Sheen of Conversion Varnish

Thorough mixing is required to keep flatting agents dispersed in the formula. Also, sheen dulls somewhat as the finish cures. May 11, 2006

I am trying to coat up some maple skinned panels with Sherwin Williams conversion varnish 30, which is supposed to be a 28-32% sheen. However, it is coming out
twice that. Proper amount of catalyst and reducing 15% with butyl acetate, which is recommended by Sherwin Williams. The pieces are stained with Chemcraft stain and sealed with Sherwin's vinyl sealer before topcoat. The topcoat is in a room above 75 degrees for half an hour to dry. Called the rep at Sherwin, who said try another pail and it was better, but still not a 30% sheen. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor C:
Two ideas. First, make sure your material is well mixed and recently, too (flatting pastes tend to settle quickly... especially in thinned material). Second, bear in mind that some of the very flat finishes will take several days to cure to their finished look. A friend and I did some cabinets in his kitchen, alongside previously finished ones, and we thought it was terrible, but in a few days everything was fine.

From contributor S:
Most CVs will appear glossy early in their cure cycle. Also, you used a vinyl sealer. Most are high gloss and can reflect the overall sheen. If you laid the vinyl down heavy, that plays a part as well.

From contributor D:
I use SW CV. I've never heard of CV 30. It usually comes to me DRE, MRE, or BRE. Dull, Med, Bright. The Med is around a 30 sheen. Did you have it custom mixed for that sheen? That could explain some differences. It definitely will dull down in a few days and more in a week and some more after that. I haven't had any major problems with their sheens.

From contributor M:
Most VOC compliant coatings, because of their solvent systems, show up glossier after being sprayed. The sheen will lower as the coating dries out. In some cases, they may actually look glossier in some areas and flatter in others, but will dry to a uniform sheen. Mixing is a must with any additive, and should be kept mixed during the spraying, to keep all the ingredients in solution.

From contributor G:
Why not use the Chemcraft CV with the Chemcraft stain? Just curious. Assuming you are using 5 gallon pails, do you mix your product by hand or do you mechanically mix the product either with a 5 gallon shaker or a drill operated mixer? If you are just opening the pour spout and sticking a stick in the can and stirring, then that is not enough to properly mix your product. I can't tell you the amount of times a customer calls and complains his sheen is wrong, only to find out he didn't properly mix his product.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for all the responses. The sheen has definitely calmed down after a day of curing. I did put a heavy coat of sealer on the sample, which I hope will not affect the final sheen too much. It is just the sample for now. The real worry for me is that I have 25 condo units of cabinet gable ends and filler pieces to do, and the doors are pre-finished from a manufacturer in another city that uses a machine to finish their doors with the Chemcraft/Sherwin combination. They bake the finish and mine will be room dried at 70-80 degrees. I figure there is no way they are going to match anyway. I was just worried yesterday when the sheen level was way off. I left it for the day and will look at it again after the weekend. Lots of staining to do for now. I do pull the whole lid off the 5 and mix really well by hand. Maybe the CV 30 is a label for export, because I'm in Canada. I've never heard of it called dull, med, bright.