How To Finish Plywood For Desk? [A Stepwise Process]

How To Finish Plywood For Desk

Plywood is one of the finest woods in the lumber industry. Like any other wood, plywood is a great choice for a desk. By finishing, it means coating the surface, removing waste, and making it more durable. Unfortunately, many are not aware of the finishing of plywood for desk

Plywood is related to desks, tables, cabinets, and other possible wood materials. Choosing plywood for a desk is a brilliant selection. Because of its sturdy structure, it will hold long. However, plywood finishes have a lot of odds and ends. 

There are various types of finishes that make things more difficult. Regardless, this article will help you understand how to finish plywood for a desk by knowing what are the best options to choose from. Here, you will receive full and transparent information about this. So, let’s get started.

6 Steps To Finish Plywood For Desk: A Complete Stepwise Process

So, to finish plywood for the application on a desk has to be strong too. On this account, you need to be relevant about the proper coating. Lacquer and varnish, these two types make a good amount of coating on plywood, which is okay. But, one of the best of them is polyurethane. Here goes a step-by-step process of it. 

Step-1: Selection Of Workplace

A well-finished project depends on a healthy selection of workplaces. If you work in a dirty, disorganized area, your plywood would certainly not look good. To obtain a great coating, you must select a workspace with no dust, and a fresh, clean, and tidy room. 

Anything that requires painting or coating, turns more appealing the more the clean area is. Any dust or bubble stuck into the finishing will make it look bad. Further, your desk will appear insignificantly. 

Step-2: Necessary Supplies

The use of the right equipment precisely gets the work done. Top-quality materials make your work up to the mark. Hence, qualitative tools and materials selection is significant. Here are what you need:  

  • High-quality bristle brush;
  • Sandpaper (160-200 grit and higher than that);
  • Polyurethane. 

Step-3: Sanding

It is the base for the finish of plywood. The last smooth, clean-looking finish depends on how it was sanded. You can demonstrate how influential it is. 

Start with 160 grit sandpaper. Applying it with a sanding machine will take less time by smoothing the surface exactly. Then, gently use 160-200 grit respectively. Do not be harsh during the procedure. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just slowly sand the plywood, and it will be fulfilled. 

After that, clean all the dust with the help of a cleaning cloth. Be sure there is no dust left. Wipe every inch of it.

Step-4: First Coating

Finishing is an easy process. What is not easy is choosing the finish. You will find many types of plywood finishes. I’m talking about a polyurethane finish here. Longevity is the main reason for choosing this finish. At the same time, an oil finish can also be carried out. This will bring a more natural look and your plywood will not serve you well in terms of durability.

To apply polyurethane, begin with the bristle brush. The brush needs to be flexible. Use your finish on a separate container, then soak the brush. Be mindful of the brush not getting over soaked. 

Position your workpiece at a comfortable distance. Brush from one end to another. This step has to be done very cautiously while slowly brushing the plywood. You should proceed in a straight line. Do not make any waves to the line. Try to hold the line one after another. If any spot is forgotten, leave it for the next coating. 

Leave the coating as per the time mentioned by the manufacturer. 

Step-5: Middle Coating

After you have completed your first coating, this time you have to look at the middle coating. Applying polyurethane as a finish is time-consuming. It requires at least 3 coatings. Due to that, you cannot get your desk ready in a day or two. 

Since you have left the plywood, the next step is to coat it again. This time you have to sand it with a higher grit paper. It allows it to make a fine surface of the final product. 

Gradually coating it 3 or 4 times, use the same procedure attentively. By no means you should be rough and clumsy over it. 

Step-6: Final Coating

The final coating is the most sensitive step to follow. This needs every attention to detail. Once you have completed all the steps of coating, sanding, and drying, it needs another finishing.

For that, you have to put the same process but, more carefully. Check every surface. No spots or scratches are acceptable. Smooth it again if necessary. Later on, examine the board for the final finishing. Now, run the brush more steadily on each part. If it is not done as mentioned, you might have to go for another coating. Afterward, dry it out and you will have your desired desk. 

The aforementioned steps are all efficient for a nice result. Follow these appropriately to get the finest finished desk. 

Things To Consider Before Selecting A Finish For Your Plywood Desk:

You may need a desk for home or your office. For that very reason, you need to select the type of finishing which will match the total room environment and the following things that need to be in consideration. 

  • If you want your desk to be glossy, shiny, or a little bit tinted, then lacquer is the finish you are indicating. It can also provide an expensive design with a fast dry to the plywood. You can obtain certain shades of expensive wood. Comparatively, lacquer is more resistant and has a layered finish. Birch plywood has a better outcome with a lacquer finish.
  • Varnish is for a clear, transparent, and brushed appearance. In general, it gives an ordinary look to it. But, it doesn’t offer good rigidity. In case you want a natural look, ignoring this finish is a clever choice. 
  • If you select to use polyurethane, consider that it has two types. Oil and water-based. Each one has its specific use with pros and cons. An oil-based poly is harder than a water-based poly. However, water-based polyurethane takes longer than oil as well as, and it differs in finishes. Oil is warmer and water-based is typically natural. After all, both of them are truly good. 
  • Another type of finish is spray lacquer. Spray lacquer is almost similar to brushed lacquer. Generally, if you have an item of miniature plywood furniture, lacquer spray is a good call. Refrain from applying this on big projects. 
  • Speaking of plywood finishes, be aware of cleaning the brush. A brush can contain small dust particles which may hamper the coating. To get rid of that, use mineral spirit as a cleaner to clean the brush. 

Related Questions

Can Plywoods Be Used For Desk?

Although there are many options of wood, selecting plywood for a desk is a great choice. In this modern world, a large number of people prefer using plywood for their desks. Plywoods are strong, durable, and protective in most cases. You can even use it after it is damaged. Apart from being long-lasting, it has an even look to it. A fair amount of finishing makes it more even. 

On top of that, many are not similar to the modern designed plywood. That is why some people often hesitate to use it. Getting a bad review does not define it as a bad one. Pick high-quality plywood for the best, plus, it can be used without a doubt. 

Why Should You Finish Plywood For Desk?

Here comes why you should finish plywood. As mentioned earlier, plywood is another form of wood. The finish is essential because it holds the object in place. More specifically, it protects. People don’t change their furniture just like their shoes. Yes, it loses its temper but that doesn’t define its efficiency. 

From season to season, furniture has to face all kinds of weather. Warm, cold, dust, humidity, all these effects the furniture. Only when the wood is coated with a promising substance, it can protect from moisture damage, scuffs, spills, and many more like that. The finishing helps the plywood to make it more appealing than its natural color. I mean, who doesn’t want something protective and lovely at the same time.

Is Painting A Kind Of Finish For Plywood Desk?

Painting is the most practical finish for any type of wood including plywood. It is easy, cheap, and requires less labor. Some experts identify painting as the best finish for every kind of wood. As it requires no extra coating or any extra duty, anyone can apply paint. It will protect you from every possible harm like cracking, toughness, or anything similar to that. You can select any color, any gradient to it. 

But, there is an exception. There are a certain number of people who don’t like the idea of color. They want either a natural look or a heavy wood look. Thus, people frequently misunderstood the idea of paint as a finish.

What Is The Best Finish For Desk Plywood?

Generally, there is no best way to finish plywood for a desk. A huge amount of options are there and individuals choose their finishing according to their advantage. Among them, lacquer and varnish are the most popular ones. 

Though the processes are different for both, experts recommend these very often. According to your demand and how you want it to appear should be the best for you. 

How Long Does It Take To Finish Plywood For Desk?

Finishing plywood is a lengthy process. Every layer of finishing requires a long time to finish. Drying out the surface is the main goal here. Sometimes it takes more than a week depending on the type of finish you are applying. However, in most cases, you can finish within 3-4 days. You just have to be careful about the drying procedure. 

A finish is extremely important to complete furniture. To protect from dents, scuffs, or anything like that, a protector is applied. Similarly, a finish works the same. Furthermore, give the appropriate amount of time to get the best finish.

Can You Leave Plywood Unfinished For Desk?

The main difference between finished plywood and unfinished plywood is its ability to handle its life. In short, unfinished plywood will turn out rough, uneven, and creaky. Anything unfinished is no good at all. Whether it is wood or plastic, it should be finished if a better life span is expected. 

You’ll need to change it after a while because it will lose its ability to resist the temperature and weather. The finish provides a coating whose main duty is to protect. Protect it from all kinds of stains. Temperature can be hot or cold and that will result from the wood getting spoiled. Hence, you should not leave plywood unfinished. Even if you do, you must do it for a particular purpose. 

Final Verdict

It is very straightforward to finish plywood for the desk. A few steps might get confusing, don’t be discouraged if it is not working well in the beginning. Be alert about complicated issues. Proceed slow and steady on each step, there is no need to rush over it.

As for my experience, I’ve shared the most with you. Furthermore, the use of the right equipment will do the job.

Md Meraj

This is Meraj. I’m the main publisher of this blog. Wood Working Advisor is a blog where I share wood working tips and tricks, reviews, and guides. Stay tuned to get more helpful articles!

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