Priming Bare Wood

Successfully priming bare wood is important for three reasons. The first is to seal the wood by preventing moisture from absorbing in the wood, to protect it. The second is to provide a clean fresh surface for finish paint to bond. The third, to provide a base coat preventing the finish paint from being absorbed into the wood.

Ever wonder how the professionals achieve those high gloss finishes or iridescent-like semi-gloss finishes? Professionals will often apply two coats of primer and at minimum two coats of finish.

Use a solid oil-based high-hide primer such as Zinsser Cover-Stain found at most hardware or home stores. Cover-Stain can be finish coated in 2 hours and sticks well to all surfaces without sanding.

When priming bare pine wood, a light sanding prior to applying the finish coat is all that’s required to achieve nice results. Poplar wood is a different story; poplar wood is very absorbent of paints. It acts as a sponge. The best way to achieve professional results on poplar is to apply two coats of primer and two coats of finish, sanding the first primer coat more heavily than the second. For best results, wait 4 hours for primer to dry, then sand.

TIPS
– use Zinsser Bulls Eye High Hide Odorless primer for poplar, you may be able to skip 2 coats of primer

– use a black china bristle brush for applying oil-based primers. Some synthetic brushes can also be used.

– oil-based primers require mineral spirits (thinner) for clean up.
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