How To Get High Gloss Finish On Wood? (Step-by-Step Guide)
How To Get High Gloss Finish On Wood? Many individuals prefer glossy wood treatment due to the effectiveness with which it can highlight the natural beauty of the wood.
Surfaces like tabletops and kitchen cabinets that receive a lot of abuse throughout their service life are well protected by the high gloss wood finish, which performs a fantastic job safeguarding these surfaces.
However, many people interested in making their home improvements find it takes work to achieve a flawless, lovely, and smooth finish.
But, how to get a high gloss finish on wood?
Because of this, we have compiled complete instructions on acquiring a high gloss finish on the wood finish to make your work simpler and save you the cost of hiring a professional to do the task.
VIDEO: Easy Gloss Woodworking Finish
How To Get High Gloss Finish On Wood? 5 Steps
Tips: Best way to get a gloss Finish.
Lacquer or varnish is the best way to give wood a high-gloss finish. After the wood is ready, you can spray the lacquer on it. If you want to varnish, you can either spray it on or use a high-quality natural brush.
- First, the surface of the wood needs to be sanded down until it is smooth.
- Next, a grain filler should be applied, followed by lacquer or varnish.
- Finish the work by wet-sanding it with ultra-fine sandpaper and buffing it to achieve a polished look and feel.
- This will produce results that appear to have been done by a professional.
- The grain-filling technique is a vital component of the whole procedure and is essential for open-grained wood species such as walnut, oak, and mahogany.
Polishing to a Mirror-Like Gloss Finish
Finishing a piece of wood, so it is lovely, smooth, and devoid of imperfections is one of the most challenging problems woodworkers face.
Let’s face it: only a few of us have spray booths, and the conditions in our businesses could be more conducive to producing high-quality finishes.
Our finish usually contains trace amounts of dust and other particulate matter almost all the time.
This is to be anticipated.
The good news is that virtually ANY finish may be enhanced somehow, and this improvement takes place long after the last coat has been applied.
The term for this procedure is “rubbing out.”
Abrading the surface to the point where it is lovely and smooth is all involved in the rubbing out process.
If you take it to high enough grit, you can polish the surface to a high level.
If you stop sooner at a lower grit, you will be able to obtain the perfect finish, whether it be satin, semi-gloss, or matte.
Waiting for the finish to cure correctly is essential in this process.
Even when a finish has become dry to the touch, there is still some additional waiting time before it reaches its maximum hardness level.
The more resistant the finish is to being rubbed out, the better it will respond.
It is challenging to maintain a straight face when discussing this phrase, which is true.
Wait three to four weeks until everything is finished if you wish to err on caution.
Because finishes can vary significantly from brand to brand and formulation to formulation, and because environmental conditions also play a factor, you will want to err on the side of caution and give the finish plenty of time to cure to achieve the best possible results.
The procedure of rubbing out consists of three steps (not counting pore-filling), and it calls for the use of some specific equipment as well as supplies.
After conducting some additional studies, you shouldn’t be scared to try a few different approaches in this field because many choices and possibilities are available.
Glossy wood finish Advantages
- Easy-to-clean high-gloss surfaces. The shiny surface can be cleaned with a damp cloth.
- Glossy surfaces reflect more light, making small spaces appear more prominent.
- Glossy finishes can bring out the wood’s actual color. A spotless gloss on old wooden furniture can make it look years younger.
- Mirror-like finishes make wood more appealing. New or old, the mirror-like glossy finish is stunning.
How to Glass-Finish Wood
Getting a professional high gloss paint mirror finish requires the correct procedure, products, and techniques.
It involves leveling and polishing the bare wood surface of your wood floors.
Second, wet sand with ultra-fine sandpaper and buff.
No special equipment or knowledge is needed. Instead, effort and patience are needed.
- 150-, 220-, 320-, and 400-grit aluminum oxide sandpaper; 400-, 600-, 800-, and 1000-grit silicon carbide sandpaper for wet sanding
- Tack Cloth
- Hand protection
- Wood filler of choice
- Scraper plastic
- Spray paintbrushes (optional)
- Cotton swabs
- Attachment-equipped vacuum
What Characteristics Contribute to the Shine of a Surface?
Light reflection is the key to achieving a glossy appearance; the more light that can be reflected, the glossier the surface will appear.
Therefore, a flat and smooth surface will reflect light the most effective.
When light strikes a surface, it either diffuses into the surrounding space or is reflected in our sight at an angle complementary to the incident angle (bounced in different directions).
For example, the light will be diffused rather than reflected when it strikes an uneven surface, one that has open wood pores, or even one that has fine scratches.
Depending on the dispersed light, the completed surface will appear semigloss, satin, or matte.
We employ a different approach since applying a perfectly smooth finish straight from the spray gun or paint brush is thorny.
Instead, we constructed a thick finish to be sanded level and buffed smooth.
Buffing involves progressively finer abrasives, which result in excellent scratches, even though this process may appear counterproductive.
On the other hand, the surface seems glossy because the scratches are far more minor than what can be seen by the naked eye.
Choosing the Appropriate Ending
Although it is conceivable, in theory, to apply a finish in such a way that it emerges entirely smooth and shiny without needing to buff it, in practice, this is challenging.
Therefore, since we will need to sand the final coat and then buff it, selecting a finish such as shellac or lacquer makes the most sense.
Why shellac when you can use lacquer?
Sanding and rubbing the coating surface until it is smooth is all required to make almost any coating flat.
On the other hand, the majority of coatings that are water-based and those that are oil-based grow up in separate layers.
When sanding or rubbing the last coat, it is simple to cut through to the layers below.
However, any spot you cut through will leave behind “witness lines,” which are fragile traces that look like puddles.
To avoid them, you would need to ensure that the final layer was sufficiently thick to allow sanding and buffing without the risk of breaking through.
That’s not impossible, but it won’t be easy.
On the other hand, each layer of shellac or lacquer blends seamlessly into the one that came before it.
When you are through building up the finish, you will have one thick layer, and there will be no witness lines.
Because shellac and lacquer both have relatively low melting temperatures, the heat generated from buffing encourages more significant scratches to flow and mix.
However, if you buff these finishes too vigorously and the surface gets too hot, the finish may melt off.
This can happen if you are overly forceful with the buffing.
There are always compromises to be made in life; do so with caution.
Are You Porous? Fill ‘Em
The simplest method for achieving a smooth finish is to begin with a flat surface and maintain that flatness throughout the process.
First, sand the raw wood until it is very smooth and flat, and then, as dust nibs, brush marks, or orange peel appear, sand them away using fine grit sandpaper.
This raises the issue of the vast pores in open-grain woods such as mahogany, walnut, koa, and other similar species.
Filling in those pores is necessary to have a smooth surface on your wood furniture.
However, you want to fill them with something other than finish since it continues to shrink over time, and ultimately those pores will show up again, marring the otherwise smooth surface you have created.
Instead, it would help if you began by filling the pores with an inert material that will not shrink.
Its name, pore filler, shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
Although you may get oil-based pore filler, the water-based filler is the one that I use and recommend.
It is possible to apply it straight to unfinished wood, but in most cases, I put it on after the first coat of finish that is very thin.
In any case, the process of applying is precisely the same.
The vast majority of water-based fillers are sold in extra-thick forms; therefore, you must dilute them with water until they have the consistency of cream.
Next, scrub the filler into the pores with fine ScotchBrite®, and then quickly remove any excess you may have created.
I use an old credit card as a squeegee to remove the excess, holding it perpendicular to the grain of the wood and pulling it in the same direction as the grain.
Remove as much as you can with the card; the goal is to only have filler in the pores left over.
After allowing it to dry for a whole night, lightly sand away any residue using paper with 320-grit grit.
Construct Using Gloss
Create a gloss coat over the entire surface.
There is a flattening agent in the finish, so even while it is possible to make a satin or matte surface smooth enough to reflect light, the finish will appear hazy due to the agent.
Start with wood that is already flat and smooth, and try to keep each layer as lovely and flat as you can.
Following applying many layers, the surface should be block sanded until no pores or grain lines are visible.
Sanding should not be done between each layer, but you should get rid of any pores or dust nibs before applying the final coat.
You can apply as many coats as you feel necessary to achieve the effect; make sure that the last coat is applied over a very smooth layer of the one that came before it.
Before applying the final layer, I give the item a light sanding with 600-grit paper.
Adjust your level and your buffs.
Allow the finish a sufficient amount of time to dry. When it is dry, buffing to a sheen can be done more quickly and with less effort.
Before sanding and buffing, I wait about six weeks after the final layer of lacquer for it to cure completely.
Start by sanding the finish until it is ideal, even using paper with a grit of 600, and then work your way up through the grits until you reach 1,200, or whatever the finest paper you have in your shop.
This may seem laborious, but if you sand more now, you will need to buff less afterward.
You can either rub by hand or use a low-speed automotive buffer to achieve the desired effect.
To begin, you should use a rubbing compound, which is more gritty than a polishing compound.
You might not need to use any compound for polishing if the sanding is done to a fine enough degree.
If this is not the case, you must remove the rubbing compounds from the final surface and the buffer head before switching to the polishing compound.
Alternatively, you can use distinct buffing heads for the rubbing and polishing compounds.
At this stage, you should see that the shine has improved significantly. But do you still desire more?
Applying swirl mark remover (or automotive polish, as illustrated) using a clean, soft cloth, then removing it with another clean cloth gives the surface an additional boost of shine.
FAQ On How To Get A High Gloss Finish On Wood
How can one achieve a beautiful, glossy finish on wood?
To achieve the greatest results, apply a coat of varnish or lacquer over the surface of the wood before you begin. Lacquer is best applied using a simple spraying technique, whilst varnish can be applied either by brushing or spraying. Spraying gives the appearance of a more refined surface than painting does because there are no brush strokes left behind.
How can I create a surface that is really glossy when using polyurethane?
Use only one coat that is very thin. Sandpaper with a grit of 1,500 or a small piece of brown paper bag can be used to remove any dust nibs that remain. In the final step, using an automotive paste wax, shown in the photo below, buff the finish to a high shine using a cotton cloth or a polishing pad. The automotive paste wax contains fine abrasives that polish the finish even further.
How can a finish be made to look smooth and glossy?
When glossing a wall, you need to be patient and wait until the primer has completely dried, and then you need to softly sand the surface to perfection using the Ultimate Aluminum Oxide Fine Paper. This will help you achieve the required smooth finish. This trick, which has been endorsed by Harris, can eliminate any annoying brush traces and provide you with a lovely matte surface to work with.
What exactly is the substance that is applied to wood in order to make it shiny?
Wood can be given a finish that seems more natural if you use varnishes and oils. The application of varnish, shellac, and lacquer might be challenging, but the finished product has an appearance that is deep and luxurious. In time, they will likewise become more profound and gloomy. Varnishes are your greatest option when looking to get a high gloss finish.
How can you make wood look glassy?
In a painter’s tray, combine mineral spirits with gloss in an amount equal to half of the total. Using a paintbrush, spread an even coat of it across the surface of the wood after it has been sanded and cleaned. Use a brush to apply two coats of polyurethane to the surface. After the base coat has had enough time to dry, apply a coat of undiluted gloss to the surface of the wood using a brush that has been thoroughly cleaned.