A High Gloss problem. Advice needed

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Forum topic by Benscholten posted 03-16-2016 05:09 PM 794 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1253 days

03-16-2016 05:09 PM

I’m working on a pair of 60 inch birch dovetailed hopechests.

The high gloss is turning out to be a major challenge in a dusty old shop!

THE PROBLEM: I thought I had the answers for removing the dust nubs and re attaining the high gloss mirror sheen, but…. Nope. Dang!

So far it is Birch sanded to 220, conditioned, stained twice with oil MINWAX, and given three coats of HIGH GLOSS oil based varethane with 400 grit standings between coats. A lame YouTube video convinced me I could retain the sheen with buffing a non-silicone carnuba based car polish after 600, 1000 and 2000 wet sands.

After the varethane solidified I went to work testing my methods on an unimportant rear.

The poor results: A satin finish of slightly creamed fade, and small spots of high gloss reflection despite a very flat uniform surface.

The question: My remaining high gloss sides – covered in dust nubs: How can I remove the nubs while keeping the high gloss mirror sheen?

 photo image_zpsbilxip46.jpeg

 photo image_zps1xmq5qcx.jpeg

Just waiting to learn to add photos, hold on a minute :)

Thanks for any expertise!

Ben Scholten

9 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


5970 posts in 3264 days

#1 posted 03-16-2016 05:13 PM

I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but the rubbed out finish looks way better than the high gloss!
I wet sand my final coat with water and a 1500 grit soft sponge. But then again, I am going for a satin finish from the start.

Read up on french polishing if you truly are set on the high gloss look.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5640 posts in 2944 days

#2 posted 03-16-2016 05:20 PM

Just about anything that will remove the nibs will also mar the sheen. You might try just some brown crumpled up paper (grocery bag/kraft paper). The problem with using it is the finish will have to mostly cured, and with an oil based varnish that may take a few week. But that may also be part of the problem you now have; the relatively soft uncured finish will get very fine scratches that reduce the sheen. If you have a piece to est this on, it may do what you want: wet sand out the nibs with the finest paper you have, dry it thoroughly. Then apply a coat of wiping varnish with a cloth….this would be your Varathane with about 50% mineral spirits added. It may give you the gloss appearance (which I like) and then tack up fast enough that nibs are not a problem (TEST it first).

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 1350 days

#3 posted 03-16-2016 05:45 PM

Wet sand to 1000 or higher, then use these buffing compounds with a good wool buffing pad.
Do a final buff with a foam pad. It’s a lot of work, but that’s the way to do it if you want it right.
You could probably skip step 3 and finish with the swirl remover.
I always put the compound on the pad and rub it in, then sprinkle a little water on the top before I start.
You don’t want to get the finish too hot while your buffing. Wear a good bib because it gets messy.

Final buff:

View Aj2's profile


2381 posts in 2249 days

#4 posted 03-16-2016 06:08 PM

High gloss finishes are a pain to get right.I agree with others rub it out till you get a even sheen you like.
Also remember your piece will look much better inside under differant lights.
So if it looks good under your shop lights its gonna look great inside the house I hope I hope.

-- Aj

View Drew's profile


350 posts in 3551 days

#5 posted 03-16-2016 06:35 PM

Stop what you’re doing and let it sit for 2 weeks before you do anything else.
Then wet sand and polish.


View Benscholten's profile


2 posts in 1253 days

#6 posted 03-16-2016 08:16 PM

I think my largest root problem was not waiting long enough for the oil varethane to cure. I’ll give it 2 more weeks.

The 3M compounds together are $200 bucks! (Canadian) Are there any other options and compounds on the cheaper end? The chests are a gift.

When I begin again, should I omit 600 grit, and should I go to 2000 grit?

Thanks so much for all the help so far, there’s a ways to go yet!

Ben Scholten

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 1350 days

#7 posted 03-16-2016 08:28 PM

Yeah, the finish needs to cure real good. The harder the finish the better to buff.
You don’ have to buy the 3M, just get a good automotive rubbing compound. Give it a shot.
If your a good buffer, that’s all you might need.
I would start with 1000 and see if it takes it down to flat enough for you. Depends how rough the finish is and how deep the marks you need to get out are. If 1000 works there’s no need to try to sand out the 600 grit scratches, but that’s just my opinion. A lot of people think you need to start low and go through every grit.
I only start as rough a grit as I need to to get blemishes out.

Can you get Meguiar’s? This is a good one that may work for you as well.

View shipwright's profile


8343 posts in 3249 days

#8 posted 03-16-2016 10:45 PM

French polish will get you the best gloss but your surface has to be perfect or it will show. FP can be applied over what you have or just about any other finish and will definately get you the gloss you want.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Kelly's profile


2394 posts in 3395 days

#9 posted 03-16-2016 11:54 PM

I agree on the polish approaches. I use pumice stone, rotten stone, then McGuires on pads powered by my variable speed ROS (Porter Cable).


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