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Thread: Semi-gloss over gloss?

  1. #1

    Semi-gloss over gloss?

    My customer chose Minwax Mission Oak stain-poly finish wanting however a semi-gloss finish. Mission Oak only comes in satin and gloss finish. Is it workable to spray a couple of coats of semi-gloss poly on top of the gloss and rub it out? I'm at a loss because I have only used lacquer for the last 30 years. Thanks,

    Ron Williams

  2. #2
    On yachts it is not uncommon to do all the buildup varnish coats in gloss and then finish with a couple top cats of satin, where desired. Or even simply rubbing out the gloss with fine bronze wool to knock down the sheen.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    North Prairie, WI
    I always do any topcoat build up with gloss and only do the last coat with some other sheen. I believe doing multiple coats with a semi-gloss or satin tends to destroy the look of the wood grain. You don't get that problem with gloss since there are no flateners in it. Just make sure you are using the same product (or one known to be compatible) for the final coat as the earlier gloss coats.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    You can buy flatters for both OB and WB topcoats. Follow the directions to cut the gloss to any sheen desired.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    McKinney, TX
    You could also mix the satin and the gloss together then spray. I’d probably spray some gloss first then mix the two and spray a final coat
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
    Always use the word "impossible" with extreme caution

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Denver, CO
    I believe you're referring to Minwax polyshades stain+poly combo finish. FWIW, this is often regarded as one of the downright worst finishes available. I tried it twice on a workbench and I 100% agree. It's terrible stuff. I would urge you to do a sample on some scrap first. A better route would be a stain, then topcoat, and minwax has semi-gloss polyurethane available which would solve the sheen problem.

    On a related note, I know a lot of people recommend gloss for building up the finish and then satin or semi gloss on the final coat if desired. I've had bad experiences when applying a final satin coat on a very glossy surface. I get this subtle crackling/crazing effect. I later read about this in a woodworking/finishing book by Peter Diablo in which he described this exact phenomenon. I may use gloss for the first coat or two, but switch to satin/semi before any appreciable buildup. I've never noticed a dulling. In fact I think the finish appears more consistent.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Match the chosen product using a lacquer based toner You are used to using lacquer. The poly/stain is really just a toner so nothing special. I would also strongly recommend allowing customers to choose colour, gloss level and no more. They are not skilled at product choice. That's why they pay to get the job done, even if they do not realise this. Cheers

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Issaquah, Washington
    FWIW- I always use gloss, or in the case of WaterLox - OSF, and then "rubout" with MicroMesh to the desired sheen. This allows my clients to pick the final sheen that they want and I don't have the hassle of trying to prove that it is what they selected from the finish sample boards. Also, to I am not a big fan of the solids that create finish sheens less than gloss, as in "did I thoroughly shake/mix the solids in enough"?

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