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Newbie needs advice on finishing

OldMoo's picture

Hi,

 

I am new to wood working. I am building my granddaughter a 'Modern' Dollhouse, which I would like to pass on down through the family. I am making it out of 12mm marine ply. A bit late I'm afraid to say 'bad choice'. I want the outside finish to be pretty slick and smooth. The ply has a very course grain that sanding has no effect on. I am planning to finish with an acrylic paint. (A dusky rose pink of course). I have tried, primer, auto primer, filler mate and Poly filler. All of which did not give me a smooth enough finish. Id say the auto primer worked best. (Still some grain showing through.) My questions are, has anyone used auto spray putty on wood? Does it adhere?  Or would I be best to use dewaxed shellac with talc? This needs to be finished by mid January for her 5th birthday. At the rate I'm going it'll be for her 6th. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

 

OldMoo

Westchester's picture

Doll House (post #170773, reply #1 of 14)

Have you considered applying glazing putty with a putty knife before spraying or in between spray coats - it will fill grain better.  As for spray putty adherence - going over an auto body paint should work OK.  I haven't used the spray putty - I wonder what the user directions on the can says for safe application ? I'm thinking it's safe - but test on something else before you try it on Granddaughter's new digs !

SA

OldMoo's picture

Glazing putty (post #170773, reply #4 of 14)

Hi Westchester,

Thank you for the reply. Does not glazing putty contain oil and not dry hard? I thought it remained flexible. At this point I'm willing to try anything. I'm going batty. As for the spray putty it does say on the can 'toxic' . Though this relates to when it is wet and comes in conact wth skin and eyes. It didn't work very well anyway but thank you for bringing this to my attention as my frustration is fast out weighing all sensibilty. Have a great day.

Westchester's picture

Glazing putty (post #170773, reply #7 of 14)

You're thinking of the product used with window glazing. 

Spot/glazing putty is a solvent based product that dries hard and is used as a pin hole filler with auto body paint but I use it on wood finishes all the time.  Sorry I wasn't clearer - I thought you had come across the product since you were mentioning auto paint.  Anyway - check with auto body supply shops - here's link to one brand - http://www.jamestowndistributors.com/userportal/product.do?part=67238&SHOPPING

 

SA

OldMoo's picture

Glazing putty (post #170773, reply #8 of 14)

Thank you for that. My hubby used to be in the glass trade so I automatically thought of glass. I know some friends that work in the panel beating trade so it shouldn't be too hard to get some. Thanks again.

roc's picture

Patience, Patience, Patience (post #170773, reply #2 of 14)

Have you tried several layers of the filler ?

For instance:

Sand

Apply filler and let harden FULLY !

Sand to level it.

Apply filler and let harden FULLY !

Sand to level it.

Apply filler and let harden FULLY !

Sand to level it .

etc. (I may be exagerating a little.  Depends on how bad your surface is.)
 
Then primer
Sand with fine
Paint
 
PS: water based filler BAD !  Toxic nasty stuff from auto body supply that smells like glue melting plastic and that it is killing you GOOD !  Doesn't shrink when it cures.
sorry . . .  but you asked
 
PPS: if you want an even smoother, flatter finish spray a dark flat/matt (NO-gloss) layer of super cheep paint on.  Let dry.  Then sand it with a sanding block.  The dark areas that are still on the surface are the areas you still need to fill in.
This is called a guide coat.
Fun huh   :   )

roc

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. Abraham Lincoln ( 54° shaves )

OldMoo's picture

Smooth finish (post #170773, reply #5 of 14)

Thanks Roc. Well the spray putty was not very successful. I will go back to the drawing board with the filler which kinda worked, and maybe a few layers as you suggest just might work. Thanks for the tip about the guide coat. At this point the wood's so bad I can see it quite well even without my glasses. lol. I will endeavour to post pics for you but your not to laugh too loud. I shall return. Have a great day.

roc's picture

Oh Hey I Forgot (post #170773, reply #3 of 14)

Please post a photo or three while in the process and or when you get it done.  In my mind this is definitely a category of fine woodworking !

roc

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. Abraham Lincoln ( 54° shaves )

OldMoo's picture

Pics. (post #170773, reply #6 of 14)

Hi Roc,

Here are some pics. They're not real good but you can get a feel for the problem I have, or I hope you can. The depth of the grain you can't really see in the bare wood shot. But you certainly can in the others. I definately think several coats of filler are required.

Cheers.

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roc's picture

Ahhhh Hah (post #170773, reply #9 of 14)

Ha, Ha,

I am laughing because I to was thinking windows when Westchester said glazing.  But no the glazing / filler for autos was what I meant as well.   And yes put on with a putty knife.  Or they have a wide plastic paddle applicator thing.  Don't spray it.

From the photos it looks like you are getting some "resist" effect from what ever else is on the wood or in the pores.  That is the dark areas were there appears to be no product after two coats.  Weird. You don't have some varnish or polyurethane on there under the filler putty do you ?

Thanks for photos.  The grain is much different than I imagined.

PS:  I know you said bare wood but it doesn't look like bare wood.  I looks like the wood came to you with some kind of finish on it.

roc

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. Abraham Lincoln ( 54° shaves )

OldMoo's picture

Success...kinda... (post #170773, reply #12 of 14)

Hi Roc,

'Ive finished filling and sanding, filling and sanding one piece. The other 3 need the final sand. However, I used 320 sand paper as anything less ripped the fill out of the grain. Now I have one very glossy piece of wood. Will this hinder the paint adhesion? Should I prime and undercoat or which one?

SteveSchoene's picture

 "Marine ply " is not very (post #170773, reply #10 of 14)

 "Marine ply " is not very specific.  What species of wood is the outer veneer?  Knowing this can help devise an effective solution.

Can we assume you are working on scrap to determine how you will proceed on finishing the actual object?  If not, then can you be very specific about what materials have already been applied.  (It would be best to have brand names, but the silly spam filter on this forum might not let you.)

Test your finish on scrap, FIRST, or risk having to scrap your finish.

OldMoo's picture

Marine ply? (post #170773, reply #11 of 14)

Hi Steve,

Sorry but 'Bunnings' Special. All I know is that it is made of hardwood. That's all they told me. But I'm getting there... I think. I have used diluted timber mate and filled the grain, sanded filled the grain a second time and now just waiting for it to dry to sand again. Perhaps you can answer me this. I sanded off the filler with 320 sand paper as I found this doesn't rip it back out of the grain as the 120 did. However I now have a gloss finish on my wood, (2 pieces are for the first and second floors/ceilings. So I really didn't want to go overboard on these. Just the one coat of filler.) Is this normal? Or have I been a bit overzealous with my elbow work? Will this create a problem when I paint? These pieces are 1000mm X 650mm if it helps.

OldMoo's picture

Answers (post #170773, reply #14 of 14)

Hi Steve,

Sorry it's taken so long to get back to you as I work full time and have had a lot on. If you aren't in Australia I don't suppose this will mean a lot to you but here goes.The sticker on the plywood states Full Australian hardwoods. AA grade standard from sustainable resources. Not very explicit I'm afraid. I have used 'Wattyl'  timber putty which worked well on the smaller pieces but tended to pull back out of the grain when sanded and only comes in small tubes and doesn't stay workable for long. 'Polyfiller' which is an all purpose interior filler mainly used on gyprock. This too pulled back out of grain. I used an automotive spray putty which kind of filled the smaller grain.  'Timber mate' an Australian Wood Putty come Grain Filler come Edge Filler and Crack Filler.You can use this as a grain filler, primer and sealer by mixing with 10-15% water. This has probably worked the best for me. On one of the floor/ceiling pieces I have used 2 layers of Timbermate, sanding in between (see photos) and have just primed this with a 'White Knight' all pupose spray primer. Haven't sanded it back yet though.This piece I'm using as a guide only. Just wanted to see how it comes out as I don't think too many people will be looking too closely at the ceilings in a dollhouse. I hope this is enough info for you to give me your opinion. Thankyou in advance

Moo

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roc's picture

Well first let me say this about that (post #170773, reply #13 of 14)

If you are getting Steve's help here you should follow what he says explicitly.

Answer his questions as thoroughly as possible and he will lead you to success.

Now to your specific questions as best as I can :

Smooth is good.  Shiny like glass isn't great at this stage so a bit of fine sanded tooth is best so the primer doesn't bead up due to surface tension.  That was what had me worried when there were uncoated micro areas in what looked like the pores in your early photos.

Primer for sure.  Under coat, applied after and on top of the primer, usually refers to a layer that imparts a certain desired characteristic.  I assume you don't need this.

For example in vehicle paint (auto, boat, motorcycle) they have what they call "candy" colors.  The actual paint is clear like a candy Jolly Rancher.  Do you remember those?  You could read through them.  Like little hunks of colored glass but red or green etc.

Soooo . . . anyway . . . to get the candy look to the paint , like a red candy apple, one would first spray an under coat of metallic looking silver or gold, depending on the exact effect one preferred.  Let that layer dry.  It looked just like brushed or sand blasted metal.  Then spray the clear/colored red or green etc., paint on top of the metallic under coat and it looked just like the vehicle was dipped like a candy apple.  Without the under coat the paint would have been dark and uninteresting.

Some times the primer has an under coat color such as black or red.  Doesn't really apply to your project but figured I would try to describe "undercoat".

Listen to Steve if you can get him on the line again.

roc

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. Abraham Lincoln ( 54° shaves )