"Silver" Finish Formulas

Suggestions for applying a silvery metallic base coat with a clear top coat. December 8, 2006

I recently received a finish from a client that she calls a "silver finish," which appears to be a light gray dye stain under a clear coat with some form of metallic/shimmer additive. It is fairly transparent, but still has a definite silver look (it is going over quartered maple). I used a product several years ago that was supplied to me by a designer, actually an aluminum powder that I wiped on dry and removed evenly (I recall it being labeled on the can as aluminum oxide powder). It seemed to work pretty well. I am looking for any input on a silver finish over maple that meets the criteria explained above. I use primarily ILVA dyes and seal and topcoat with Chemcraft products. Is an additive the way to go for the shine or are there pre-mixed products that would work better? Is there anything that would achieve this look in one step?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor D:
We use a silver powder in the finish. We get it from M L Campbell. It works great and there are no extra steps.

From contributor J:
I may be wrong, but I don't think you can use a conversion varnish over an aluminum oxide product. The acid may cause the aluminum to turn black. Bringing this up just in case.

From contributor M:
I don't know if you are able to get RKR Coatings in the U.S. or not, but I have used their Silver Metallic Spray Stain (Waterborne) and it provides a great, almost stainless looking finish. I've tried it on oak and maple with great results. Finish coated with satin waterborne lacquer.

From contributor T:
You can put an automotive mica in the sealer and get a metallic look. I have done this with Chemcraft Washcoat 546-8001 and in topcoat 431-8320 and had great results. It doesn't take much, and you will have to spray it though a cup gun, as the mica will clog an AA type sprayer.

From contributor A:
1 - Acrylic silver base coat
2 - Acrylic gloss lacquer
3 - Black glaze (mottled)
4 - Flyspecking
5 - Acrylic gloss lacquer

From contributor R:
That's a snazzy picture! Is the frame made from metal or wood? If it's wood, it sure is some fine detail. That finish looks splendid.

From contributor A:
Thank you. The frame was scrolled from Baltic beech plywood. It is a John Nelson pattern.