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Clarity with Satin Finishes

wood finishing

by Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher


Since the early 70's satin finishes have been widely used in manufacturing for a variety of reasons. The main one being to hide the fact that "wood and wood products" like MDF, particle board and paper thin veneers were being used instead of the more expensive solid core substrates and thicker veneers. This, along with stains, shaders, toners and glazes, would allow even photo paper veneers to trick the eye.

Here are some tips to help with the clarity of your finish with a satin effect.

  1. Dyes remain clear, stains contain solid pigments.

  2. Glazes are the same as stains but have no binder.

  3. Always build the finish with a gloss for clarity.

  4. Use a satin finish as the final topcoat.

  5. Use gloss for the topcoat if you plan to rub out to a satin finish.

  6. Rubbing out a satin topcoat will actually raise the level of gloss!



Visiting Atlanta? Attend one of Alan's upcoming highly informative Highland Woodworking wood finishing seminars:


May 12  Antiques Show & Tell

June 6  French Polish Workshop

June 9  Antiques Show & Tell

June 13  Coloring with Wood




Visit Highland Woodworking's Online
Wood Finishing Supplies Department




Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at anoelfurniturere@bellsouth.net.


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