Buffing to Reduce Sheen

Pros share tips and tricks for dulling a too-shiny tabletop. December 31, 2005

I have refinished a rosewood table top with 1 coat sealer, 3 coats precat Magnalax, semi gloss. It is too shiny. How can it be rubbed out without leaving marks or a cloudy effect? Every time I have tried to rub down a finish it has left the top cloudy even after repeated hand buffing.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor A:
Put a coat of Satin on it.

From the original questioner:
It's already in the home.

From contributor A:
I would give your client all the options with the pros and cons, and let him make the decision.

From contributor B:
Have your tried a swirl remover? They make different ones along with different buffing compounds. If you use the wrong one you will be back to the original finish.

From contributor C:
Why not just bring it back to your shop? If thatís not possible for whatever reason, how about rubbing it out with a rottenstone and oil. My suggestion would be to pick it up and bring it back to your shop and scuff sand it and follow it up with a coating of satin. What sheen samples did you show your client and which one did he sign off on?

From contributor D:
I've found that when you want a satin finish that is still very clear, it is best to use gloss for the initial coats and finish it with satin. Otherwise as I found when I finished an oak kitchen with repeated coats of satin poly, it came out cloudy from all the layers of flatting agents.

From contributor E:
I don't do furniture or cabinets but I do make and finish high grade gunstocks. One of the processes I use is to wet sand with 1200-1500 grit paper. Once sanded to that level you can easily buff up if necessary.

From contributor F:
I've had some success using 4f pumice or rottenstone with soap and water. I wet the surface with the water solution and sprinkle on the pumice or rotten stone. I then go over the surface with a random orbital sander, hook and loop, using a white scotch brite pad that is cut to fit the sander pad.

From contributor G:
I have done this a lot of times. In some instances customers change their mind about sheen from semi-glossy to satin or vice versa. In that case you bring it back to your shop. I usually just simply light sand with 320 grit - not finer than that as it will affect the sheen - the more finer the grit the more sheen you will obtain. Scuff it with scotch brite then recoat it using ML Campbell's Duravar Postcat 10 sheen.

From contributor H:
No need to top coat. Just lightly scuff sand with 320 stearated paper and then rub out with 00 steel wool. This should give you the satin sheen you want and you can do this in your clientís home. It should take you about 20 minutes.

From contributor I:
You might want to try an Abralon disk. This is a micromesh that fits on to your random orbit sander. It comes in different grits, but start out with with 2000, which should make things satiny. But there are grades higher or lower, depending on the sheen you're looking for. This is a very quick and easy process and because the scratch pattern is established by a random orbit sander (rather than your own arm movements) the scratches are tiny and uniform, rather than linear. To my eye, this is a way to establish a scratch pattern, without noticeable scratches that are inevitable with steel wool.