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Water bourne product to deal with MDF?

Hi folks,
does any one know of a decent waterbased primer for mdf that will perform like, say, cover stain?
I have a feeling it wont exist but putting it out there in hope. Any experience that will tell me different will be welcomed.
I love the way cover stain allows you to cut back the raised fibres and leave a smooth finish, but i dont like the toxic nature of using and cleaning up after spraying it.

Hi zen

The product you require will be zinseer bulls eye 1-2-3 it does everything the cover stain but it is water based = result
Hope this helps :slight_smile:

Linden House
The Street
Coney Weston
Bury St Edmunds
IP31 1HG

01359 221190

Pack sizes
500ml, 1L, 2.5L, 5L, 10L (5L and 10L only available in White)
Tintable to most pastel, mid-tone and deep-tone shades

Product overview
Bulls Eye® 1-2-3 is our classic universal interior and exterior, water-based, primer-sealer. It offers low odour application, quick drying convenience and excellent adhesion to glossy surfaces.
Bulls Eye® 1-2-3 effectively primes and seals a wide variety of interior and exterior surfaces. A ‘bond coat’ primer that’s great for hard-to-stick surfaces, it offers excellent adhesion without sanding. Bulls Eye® 1-2-3 also prevents rust formation when applied over clean ferrous metal such as iron and steel.
Bulls Eye® 1-2-3 contains a biocide that protects the dried coating against fungal degradation, making it ideal for high-humidity areas such as bathrooms and laundry rooms. It offers effective resistance to fungal degradation on the underside and surface of the primer film, prolonging the life of your paint job.
Bulls Eye® 1-2-3 is great for blocking stains. It permanently and completely seals graffiti, grease spots, tar and asphalt – inside and out. For oil and water stains, fire and smoke damage try our next generation Bulls Eye® 1-2-3 Plus.
Bulls Eye® 1-2-3 is rust inhibitive and ideal for new metal. It resists flash rusting in its “wet” state – and provides rust resistance for the life of the coating. It dries to a smooth, tight, water-resistant film that is perfect for painting iron railings, steel doors, metal panels, duct work, galvanised gutters – any interior or exterior metal surface.
It has a quick 30 minute drying time and 1 hour dry time and can be tinted towards the colour of your topcoat (mid-tone colours only) to eliminate the need for one coat of paint – saving both time and money.
Key features and benefits

Tintable to most pastel, mid-tone and deep-tone shades
Interior and exterior
Adheres to all surfaces without sanding
Seals stains, graffiti and tannin bleed
Contains a biocide that protects the dried coating against fungal degradation
Rust inhibitive – great for new metal
Dries in 30 minutes, recoatable in 1 hour
Tintable to mid tone colours
Deep tint version available (1L only)
Application information
10m2 per Litre
Touch dry35 minutesHard dry7 daysRecoatable1 hourThinningAdd 10% clean water and stir thoroughly. Note that thinning the primer may affect its stain blocking properties.
Enquire about this product

Bulls Eye® 1-2-3 Safety Data Sheet
(157 kB)
Download .pdf
Bulls Eye® 1-2-3 Technical Data Sheet
(129 kB)
Download .pdf
Related Literature

Bulls Eye® 1-2-3 Leaflet
(928 kB)
Download .pdf

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Linden House
The Street
Coney Weston
Bury St Edmunds
IP31 1HG

01359 221190

1 Like

Thanks Richard, so have you found this allows you to cut back the fibres on mdf? I used it a number of years ago on an adhesion problem, but it didnt perform as well as cover stain so i lost confidence in it.


Fibres on MDF board is a completely different ball game, most good quality boards don’t have any major issues with fibres, yes they “fur up” but that’s expected, in my experience the thinner, cheaper gauges have a fibrous problem, but having said that the 123 should still be adequate.


01359 221190

Oh ok, so are you speaking from your experience with this product and mdf or making your best guess? I was guide toward cover stain some time ago, here, to solve the fibre issue…in my experience even the finer quality mdf and the moisture resitant mdf raise their fibre when painted with water based systems, they can appear to rub back but will rise again on aplication of the following coat of water based product.
As i said in the initial post i guess it dont exist; water based with the results of solvent on mdf.

living in hope, in search always of the better product.

Hi Richard,
i did a trial with the Bullseye 123 plus on a peice of mdf, and was impressed ! I then sprayed a a handmade bespoke kitchen made in Tulip and moisture resistant mdf, and got sweet results.
I sprayed the 1st ct primer in white, rubbed back using mirka goldflex 320,( I have a festool dts sanding kit with extractor but went for a less aggressive option using my mirka hand sander extracted to the festool. I took took two pads joined and made holes with a screwdriver for extraction, it works a treat and stays put on the handsander.) sprayed another ct of primer as undercoat tinted to f&b old white, rubbed back again with 320 goldflex, then sprayed two coats of Teknos semi matt, mixed to Old White…A good match at that.
Results were very sweet.
the mdf sample showed no signs of fibre at all, and the joiner i was working for commented it looks like a melamine finish.
I am well happy to find a water based alternative for mdf, thanks for the shout :wink:

1 Like

Hi I used bullseye 123 on some radiator covers and it firred up. Is the 123 plus a better water based option?