What is your favorite finish gloss level?

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Forum topic by Alan S posted 09-06-2011 08:15 PM 1664 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Alan S

181 posts in 3279 days

09-06-2011 08:15 PM

Do you prefer satin or high-gloss finishes for your projects? Are there specific types of projects you tend to use satin and other that you tend to use high-gloss? What about semi-gloss? What about for closed- vs open-grained woods like cherry vs mahogany?


5 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4180 days

#1 posted 09-06-2011 09:58 PM

I can honestly say I like all gloss levels. Every project is different, and sometimes I feel like an ultra-glossy finish is part of my design. Other times, I want something that looks very natural and not glossy at all. I’ve even been known to mix surfaces on the same project, like a table with a glossy top and satin legs and apron.

I hear some guys say that they don’t like glossy finishes because they look too plastic. But there is a big difference between slapping on gloss polyurethane with a brush, and creating a flawless mirror finish. IMO, getting a glossy finish right is one of the most challenging things in woodworking.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3248 days

#2 posted 09-07-2011 08:55 PM

I agree with Charlie, I like all gloss levels. It all depends on the piece. For most cabinet or furniture work, I generally use semi-gloss. On table tops or my guitars I prefer a hand-rubbed finish, I use gloss lacquer, but it is a much nicer sheen after hand-rubbing. I do not like a hard gloss on anything.

I have Rustic Alder in my store and used satin on it and have used a flat inish on occasion.


View Les 's profile


201 posts in 2652 days

#3 posted 09-08-2011 03:19 PM

I use gloss on everything and then rub it out to what ever finish I want. Gloss doesn’t have the additions required for satin and doesn’t settle out. IMHO satin or semi-gloss isn’t as clear as gloss either. Kent and Charlie are right, a rubbed gloss finish is much different.


-- Stay busy....Stay young

View BobTheFish's profile


361 posts in 2514 days

#4 posted 09-08-2011 03:45 PM

Well, I’m one of those people charlie says complains all the time about gloss. I really prefer satin.
but charlie does have a point about some projects requiring gloss.

But also to betray my non-gloss brethren, I have to say that “natural” or oil only finishes get abused like glosses too much as well.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2652 days

#5 posted 09-09-2011 04:52 AM

I certainly agree with Charlie that different projects/woods call for different levels of gloss. However, I have noticed that high gloss does seem to sell. It also seems that rustic/recycled wood often benefits from a high gloss finish.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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