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TIP: Finisher’s Glossary: Silicon or Silicone?

aerosol finish finisher finishes flexner furniture pledge polishes sand scratch silicone the finishing store woodworkers

Silicon and silicone are not the same thing, and the terms are used inaccurately so often that I thought it might be worthwhile to explain the difference.

Simply put, silicon (rhymes with the man’s name, Don) is sand, and silicone (rhymes with “shown”) is an oil or gel that is used in furniture polishes, caulk and breast implants. Silicone is made from silicon but is clearly very different.

It’s Silicon Valley, not silicone valley as it’s often called.

The most egregious misuse of these two words I think I ever heard was a finish teacher explaining to the class that they shouldn’t use Pledge on their furniture because it contains sand and will scratch the finish. Pledge and most other aerosol furniture polishes do contain some oily silicone, but none contain sand (silicon)!



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