Fine Points of Glaze Removal

A discussion of soft cloths, brushes, synthetic abrasive pads, and the craftsman's touch. May 11, 2006

I've been doing a lot of glazing over tinted CVs (MLC Clawlock and Resistant) and stains. What's the best type of rag for removing glaze to achieve a subtle overall antiqued look without a brush stroke look? I have been using cheesecloth because of its softness and ability to feather the glaze nicely; however I seem to be getting lint or debris in the glaze which requires two top coats with sanding in between to remove. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor A:
I personally use trace cloth which has been washed and is free of dust. It is a soft close- knit cloth, whereas the cheesecloth is an open-knit cloth. Almost any soft cloth will work, even a cotton T-shirt that is washed and dust free.

From contributor B:
I use plain white cotton, such as a t-shirt. If it's Woodsong glaze youíre using, because it is slippery (linseed), I like to use Scotchbright in a straight line pattern to softly scratch your base coat prior to putting down glaze. This makes for a nice soft antique look when wiped off.

From contributor A:
I meant to say lint-free cloth in my post. One trick about glazing that you will find is that many finishers apply too much glaze on their work, much more then they really need to use. More glaze is taken off than is left on the work. Try using less - it will take less brushing, and less manipulation.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the tips. I use MLC no-vinyl glaze and I tend to prefer a lighter glaze application myself. I just find that the softer the wiping cloth the nicer final finish I can achieve.

From contributor C:
Another technique is to use a dry brush - paper towels in one hand and brush in the other. Pick up glaze on the brush and dry the brush with towels. Continue to remove glaze until you get the look you want. Try not to let the brush get loaded up and if it does, get a clean dry one. Any good natural bristle brush will work but softer is better.

From contributor A:
Another glazing technique is dry brushing, which is another technique where dry pigmented powders are used instead of the paste colored glazes.

From contributor D:
I use a similar technique - paper towels to remove the glaze and use a dry fine bristol brush to adjust the glaze. If you want to get a real subtle look, get a brush called a badger blender - lightly cross brush the glaze and then brush with the grain and with a little practice you can eliminate the brush marks and just leave the changes of color. I use a waterbase glaze over tinted MLC Clawlock primer. The one I use has a good open time. Itís made by Polyvine and it's called Scumble glaze. It is mixed with their colorizers - let it dry over night before top coating.

From contributor A:
Scumble is the term used in the UK for glazing and faux finishes. If you apply less glaze, you can eliminate most wiping, and if you continue brushing out the glaze you also will eliminate the brush lines in the finish, if thatís your goal.