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Expert's Corner — gloss

Finishing the Finish

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Finishing the Finish

“A finish should invite you, it should ask to be rubbed and touched and it should feel like warm butter.” Of any single thing that has been the definitive selling point for my furniture through the years, it has been the finish. Proper equipment, skill and environment can produce this, but often, for the average guy, it just doesn’t happen to his satisfaction. The simple solution is to rub the finish, but here again, there are many different means of doing that. Some simply are a ‘Witch’s Brew’ that are not successful. Some are very labor intensive and some are...

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Remove Watermarks With Steel Wool

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Watermarks can happen in all finishes after they have aged and become somewhat porous. The marks appear light gray to white and are almost always very superficial – that is, right at the surface of the finish. So one way to remove them that almost always works well is to abrade off the very top surface of the finish with fine steel wool or abrasive pad. Usually, the discoloration will be removed with very little effort, as shown in the two accompanying pictures. The downside of removing watermarks in this manner is that you may change the sheen of the...

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TIP: How sheen works

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TIP: How sheen works

The sheen of a finish is measured as the reflectivity of the dried film – that is, the sharpness of an image reflected in the surface. Sheens vary from high gloss to very flat. The contrast between gloss and satin sheens is shown in the accompanying picture. Finishes are supplied in various sheens, determined by how much flatting agent, which is usually silica, is added. These are usually identified with names such as gloss, semi-gloss, satin, matte, eggshell and flat. The names reflect the manufacturer’s interpretation and are often chosen for marketing purposes, so the actual sheens you get can...

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TIP: Understanding Gloss and Satin

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TIP: Understanding Gloss and Satin

It’s the last coat you apply that establishes the sheen of your finish. In other words, if the sheen you’re getting is not to your liking, just apply another coat of finish on top with the sheen you want, and that’s what you’ll get. Sheens range from high gloss to dead flat. Gloss reflects an image almost like a mirror. Flat disrupts the image so much that you may not be able to see it at all. All finishes except gloss contain flatting agent that is responsible for the flatter look. This flatting agent (tiny particles of silica, which you...

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