I would like to paint an old set of bedroom furniture that was my mom and dad's they bought in the 40's. The furniture is veneer. I assume I need to sand it before painting it. What is the best type of paint to use?
Well, since veneer is real wood, you'd tackle that furniture just like you'd tackle painting wood.
Most likely the existing veneer has some sort of finish on it, like varnish or lacquer. Polyurethane wasn't patented by the Bayer Company, (the same people that make Aspirin) until 1956, so it won't be polyurethane on that furniture.
You would sand the existing finish (whatever it is) down to increase the surface area for the new coating to stick to.
Then you would paint. Now, the sides and the back of the furniture don't get much wear, but the top of most pieces of furniture is a working surface, just like a table top.
To get good service out of a working surface, like a table top, you need a paint that dries to a HARD film. Generally, latex paints are simply too soft to provide good service there. Oil based paints and alkyd based polyurethane based paints (which are really just hardwood flooring polyurethane that's been tinted to give it colour and opacity) both provide the hardness needed, but are being phased out because of the solvents that evaporate from them as they dry. So, if you used an oil based paint, you wouldn't be able to buy any more of it for touch ups after September 1 (if you live in Canada).
What I'd recommend is that you use a kind of water based paint that I've used several times, and I can't explain why, but this water based paint dries as hard and durable as an oil based paint. It's made by Comex, which is the largest paint company in Mexico. Comex sells it's products in Canada and the United States through a collection of local paint store chains. In Canada, it's General Paint that sells Comex products, and they call this paint I'm telling you about "Envirogard". I don't know if every chain uses that same name or not.
On this web site:
look in the list of paint store chains under the heading "Company Info" or "Our Companies" at the bottom of the web page. If you recognize any of the names in that list as being local to you, then that paint store chain will sell Comex products. Maybe tell them about Envirogard paint sold by General Paint in Canada, and see if they sell the same thing under the same or a different name.
Also, Comex now has a waterborne alkyd. A traditional oil based alkyd is really just a "clump" of souped up fatty acids. The degree of unsaturation on those fatty acids has been greatly increased, and this is the reason why traditional oil based alkyd paints will dry in a few hours to a harder film than the old linseed oil based paints would dry to in a few days. Those clumps of fatty acids would be dissolved in mineral spirits. When you spread that traditional oil based alkyd paint, the first thing that happened is that the mineral spirits would evaporate from the wet paint. Then the remaining alkyd resin film would absorb oxygen from the air, and that oxygen would crosslink all the souped up alkyd resins together, thereby transforming the alkyd resins into a solid film.
What Comex is now selling in their stores is a waterborne alkyd. The alkyd resins have been modified to make them soluble in water. The film formation process is exactly the same, except that what evaporates from the film is water, not mineral spirits.
Considering the Envirogard is still technically an acrylic "latex" paint, I would check it's adhesion to the sanded varnish on your furniture. Sand the surface of the existing varnish down, and then paint with the Envirogard or waterborn alkyd. Allow to dry. Now, take some ordinary masking tape (not painter's masking tape) and stick it down tightly onto the dried Envirogard or waterborne alkyd. pull the tape off quickly, and see if any of the paint pulls up with the tape. If only a bit of paint comes off, you're OK, but if a lot of paint comes off, you need to do something to improve the adhesion of the new paint to the old varnish. In that case, I would still sand the varnish, prime over it with a conventional oil based alkyd primer, and then paint over that primer with either the Envirogard or the Comex waterborne alkyd. Then check the adhesion again using masking tape.
So far as I know, alkyd primers are still available and won't be being phased out effective September 1.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Nestor,
Wow thanks Nestor!! I will look for the Envirogard.
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