Dulling sheen of satin polyurethane - can't sand/buff

mikefilippoFebruary 26, 2012

I'm finishing some dark Douglas Fir beams in my study and I've been using Minwax Satin poly, but it's too shiny (I think they've changed the formula sometime in the last 10 years). I can't rub it out to cut the sheen because the beams are both somewhat rough and also hand-hewn (so no nice flat surface to work with). Sandpaper cuts through to the raw wood when it hits an edge (and I can't avoid the edges because of the hand-hewing). Steel wool snags on the rough areas and 000 isn't doing much even in the smooth areas (not sure why). I think my only choice is to find a lower-sheen satin or semi-flat (don't want dead flat) finish - any suggestions?

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Did you first stir the poly before applying---and are you stirring about every 10 minutes during use?

All poly is gloss. To dull the sheen, flattening agents are added.

The flattening agents in the poly precipitate to the bottom rather quickly. That means it must be stirred to redistribute those flatteners.

Do not shake, that causes bubbles, simply use a flat stirrer in a figure 8 pattern periodically.

If you are stirring and the satin is still too glossy, make the final coat matte.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 3:55PM
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Yes, I'm stirring thoroughly and often. It's just a matter of the Minwax being too glossy, so I'm looking for an alternative flat or matte (even better, since I do want some sheen), and I was hoping to get some recommendations here rather than trial and error.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 9:09PM
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Red Scotch-Brite pads might work better than steel wool. They will snag, though not as badly.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 10:09PM
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A great deal of finishing is done initially by trial and error. Until the desired result is reached.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 1:50AM
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I am using it on my maple woodwork now, and there is very little sheen. I just put down a couple thin coats.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 10:30PM
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Mike - because the beams are not going to get much wear, try this: http://www.amazon.com/each-Krylon-Resistant-Finish-K01309/dp/B001THX3OS


    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 7:09AM
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You have a couple of options

1. Look for a flatter sheen finish and use that. I don't use much polyurethane, but I'm not aware of any of the big box store brands that carry much lower sheen than satin. P&L #38 comes in "dull" and might be a good choice now.

2. Take a can of satin finish and let it sit for a while. Decant off the top, from which the flattener will have settled out. Stir up what's left and you will have a higher proportion of flattener. This gets back to "trial and error" though.

There is no standard designation of names of sheens. Sheen is objectively measured on a 0-100 scale and one manufacturer's Satin may be 55-65 and another might be 40-50. Sometimes, the manufacturer's product data sheet (PDS) will have the sheen listed. But you'll have to search for these. Be aware that flattening is not linear. Mixing one part 85+ sheen (gloss) and one part 5 sheen does not give you the mean 45 sheen, but 20 sheen.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 1:13PM
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I've had this problem and understand Benjamin Moore makes a truly satin finish. I went back to ordering Aqua Thane online...pricey, but goes a long way and gives perfect results.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 6:50PM
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