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Author Topic: Painting 70s Laminate Furniture : advice needed  (Read 1333 times)
Hurricane Annie
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« on: August 09, 2016, 09:40:27 am »

Good folk of  The Brass Goggle  Retrospective Surgery Team

I have purchased a classic  late 70s bedroom set . It has a  glamorous traditional MDF dark wood grain laminate of the era  - and charming  faux bamboo handles .  What attracted me to it was a very ornate faux balinese carved mirror frame and a row of  faux carving accross the top drawers of each piece.

The old girl is in  need of some acrylic surge and a face lift.  There is a chest of drawers,  dressing table  and 1 bedside table that are salvageable .

What do  the Brass Goggles team off technicians  suggest  regarding   painting 70s faux woodgrain? 

Will I need a primer  and what type of paint would be most suitable ? 

And suggestions for  a faux  colour would be welcome . 
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2016, 10:26:43 am »

The problem with laminate (as opposed to veneer) is that it isn't real wood, but rather a matrix of some polymer and some fibres, natural or otherwise, and printed on top to look like wood.

Painting it should be approached like painting plastic. Plastic in general has a very poor track record when being painted.Paint tends to chip off. The solution is to sand the top surface a bit, and then use a spray "adhesion promoter", basically a type of alcohol which partially opens up pores and roughens up the surface of plastic so as to admit a primer or paint. Adhesion promoters are usually obtainable for automotive applications... so look for it in auto supply shops.
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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2016, 10:58:09 am »



Thanks for that tip.  Chipping or  not sticking is a concern.  Some sites suggested primer  but it could take a  treatment prior  to that step.   It could all cost more than it did at the charity shop. It's a monstrous  example of the times   - but it's a classic worth preserving 
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Hektor Plasm
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« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2016, 05:00:55 pm »

There is a spray primer for kitchen units- probably formica or similar- which might be useful, but as you say, pricey...

HP
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Hurricane Annie
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New Zealand New Zealand



« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2016, 01:07:55 am »

There is a spray primer for kitchen units- probably formica or similar- which might be useful, but as you say, pricey...

HP

I have seen a few spray primers on the hardware chain catalogues.   It might be good to go in and ask - armed with some knowledge   from this of you with experience in such things - or they will sell me anything  Shocked
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2016, 02:35:50 am »



Thanks for that tip.  Chipping or  not sticking is a concern.  Some sites suggested primer  but it could take a  treatment prior  to that step.   It could all cost more than it did at the charity shop. It's a monstrous  example of the times   - but it's a classic worth preserving 

The primer alone will not be enough.  A primer still needs to hold on to something, as it's main purpose is to build a smooth porous surface for the paint, which is sandable/smoothable , and lay a background color for the paint. The adhesion promoter will open up microscopic cracks and voids in the plastic that will help the primer stick.

Now some brands of commercial paints such as Rust-o-leum offer paints formulated with a "built in" primer and adhesion promoter for plastics, but I don't know how much I can trust such claims.
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steiconi
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« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2016, 03:58:02 am »

I just used a brush-on paint with built-in primer--$20 a quart--to paint my vinyl front door.  First I cleaned, sanded, and deglossed it, then used the paint.  Still peeled.  Stupid vinyl door.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2016, 05:36:30 am »

I just used a brush-on paint with built-in primer--$20 a quart--to paint my vinyl front door.  First I cleaned, sanded, and deglossed it, then used the paint.  Still peeled.  Stupid vinyl door.

Vinyl and related polymers are some of the worst plastics to paint. Nothing sticks to it.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2016, 05:41:17 am »

If there are some flat surfaces, why not consider surfacing the formica or veneer with some other non-plastic surface? It might be easier to just glue something on it!
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Hektor Plasm
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« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2016, 05:05:48 pm »

If there are some flat surfaces, why not consider surfacing the formica or veneer with some other non-plastic surface? It might be easier to just glue something on it!

Cogs!  Grin

HP

/runs away
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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2016, 05:26:49 am »


Those 3 in 1  jobs never work for anything .  A good foundation is  vital to hold everything on . Others have recommended   primer,   thorough sandinv before every coat.  Someone suggested  chalk paint what ever that is and others enamel .

To show what I am dealing with  I will post shots below .

 

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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2016, 06:26:39 am »






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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2016, 06:28:53 am »

What I would humbly suggest is veneering the laminate (surfacing with super thin wood). There are many ultra thin plywoods out there, although I'll confess they're not cheap. Model-quality plywood can be as thin as 0.3 mm (Revell brand uses Norwegian Birch), like what I used for my Mercury Laptop (my 2011 Steampunk commission from Sony America).  A cheaper alternative is to get veneering "tape," basically a roll of masking tape-wide real wood veneer. Some of it has adhesive eithe self adhesive or activated through heat (i.e. hot-ironing the veneer). You could, for example, use strips of that  veneer, side by side, stain with *water* based stain (not oil/wax because nothing will stick to it), and then use something creative, like a 2-part epoxy resin over it or marine spar lacquer to achieve an ultra smooth clear finish  Roll Eyes  You can tell I used to work with wood many moons ago...  Grin
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2016, 06:30:33 am »








Ah, yes! It's daylight in your part of the world.  Grin  The frame should be painted as discussed.  But you still have a lot of flat surfaces....
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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2016, 06:30:46 am »

If there are some flat surfaces, why not consider surfacing the formica or veneer with some other non-plastic surface? It might be easier to just glue something on it!

Cogs!  Grin

HP

/runs away

 Run for your life !!! Angry

You made me think a ghastly thought  - in the gloom of my  dirigible hangar  , the border motif on the mirror does resemble  cogs  Shocked  Embarrassed
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Otto Von Pifka
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« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2016, 06:31:14 am »

the screen door could have been oxidized from the elements including the UV in sunlight.

as far as the furniture is concerned, sharp edges can be very hard to get coverage on as well as any molded ornate work. a sanded surface will definitely improve adhesion but be careful of sanding through on sharp edges. seams where two veneers butt together can be a pain, the paint and primer can keep developing a hairline crack right over it. sometimes you have to scrape a bit of a groove in the seam and putty it in to prevent it from happening.

also be aware of surfaces rubbing each other when thicker paint uses up any gaps between drawers and cabinet faces.

I have a pair of bad 60s dressers that had a god awful paper finish. my mom scraped off all the loose finish and sanded the rest then primered and painted with old school rustoleum brush on paint. that was 35 years ago and they look almost exactly the same today (crappy furniture painted over with hard ass paint) the thing with rustoleum is it pretty much does two different things, it dries to the touch in a few hours but is very fragile and prone to fingerprints. in a couple of weeks, it CURES to a hard epoxy like finish that's pretty much bullet proof. you got to find someplace to leave it apart to cure all the way before assembling and using it.

good luck with it! hope they get a new lease on life
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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2016, 07:11:17 am »









Ah, yes! It's daylight in your part of the world.  Grin  The frame should be painted as discussed.  But you still have a lot of flat surfaces....



 The dressing table itself  is about 6 ft long , the mirror  approx  5 x 4 ft.

 Is that tape the type they  use for marine repairs and antiques?  It has sparked an old memory  of seeing it lying around  somewhere ?

 Most advice has recommended the primer you suggested  and enamel paint , with plenty of sanding at each layer.  The chalk paint mentioned to me   is probably just an expensive fad  for painting  school size suitcases . I will check out the hardware  chain store for  options

 The [carving ] on the  detail is the only redeeming feature and I had hoped to preserve it.  If worst comes to worst  the mirror is in good nick  and can be salvaged for   good use.  Now I have inspected in in the day light the trim detail is more  Baroque or Rococo  than Indonesian. But then  the style of  Italian designers of that era were heavily  influenced by the sea trade  and  the Eastern  designs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Baroque_interior_design






 The zebra does have me thinking...
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Prof. Cecily
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« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2016, 09:35:35 am »

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
The zebra treatment is fabulous.
After all, why give the piece a conscientiously workmanlike treatment when you could be splendidly over-the-top?

I remain yours,
Prof. Cecily
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Hurricane Annie
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New Zealand New Zealand



« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2016, 01:38:21 am »

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
The zebra treatment is fabulous.
After all, why give the piece a conscientiously workmanlike treatment when you could be splendidly over-the-top?

I remain yours,
Prof. Cecily

Dearest Prof. Cecily

That was my thoughts.  If one is going to go to all that trouble  if you are not going to go all the way with it -

Take it to the giddy limits !!!
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Otto Von Pifka
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« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2016, 07:06:41 am »

my first instinct is to put down newspaper under the middle Cheesy

combine that with some animal head drawer pulls and it would rock the ark

looking at how torn up the edges are on the old laminate paper, you would be better off peeling away the worst of it. a heat gun would help considerably.

solvent to wash away any residual glue and then seal the bare wood to take primer and paint.

they look to be large blank pallets to lend artwork to, that zebra look is an awesome possibility!

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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2016, 05:59:52 pm »


Animal head drawer pulls or a similar alternative  could  lend them a  whole different dimension







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MWBailey
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"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

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« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2016, 04:12:17 am »

On peeling the printed paper off and sanding and refinishing the bare "wood":

70s furniture like that tends to use either particle board, as already delineated by Admiral Wilhelm, or plywood of a very cheap variety. Either type requires extensive sealing and priming before painting with any kind of design. I know from whence I speak; I used to work for a DIY Home Improvement chain (Handy Dan, if anybody's ever heard of it) here in the States. We prided ourselves on knowing whatinnaheck we were talking about when we told people how to do things, at my store at least.

I realize it's a real cast iron b*tch to do, but I really strongly recommend a couple of coats of shellac, whether you sand in between coats or only after the second one dries. Don't be fooled by spray-on finishes in a can that promise "that lacquered look" in one go; Trust me, I've actually sold the stuff and I know from hard and in some cases embarrassing experience that it never works out that way. The deeper (meaning the more properly-applied sealer, primer, and intermediary finish coats) the finish, the better the end result. I recommend using at least three sanded coats of Kilz, or a similar lacquer- or shellac-based primer (the kind intended mainly for sealing away waterstains on sheetrock surfaces before painting over them) AFTER the initial sealing shellac coats, especially on particle board, which will shock you to the core of your being when you see how paint-absorbent the stuff is. After at least two sanded coats of that, THEN apply a regular primer. No, I'm not joking. You'll need it for the trashy wood product this type of furniture tends to be made from.

After that, do your faux finish. Then, apply at least two sanded coats of either sprayed lacquer or sprayed polyurethane. AVOID WATERBASED POLYURETHANE LIKE THE PLAGUE! It makes an absolutely horrible finish.

I hope this helps.

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« Last Edit: August 20, 2016, 05:32:35 am by MWBailey » Logged

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MWBailey
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rtafStElmo
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2016, 05:00:30 am »

Addendum to the above:
There was, in the late 70s through the middle 80s, a tendency for some furniture manufacturers to make things from a substance that has borne and still bears several different names depending on which manufacturer made or used/uses it. I came to know it originally as "Hardboard (the name it was given in paneling and pegboard form)," and no, it most definitely is not the same stuff as hardiplank or whatever that stuff is being called this week. Hardiplank is actually pretty good stuff by comparison, though it is essentially made from similar materials. Hardboard, though, is basically just glorified cardboard (literally, pressed coarse paper and fibrous material) held together with a relatively stiff glue, pressed together (or at least it used to be so, back when I sold lumber and paint) using heat, steam and extreme pressure. it is even more difficult to seal and finish than particleboard or cheap lauan plywood, especially when the smooth paper covering is removed, which action exposes a substrate that is about the same as pasted paper napkins, and is pretty much equally impossible to paint, or to finish with anything other than more printed paper, or as the Admiral has suggested, wood veneer or formica.

ALSO: Particle Board is like a cheap SPONGE. In an unsealed state, it will absorb, absorb, and absorb until it absorbs so much of whatever liquid is being applied that the absorbtion causes the bonds between the particles it is composed of to loosen and let go, at which point the stuff crumbles like wet sawdust, which is in fact what it will be. Spray or brush uniformly only once and let it dry COMPLETELY before the next coat, even if it soaks in to the point where it looks like you didn't apply anything; I've told this to people so many times its like a nightmarish repetition dream in my head, and people never seem to believe me until they do as I said not to and irretrievably ruin the piece they're working on. IMPORTANT: allow at least twice the drying time recommended on the label of the product you are using. FEEL the surface before applying the next coat; if it feels cold, it's still wet. Let it dry another hour. Repeat this process until it no longer feels cold before proceeding. I know it seems absolutely ridiculously stupid, but believe me, with particle board it's necessary.

I grieve to add this, but if it's really cheap particle board, it may require multiple coats of both sealer/shellac and primer to fill and cover over the pores and gaps between particles. Sorry, but that's the nature of the beast in some cases. Fortunately, Kilz and other similar products are usually designed to both fill gaps (albeit not very thickly) as well as seal surfaces to at least some degree.

I've heard of the Rustoleum method, and know from firsthand experience that it actually works as Mr. Pifka described and well on wooden (meaning ash, fir, ponderosa pine, whitewood, maple, etc.) props and the like, but I have never tried it on particleboard; unfortunately, the one time I heard of a customer using it thus was one in which they didn't listen to the warning about letting it dry COMPLETELY before putting more on, even if it all soaks in to the point of disappearing - and it reportedly reacted just as I described above, resulting in the person returning to the store and demanding their money back, etc. ...

Fair warning. Again, please pardon my acerbic language.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2016, 05:50:46 am by MWBailey » Logged
Lepidoptera
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« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2016, 03:42:29 am »

I have not tried it myself for this application, but Krylon Fusion spray paint is advertised to stick to plastic, even things like plastic patio chairs and such. I would think it had possibilities for this too.
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Hurricane Annie
Zeppelin Captain
*****
New Zealand New Zealand



« Reply #24 on: August 21, 2016, 06:18:09 am »

On peeling the printed paper off and sanding and refinishing the bare "wood":

70s furniture like that tends to use either particle board, as already delineated by Admiral Wilhelm, or plywood of a very cheap variety. Either type requires extensive sealing and priming before painting with any kind of design. I know from whence I speak; I used to work for a DIY Home Improvement chain (Handy Dan, if anybody's ever heard of it) here in the States. We prided ourselves on knowing whatinnaheck we were talking about when we told people how to do things, at my store at least.

I realize it's a real cast iron b*tch to do, but I really strongly recommend a couple of coats of shellac, whether you sand in between coats or only after the second one dries. Don't be fooled by spray-on finishes in a can that promise "that lacquered look" in one go; Trust me, I've actually sold the stuff and I know from hard and in some cases embarrassing experience that it never works out that way. The deeper (meaning the more properly-applied sealer, primer, and intermediary finish coats) the finish, the better the end result. I recommend using at least three sanded coats of Kilz, or a similar lacquer- or shellac-based primer (the kind intended mainly for sealing away waterstains on sheetrock surfaces before painting over them) AFTER the initial sealing shellac coats, especially on particle board, which will shock you to the core of your being when you see how paint-absorbent the stuff is. After at least two sanded coats of that, THEN apply a regular primer. No, I'm not joking. You'll need it for the trashy wood product this type of furniture tends to be made from.

After that, do your faux finish. Then, apply at least two sanded coats of either sprayed lacquer or sprayed polyurethane. AVOID WATERBASED POLYURETHANE LIKE THE PLAGUE! It makes an absolutely horrible finish.

I hope this helps.

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Do not

fear ofdending. I always take your posts with a grain of salt and a good handful of humour.

I grew up around processed wood,  long disturbing story I won't digress into,  and am aware of its limitations.  Bottom line if the primer and paint don't work on the smaller pieces  - the larger ones are being   scrapped  and a wall painted .

The units appear to be a solid wood   and MDF particle board  combination . The frames are wood and the fronts are MDF. The laminate is a very thin  coating . In the past I have used old fee  paint on old free furniture  with varying results .  Usually some where between  flaking off and not setting. I am always wary of sales staff who say "I'd  just go for it "

 This time   I have a zismer  primer and an acrylic enamel.  ... and crossed fingers ....

Others have instructed to  sand heavily between coats , use a reliable primer   and do a few coats. 
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