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Thread: Durable Wood for (Possibly) Painted Project?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Austin, TX
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    Durable Wood for (Possibly) Painted Project?

    I am looking to build a few large tables for use in a commercial application. Basically bar height tables which will see daily use (Table top miniature games being played on it). The thing about the top is that it will not typically see much wear as it'll always be covered by something. The edges of the table will subjected to scuffing and a lot of touching.

    I am thinking that paint is a quick and easy repair for semi-annual touching up, vs a film finish. Also not looking to spend a lot of money on the raw materials. So "paint grade" wood sounds like a winner.
    Catch being that I want it to be durable from dinging. So pine is pretty much right out. (At least for the high wear areas).

    Any thoughts?

    Here is an example of this type of table I snapped a pic of (out in the Seattle area.)
    2018-03-24 17.13.45.jpg

  2. #2
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    Jan 2019
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    Fairbanks AK
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    Round or square top? You could use, it sounds like, pine for the field and then a tough wood for the edges.

    I am building a wood shed array for a guy from my church now and using quarter sawn Doug Fir heartwood to protect the plywood floor from work boots.

    For round table tops, I would look for air dried hickory and a steam box. You could also use ash.

    If the top is square, sky is the limit. You could box in the top with all manner of tough kild dried stuff, white oak, hickory, red oak even.

  3. #3
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    It'll be rectangular.

  4. #4
    The canvas glued to good one side plywood treatment ,then painted would be ideal. You can glue two sheets of plywood
    at one time by putting them face to face with a plastic tarp between them . Spring clamps around perimeter and something heavy in the middle is all the clamping needed. Then you paint it. Yes, I think I've mentioned it before.
    There is a guy on you tube who has several pieces on tecnique and uses.

  5. #5
    I'd look at poplar which paints really well. Also, to prevent edge damage rout a quarter round both top and bottom.
    Dave Anderson
    Chester Toolworks LLC
    Chester, NH

  6. #6
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    Plywood for the big horizontal surface. Plywood with a hardwood face. In my area, maple is the least expensive, and it takes paint nicely -- no grain pattern telegraphing through the paint. For the edges, again maple, but lumber. Either soft or hard maple, whichever is less expensive in your area.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Anderson NH View Post
    I'd look at poplar which paints really well. Also, to prevent edge damage rout a quarter round both top and bottom.
    +1 to Dave's suggestion. Cheap, durable and tough.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    twomiles from the "peak of Ohio
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    There are some tables out there, that have a metal "L" shaped edge all around the table....

    Maybe inlet into the top surface until flush...Counter sunk "trim" screws to attach to the edge....miter the corners, either as 4 pieces, or a wrap around single piece. Edge of the metal can stick slightly below the edge of the wood top.

  9. #9
    The green heart poplar is ok. The white sap stuff is not ok without canvas or copper naphthalate.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Fulks View Post
    The green heart poplar is ok. The white sap stuff is not ok without canvas or copper naphthalate.

    I've never used poplar. I assume the green heart is more durable? How does one select it? (I mean, is it as simple as finding boards with a bit of green on them?)

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Alder also paints well. Hard enough for Fender to make guitar bodies out of.
    ~mike

    scope creep

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Erich Weidner View Post
    I've never used poplar. I assume the green heart is more durable? How does one select it? (I mean, is it as simple as finding boards with a bit of green on them?)
    It's pretty easy to get the green poplar ,since many poplar buyers want the white sapwood to stain into walnut ,or cherry !
    The dark green poplar is best ,but any amount of green for exterior use is much better than the white.

  13. #13
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    As I'm thinking about it... when we are saying paints well, what do we mean? No grain showing? Paint sticks better?

  14. #14
    Baltic birch plywood for the top, and for the edging, whatever clear, close grained hardwood is cheap in your area. Poplar, maple (hard or soft) birch, cherry, alder, or similar should be fine.
    Last edited by Andrew Seemann; 08-03-2020 at 11:48 PM.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Erich Weidner View Post
    As I'm thinking about it... when we are saying paints well, what do we mean? No grain showing? Paint sticks better?
    Yes. Grain isn't pronounced, and the paint sticks good. No oils, excessive tannins, or other things that make you say 4 letter words while painting. Red cedar, doug fir, softwoods with hard latewood and soft earlywood, oaks, ash, walnut, are all woods that I don't like painting. Very hard woods can sometimes be difficult, especially if the surface glazes or work hardens while machining or smoothing. I'm thinking of hard maple and beech here, a good primer (oil or shellac based) is important on these woods. Actually a good primer is important for all woods, but especially those.

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