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Repairing Damaged MDF

 
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LaMar



Joined: 25 Oct 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:22 pm    Post subject: Repairing Damaged MDF Reply with quote

Hi everyone - I have a few MDF cabinet doors that have been damaged/swollen from exposure to water. Anyone have any suggestions on how to prep them before I repaint? Can I just sand down the puffy part and then prime with an oil product? Wondering if Master Finishing Medium might be the thing to use in these areas to eliminate the furry feeling... any thoughts and experience are appreciated!
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lisascenic



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I know more about this than I care to think about...

Once you break the machined surface of MDF, you expose a surface that is sponge-like in its ability to absorb liquids. Sanded, carved or otherwise tooled MDF sucks up paint like there's no tomorrow.

You've got to seal, seal and re-seal that surface before you attempt any touch up.

(Honestly, I detest MDF, it's brittle and has no structural integrity. But capenters love this stuff, so we're stuck with it.)

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LaMar



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seal with what? Decent oil based primer? Didja use anything better than most others? I'm all ears.
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lisascenic



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really haven't found the perfect product for thirsty MDF.

But if anyone would know, it's this group of painters.

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shadowpainter



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I often use shellac but haven't had to do it on a broken surface. I like the shellac because it's inexpensive and dries so quickly you can get many more coats on then if using latex.
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LaMar



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought about shellac...it seems to be the wonder-sealer.
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lisascenic



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Will the MDF have any chance of getting wet, again?

If so, I'd stay away from shellac. It's really weak around water.

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shadowpainter



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lisascenic wrote:
Will the MDF have any chance of getting wet, again?

If so, I'd stay away from shellac. It's really weak around water.


That may be true for off the shelf shellac however, it's not true for shellac that you mix yourself. Check shellac.net. We've even done hardwood floors in Bysaki shellac and wax. They're resistant to water and alcohol and they are beautiful. Frank Lloyd Wright was keen on shellac for floors as well. Don't mean to go on about this but I find shellac to be largely misunderstood these days and it's such a great material.
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LaMar



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, how aboout shellac as the product against the MDF but then primed again with an oil primer, finished w/FE products and top coated with Varnish+ ? I wouldn't think much would get through that.
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Alvin



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seal it with wood glue. Do it all the time.
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lisascenic



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can you talk me through this? I assume you thin out the glue, to avoid brush marks.

Can you apply the glue "up" or does the work need to be on sawhorses?

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LaMar



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

how about sealing with marine varnish? that would hold up to water i would think
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Dancing Deb



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sand down the swollen MDF to the right size. Cut some wood glue ( we use Tight Bond 2 ) with about 10 % water, untill brushable. Let dry for a couple of hours. Afterwards sand back any other raised grain. It's ready for prime.

Whenever we route or carve MDF we always glue size before priming. It doesn't matter if you work vertical or horizontal. It'll soak right in.

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Alvin



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oops! I replied on Deb's computer. That last reply was actually Alvin
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lisascenic



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks so much.

You may have removed some real stress from my life.

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Ron Francis
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lisascenic wrote:
<snip> ...(Honestly, I detest MDF, it's brittle and has no structural integrity. But capenters love this stuff, so we're stuck with it.)

We must have different MDF in Australia.
I once did a mural on 1/4" (maybe it was 1/8") MDF and a couple of guys offered to help me get it off the roof of my car. It was windy and I warned one guy that the wind could catch it and to hold it at the end, but he blustered his way in an grabbed it in the middle. The wind caught it and I swear that it bent in the middle 90 degrees. I was in shock because it was around 3 weeks work, but there was absolutely no damage that I could see.

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KathyFakesIt
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OMG - heart attack city.
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Ron Francis
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The same guy almost broke a very expensive vase in the house. Lucky there was carpet on the floor. Just one of those sorts of 'bull in a China shop' sort of guys.

But I don't mean to hijack the thread.
Let us know how the repair goes (or went).

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Margo



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a little late to this conversation, but I use a nonrewettable primer made by Zinsser called gardz. It was designed for sealing damaged dry wall and I have found it useful for other problems too. It does soak in and stabilize surfaces that are crumbling, peeling, or flaking. Seals old wallpaper paste and keeps it from re- wetting and causing problems. It reminds me of a water based polyurethane but is a good 'primer' also.

Lisa, I could see you using this by the gallon! It goes on like water, on a vertical surface I use a foam roller and keep a little puddle of the stuff just on top of my roller, rolling up only.

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Tania Seabock



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Margo, This is great advise.
I need to buy that primer.
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LaMar



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wondered about Gardz, myself.
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Margo



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a permanent part of my tool kit.
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shines



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know I am late to this discussion as well, but we use automotive "Bondo". My cabinet guy showed me this trick a few years ago and if works every time. We have also been known to use automotive primer on solid wood doors to get a better finish coat.
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Linda Marsteller



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 5:35 pm    Post subject: mdf Reply with quote

I use Bondo Glazing Putty (Gel?)..comes in a tube like toothpaste. Some Ace Hardware stores carry it.
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lynne



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i was going to say shellac (and yes i mix up my own- when it's fresh, it's quite resilient) and i hvae done this in my own house with my own damaged mdf cabinets and it's worked out very well.

but gardz is pretty great stuff. bondo seems like overkill but then, overkill works.

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