Matching a Dead-Flat Finish

A zero-sheen finish is tough to achieve, especially if it needs to be durable. Here, finishers discuss the fine points. October 28, 2005

Does anyone have any suggestions of product or technique to match a dead-flat-like-dust topcoat? This needs to be a clear coat, low build, and is going over an almost black red oak, dyed with Mohawk ultra-penetrating stain, glazed with a MLC black glaze and sealed with ML Campbell vinyl sealer.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor A:
Iíve had S.W. make a dead flat CV for me, then I thinned it down for little build. The vinyl I put under was a wash coat also. I would advise you to be careful with a thick, dead flat coat as it will turn your black glaze milky.

From Paul Snyder, forum technical advisor:
Since you've already sealed the wood with vinyl, you want to use a finish that's compatible with it. Doesn't Campbell make or mix a flat finish, such as Magnamax? It sounds like a 10 sheen or maybe even lower. If Campbell is like Chemcraft, you can get some flatting paste and a chart to mix any sheen you want.

From contributor C:
Magnamax Dull is a 15 sheen, and this is my standard sheen.

From contributor D:
ML Campbell does indeed make flatting paste and powder as well. You should take it to your distributor to be shaken in as you can't stir it in. It might need some wetting agent as well. You could also take a gallon of 35 degree that's been sitting undisturbed for some time and pour most of the gloss off the top, leaving the flat-aid in the bottom. Shake this up and you'll be flat as dust. Be advised that this will not be a durable finish - you'll likely be able to mark it with your fingernail. It should be used for decorative use only.

From contributor E:
You may want to consider polishing down the topcoat to a dull if this makes sense for your scope of work.
We did a dead flat, black mahogany vanity top with Clawlock black and then Krystal dull with some additional flatting paste. The duller the finish, the more pronounced the scratches are - especially in the black. Unless an off the gun finish is required, consider underselling the finish and rubbing it out so that when scratches occur you or your client can readily compensate.

From contributor F:
I did speak to the Campbell rep. I can add 5% more flatting paste to their dull sheen but that is not dull enough. I added 15% flatting paste to Mohawk's dead flat high solids N.L. This was not flat enough from the can. I also added 1 part thinner and finally it is flat enough. The finish I am matching is from Italy, and not very resistant to lacquer thinner and probably close to the same mix. I thought some one might have a new or better product.

From contributor G:
I used to do a lot of 5 degree sheen on black rift oak. The only product that would not burnish or get shiny wear spots was 2k poly lacquer. CV has a lower limit as to how much flatting paste you can add before you degrade the film.

From contributor H:
Rudd makes a 5% precat. ICS in Pennsylvania will make a 5% ultra solid CV.