I'm using Minwax satin polyurethane varnish to go over some 15 year old wood
moldings that looked completely flat. I wanted statin (i.e. no shine)!
However, after applying the varnish and drying time, it turned out WAY too
1. What an I doing wrong?
2. Is there any way to dull the shine?
Did you stir the varnish? The flatteners that make the kill the gloss
are additives. If you don't stir well, you'll get a shinier finish
than advertised. Just apply another coat once you've verified that
it's the satin you want.
They do that a lot with floors. Put one satin coat on top of a gloss
coat - supposedly it makes a more durable finish.
0. Didn't do a test piece first (apparently). That is always a
particularly when you're using a material/process you've not previously
You can try Rico's suggestion but probably won't be the answer. There
are flatting agents that can be added (you'll need a good paint/finish
supply to find it, though, most likely) or you can simply buff w/ a
steel wool or pumice to accomplish similar objective. Again, finish a
test piece and experiment first.
As others said, likely you didn't stir enough to mix the flatteners
in, so stir and apply another coat. Or, if you go the buff out route,
use 000 or 0000 steel wool to dull it. FWIW, I usually use gloss
varnish and dull it with steel wool as I feel that gives a deeper,
hand rubbed, looked to the finish than either semi-gloss or satin
Minwax's satin is almost a semi-gloss. You can try another brand like
Carver-Tripp or Parks. One of those brands, and I don't remember which,
has a semi-gloss that is less glossy than MW.
Lightly sand the current coat and put the new brand over it.
What I normally do is put on a coat of gloss (which is more or less pure
polyurethane varnish (consult Flexnor for the pedantic version) and make
my last coat the desired sheen.
Varnish sheen is achieved by putting "flatting agents" -- often talc --
which is the powderry stuff you stirred up.
Assuming you stirred thoroughly, you might look at "Flat" or another
coat of "Satin".
You can also try buffing it with some steel wool.
As always, make yourself a few finish samples out of similar offcuts.
If you don't experiment on scrap, you're experimenting on your project,
and poly is difficult to undo.
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