either sand and finish naturally with a oil and wax finish. Or to try and accentuate the grain/knots etc. in a light finish - ideally white. For the latter, I have no idea how to go about it but for an oil and wax finish, it would be mostly the same as finishing a turned bowl.
ok here starteth the lesson :)

To accentuate the grain one of two ways - for painted surface grab yourself a blow torch and scorch the knotty pine but don't linger too long on the knots or they might split or explode (boiling resin - not funny, in an interesting way).

Once scorched, wire brush it down to remove the top layer of soft growth - this will put the hard growth (what are they called anyway?) in relief.

Repeat until desired effect. Seal as before knock it back with wire wool, then paint.

Alternatively grab yourself a NYLON cup brush for a drill.

https://www.toolstation.com/abracs-nylo ... hIEALw_wcB

and just hit the knotty pine until you've removed as much or as little as you want - this is a more aggressive way, but the results can be quite impressive if the grain is in your favor:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DRcovJl7wA

Don't use steel - too coarse the thicker nylon fibres are much softer and give you a cleaner finish, and ABSOLUTELY DO NOT go perpendicular to the grain as this guy does, go WITH the grain.

I've got a piece of furniture done this way and it's the most tactile thing I own.
 

Simon_M

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Thanks for another reply and lots more interesting ideas.

I’m unsure if sanding sealant and knotting treatments are the same or difference. I would use a sanding sealant on problem areas to stabilise and fill wood - so perfect on a knot.

Now that I have a panel that’s the same as post and rail, I’m moving away from the going white idea and leaning more towards leaving the wood natural e.g. sealant and oil or wax, accepting that it will be a bit darker.

I also want to try a shaker style panel that’s uses solid/jointed pine with a routed edge so that the panel appears flush but with minimal detail. The t/g looks a bit busy.

I’m starting to think that the white thing was to compensate for different materials (as a fix). Wood is always good? No need to make it too plasticky. The t/g was a reaction to the cuts in the veneer, but with hindsight, something simpler may be better. So shaker is more about the shadows and simplicity.

I’ve enjoyed working with pine previously. For me it’s not always about perfect hardwood and having blemishes gives character as I see it. Although natural colouring is what I usually try to achieve I would still like to try a white with grain look but getting there isn’t easy.
 

Eric The Viking

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For what it's worth, when I did our bathroom, I faked the grain using graining tools.

This was partly because I wanted a more weathered appearance (it was supposed to be beach-hut-like), and partly because the cheap deal used (I didn't select it) didn't actually have very nice grain.

The process:
  • Knotting anywhere that resin might escape.
  • Grey primer/undercoat.
  • Sanding back to as smooth as possible, then cleaning off with white spirit.
  • To get frame+panel effect, careful masking off at joints, so they showed up as lines.
  • Final graining effect using white undercoat and graining tools.
For the top of the bath surround I sealed with polyurethane. Whilst this has worked and been both tough and waterproof, it has also added a yellow tinge, so doesn't quite match everything else. I'd use Melamine aerosol if trying it again.

It worked pretty well but I've had issues with paint failure through shrinkage (I will _never_ buy own-brand paint from B+Q again!). I think also it would work better with oil-based finishes than water-based.

If it's of interest I'll post up a few snaps.
 
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