What finish is best for patterned plywood/plywood endgrain

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danst96

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Morning all!

I am embarking on a patterned plywood project for a bar cart I am making. The videos I have watched about patterned plywood have largely been from the US and several individuals recommend using a wipe on polyurethane as this leaves the nicest finish on the end grain of the plywood (doesn't turn it grey).

The bar cart will have a walnut frame and the tray sides will be walnut with a patterned ply tray bottom to add a nice contrast. As i will be using the same finish over the walnut and ply, I want to ensure I keep a flat, almost clear finish but want to ensure the plys dont grey with the finish which is what can happen with oil finishes such as Osmo Polyx.

Has anyone any advice as to finishing end grain ply and what gets the nicest finish bearing in mind the walnut and the flat finish I am after? At most I could live with a satin finish if necessary.

Thanks in advance!
 

Cabinetman

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Water-based satin finish polyurethane varnish (I like Johnstons) works well, not that I’ve done end grain on ply but I’ve done a lot of end grain on timber. First coat water down 10% then two more coats, de-nib after first and second. I always brush it on, wiping it on sounds extremely messy!
End grain I normally give quite a bit more than just a de-nib, so for your situation I think I would give it quite a good rubdown after first and second. I would experiment, I like the sound of mixing and grain ply with the walnut. Ian
 

danst96

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Thanks Ian, thats helpful, I will check out Johnstons. I am havent got much experience with many finishes at this stage so the advice is great. Is the Johnstons finish fairly flat? I will have a look online to see as well.

I will start a WIP thread for the build once i get going as well if you are interested to see how it goes.
 

Cabinetman

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Thanks, I use it all the time for furniture and have found it very hard wearing and impervious to hot drinks. They do three different ones by the way, the first is oil based which takes forever to dry compared to water-based —which is dry by the time you’ve got to the other end of what you’re doing and the water-based comes in two grades ordinary for furniture and a harder finish one for floors – used it on my floors eight? Years ago and still looks as good as the first day I did it but it doesn’t go on quite so easily/smoothly as the ordinary furniture grade. Flat? Yes I would say so. Yes pls to a wip. This is as close up as I can find
B36204F0-388B-41F3-A5B5-7C7255D1E5E1.jpeg
 

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