burl veneer finish is very matte

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Forum topic by mzimmers posted 10-03-2016 08:55 PM 875 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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218 posts in 5201 days

10-03-2016 08:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: burl veneer dull finish

Hi, all -

I’ve built a small box with Bubinga, using solid wood for the sides, and some veneer burl for the top. I decided to try Waterlox for finish – I got the one with the “medium sheen”. The level of sheen is fine on the solid wood, but is very dull on the burl. Any suggestions for this? I was considering some lacquer, but I tried that on a leftover piece and even that is fairly dull.

Thanks…not sure where to go from here.

-- M. Zimmers

4 replies so far

View TheTurtleCarpenter's profile


1053 posts in 2351 days

#1 posted 10-03-2016 09:19 PM

You might try additional coats of the waterlox on the burl only to let it catch up.

-- "Tying shoelaces was way harder than learning to Whistle"

View pintodeluxe's profile


6497 posts in 4098 days

#2 posted 10-03-2016 09:22 PM

When I use semi-gloss lacquer, the first coat looks flat. The second coat looks semi-gloss, and by the time the third coat is applied it looks high gloss. With the Waterlox, say wiping it on, it may take an additional 4-5 coats.

If the gloss gets too high, or you want to even things out, steel wool and wax works wonders.

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

View rwyoung's profile


412 posts in 4757 days

#3 posted 10-03-2016 10:26 PM

If the burl also has a very open grain structure (as burls are want to do), finishes will always look “duller” until the pores get filled up.

If using an oil based varnish, you can try making a slurry by gently wet sanding using the finish itself and maybe some p400 or p600 wet-dry paper. Can take a long time to make sufficient slurry to push down into the pores.

Alternately, use a film forming finish like shellac or lacquer and lots of it. You can pore fill with shellac and grinding a little pumice or Rottenstone to, again make a slurry which is pushed into the pores (similar to base step of French polishing). Or lots and lots of coats of shellac or lacquer until it builds up sufficiently to be rubbed out level and polished.

If you have some left-over veneer, make a test panel and test your finishing schedule on that.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

View mzimmers's profile


218 posts in 5201 days

#4 posted 10-04-2016 10:00 PM

Thanks for the replies, guys…I think you were all right. I’ve done a few more coats (and tried the slurry technique once or twice) and it’s beginning to look better. A couple more coats should make it AOK.

Thanks again…

-- M. Zimmers

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