Finishing for high gloss

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Forum topic by Notw posted 01-13-2014 02:50 PM 814 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Notw's profile


447 posts in 1176 days

01-13-2014 02:50 PM

I have a pine wood project that I am trying to get more depth and gloss to the finish. I have already sanded it and stained it with Minwax dark walnut stain after that I let it dry and then used Minwax high gloss polyurethane. So far I have done 2 coats of polyurethane with a light sanding with 220 grit in between. In order to get more depth and a higher shine should I simply continue to add coats or am I doing something wrong? Thank you.

8 replies so far

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 1784 days

#1 posted 01-13-2014 03:29 PM

You should have just hit it with rattlecan lacquer instead of the poly.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Notw's profile


447 posts in 1176 days

#2 posted 01-13-2014 03:44 PM

ok with that being noted for the next project, is there anything I can do to the current project to get more of a shine?

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2273 days

#3 posted 01-13-2014 03:45 PM

Keep going with the gloss poly and have no regrets. Many thin coats. Sand between only if you have to. Strain your material each time if you are brushing.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Notw's profile


447 posts in 1176 days

#4 posted 01-14-2014 03:49 PM

Lee thanks for the response, I added another coat last night without sanding and I think with a real light sand and a final 4th coat it will be about where I want it. I am definately trying the spray can shellac next time though.

View lumberjoe's profile


2893 posts in 1671 days

#5 posted 01-14-2014 06:15 PM

You can’t really get high gloss with polyurethane. The reason is it is a very soft finish. That’s not a bad thing – in fact that is one of it’s benefits.

No finish is complete when you are done applying it. Finishes need to be “finished”. Because poly is soft, it can’t be buffed to a high sheen like lacquer and shellac can.

Yes some will say gloss poly is glossy, however so is epoxy. The problem is they make your piece look like it is coated in plastic (well, because it is). Lacquer and shellac are a lot more “compact”. They blend with subsequent layers instead of sitting on top of them.

French polished shellac is one of the glossiest finishes around and the one most sought after. Close to the same depth can be achieved with some of the CAB acrylic lacquer. I still prefer the look of french polished shellac for ultimate sheen though. Because the french polishing process really compacts the finish, it does not look like there is a significant build.

Protection can be an issue though. Shellac is not the best choice for items that will come in contact with alcohol or other solvents. It is really easy to repair and it is a lot more protective than people give it credit for.


View Notw's profile


447 posts in 1176 days

#6 posted 01-14-2014 07:33 PM

Lumberjoe, thanks for the explanation of the finishes, I think i will be better equipped on my next project.

View dbray45's profile


3147 posts in 2200 days

#7 posted 01-14-2014 07:41 PM

If you want a really nice shine with oil based poly – let it sit, if it is warm outside, set it in the sun and warm up – you want it around 100 degrees (F) for a couple of hours – helps with the curing. Get some rottenstone – much finer than pumice. Using a wet rag (using mineral spirits) sprinkle a small amount on the surface and using light pressure, in a circular motion, buff the surface. When it gets to a nice polish, clean off the rottenstone and was with a good carnauba car wax.

You will have your shine

This method will shine a flat finish.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View katilicous's profile


36 posts in 1828 days

#8 posted 01-17-2014 08:41 PM

Have to agree with dbray45, make sure you have a thick clear and rub the finish out after it has cured.

-- If you fall, I'll be there. -Floor

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