I've completed my mission style coffee table and am very happy with
the results. My last remaining step is to get the gloss finish to
become satin. (the finish is about 10 light wipe on coats of wiping
varnish made by mixing 1/3 Behlems Rock Hard Varnish with 1/3 BLO and
Is 0000 steel wool and wax the best method to get to satin when a
wipe on varnish is used? Should I search out Liberon steel wool or is
the std. stuff OK? Do I go in only one direction? (long/light sweeps
with the grain?)
Is there a better process then the steel wool/wax method?
Your eye will tell you if 0000 is the look you're after. Don't
over-complicate things by worrying about grain direction, etc. though. Just
buff it down in whatever direction you decide to go. I would do circular
because circular gives a cross hatch to the scruff and when done
sufficiently, will create more of a satin look than it will a scruffed look.
You really don't want to see the individual scratch lines - you want them to
blend into one another.
I have no idea what "Liberon" steel wool is, but like I said, don't
over-complicate this. Use a light touch when you buff it down so that you
don't dig in at all. You're just looking to scratch up the surface, not
I would suggest that the next time you simply get the right material. A
satin finish will give you the look you want with an unbroken surface.
Steel wool over gloss isn't the worst solution in the world, but using the
right product first generally results in a better finish.
It will look ok - that's what I had stated in my original reply. That said,
it is better not to open up the surface of a finish such as will happen when
rubbing down with steel wool. It's a marginal thing, I agree, but it is
nonetheless better not to open the surface. If you want a satin look - use
a satin finish. I suspect the muddy look you experienced was more a
reflection of the product you used.
Thanks for the rubbing tips but all my research suggested that satin
products reduce clarity and adhesion. Getting to satin by starting
with gloss produces superior results. (although more labor intensive)
Ok - I'll accept that. I didn't know that there were adhesion issues with
satin. I've never considered the clarity issues the way you and another
poster have, since I've always thought that one of the very attributes of a
satin finish was a reduced clarity. Both of your points make my earlier
reply to that other poster somewhat irrelevant now.
OK, I'm with Mike on this one. If you are using the same product from
the same manufacturer (or you mix of same) what are the adhesion
issues? Are you saying that the flatteners make adhesion difficult?
Nope, just be sure to let the finish cure for a month first. Rubbing
might be easier with a harder finish. Try a couple of thin
topcoats made from Rock Hard and turps, no oil or maybe a
dash if the rag sticks.
Yes, you have the right process in mind.
Depending on the design and how much unfilled grain you have, steel
wool might leave lots of residue down in the detail lines and grain.
The gray dust can be really hard tro remove. So for an alternative you
can use a maroon syntheitic scrubbing pad.
You are 100% correct about using clear without flattners and buffing
down to a satin finish. However most of the people that are suggesting
this method are talking lacquer which is really easy to buff down. A
poly or varnish finish will take a lot longer to buff down. Just be
careful to use the same amout of work and pressure on all adjoing
surfaces. For instance, on a table top make sure you do a good even job
of buffing it.
Just lots of hand work. I suggest circular on all large flat surfaces
but on legs, etc, you will have to use strokes.
Buff it out to the satin look first. Then apply a good paste using the
same circular motions and buff pad or steel wool. When you buff out the
wax (and be sure you do buff it oiut well with terry cloth, etc.) you
will get your gloss finish back but don't worry too much. After a few
weeks the wax will tone way down to your satin look.
If it aint satin enough, you can strip the wax with naptha and start
Any 0000 steel wool is ok. I'm not sure you can even still get Liberion
brand but it was nothing special.
P.S., I use NC lacquer and like to spray only two thin coats if I can
get away with it. In this case I have seen very little if any
difference with using a semi gloss or satin in terms of clarity. I
think if you build 4 or 5 layers it would make a difference.
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