How to Take Gloss out of Waterlox Finish

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Forum topic by PSUgal posted 05-12-2017 05:25 PM 2686 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 984 days

05-12-2017 05:25 PM

Topic tags/keywords: waterlox 0000 steel wool reduce shine reduce gloss rub out

I know this is already a post regarding this from year ago, but I know NOTHING about doing this. I had a farmhouse table made for me with Waterlox put on as a finish. It is fully cured (30 days) but is still too shiny for my liking. Can someone tell me step by step on how to use 0000 Steel Wool to reduce the shine to a satin finish? Step by step as if you were talking to a small child!! :) THANK! The last thing I want to do is ruin this nice EXPENSIVE table that was made for me.

5 replies so far

View mrbob's profile


182 posts in 1173 days

#1 posted 05-12-2017 06:11 PM

Buff it by hand with 0000 SW with paste wax, Johnsons is a good one, b4 it dries, wipe of the wax with a soft cotton rag, old T shirts work well.

View AESamuel's profile


100 posts in 1827 days

#2 posted 05-12-2017 06:43 PM

Get some paste wax and 0000 steel wool, rub the paste wax into the finish with the wool using a pretty light coat of the wax. Think of it as using the wax more as a lubricant. Before the wax gets too dry wipe it off / buff lightly with a rag. I personally like to follow that up with a good quality brush to buff to a “glow” rather than a “shine”.

View chrisstef's profile


18024 posts in 3610 days

#3 posted 05-12-2017 06:44 PM

You can also rub it down with a brown paper bag

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Rich's profile


5136 posts in 1193 days

#4 posted 05-12-2017 09:10 PM

The Waterlox site says “Produces a medium sheen appearance (75° gloss level when finished; fades to a 50-55° gloss level in 3-6 months).” For my tastes, even 50 is too glossy.

I just used it on a vanity countertop. I could tell from my test boards that the gloss level was too high, so I got some of their satin urethane (Waterlox brand) and put that over it. I did a wipe on finish with both the sealer/finish and the urethane. I just liked the look better than I got from brushing. 3 coats sealer/finish and 3 coats urethane. I’m very happy with the result.

I know you specifically asked about steps to take with steel wool, but you can easily butcher it that way. Unless you have test boards finished exactly like the table to try techniques on, you’d be taking a huge risk tackling an expensive table without lots of practice, particularly since you said you have little experience.

As a bonus, the urethane will add durability.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View TungOil's profile


1371 posts in 1099 days

#5 posted 05-12-2017 11:42 PM

I use Waterlox quite a bit. I also think the original sealer/finish product is too shiny. I spoke to Waterlox tech support about how to cut the sheen and they gave me these options. They are clear about always using original sealer/finish for the base coats.

1) apply coats of Waterlox satin as the final few coats, but it is brush only
2) wait 24 hours after the last coat of original sealer/finish, then buff it out with 0000 steel wool or maroon scotch brite lubricated with mineral spirits.

I don’t personally have good luck brushing, I either wipe or spray, so I didn’t try option 1. I tried option 2 and it works, but you need to work carefully with light pressure and check your work often to achieve an even dull sheen. Older pieces I have made have clearly lost the shine so it does fade with time. Perhaps wait it out for a few months and see?

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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