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TIP: Controlling Sheen: Making Semi-Gloss or Dead Flat

bob bob flexner coat finish finishers finishes finishing flexner glossy Pouring off some gloss sheen the finishing store wood woodwork woodworkers

You aren’t limited to the sheens of finishes available from most suppliers and stores—usually just gloss and satin, sometimes semi-gloss. You can make any sheen you want from just one can of satin finish.

First, let the flatting agent (the stuff you have to stir into suspension before use) settle to the bottom of the can. The easy way to do this is to tell the store clerk not to shake the can. Otherwise, let the can sit undisturbed on a shelf for a week or two.

Then pour off some of the gloss finish at the top of the can. Leave the finish with the flatting agent at the bottom of the can.

Now you have two parts: one gloss and one very flat. You can mix these to get any sheen you want. You’ll have to experiment a little, because you don’t know the sheen of the mix until the finish has dried.


Keep in mind that it’s the last coat of finish you apply that is most responsible for determining the sheen. So if the sheen of one coat is too glossy or flat, you can change it with the next.



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