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high gloss (Read 1,408 times)
Jenny Trice
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high gloss
Mar 13th, 2016 at 8:03am
 
What is the best finish to produce a high gloss with lots of depth?  I have seen things like pepper mills or even hollow forms with this kind of finish and am wondering how it is achieved?  Sometimes these types of finish are applied over dies/color too. 

For the right applications, I like the look.
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Don Stephan
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Re: high gloss
Reply #1 - Mar 13th, 2016 at 11:29am
 
Interesting question, Jenny.  Thanks for posting.

For respondents, I'm very curious what produces "depth" in a clear finish?  Is it just a thicker finish?  And how do you apply this finish:  sprayed, with a separate spraying of the bottom and masking of the sides, wipe on entire surface and immediately wiping off excess, . . .?
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Al Wasser
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Re: high gloss
Reply #2 - Mar 13th, 2016 at 1:16pm
 
Jenny-- If you mean depth like you often see on a quality guitar, I believe that is lacquer.  Sprayed on with many coats.  One of the turners here had some hollow forms with an awesome  finish.  He said it had about 15 coats of lacquer.  Maybe some one else will give you some input.
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Louie Powell
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Re: high gloss
Reply #3 - Mar 13th, 2016 at 2:27pm
 
Jenny

I think there are three factors that lead to high gloss with lots of depth:

1.  Selection of wood.  Boring wood is going to be boring no matter what you do to it.   A fine-grain wood like mahogany will take a better finish than oak.  And woods like olive can be beautiful, but the inherent oils will almost guarantee that the finish will be a soft matte.

2.  Sanding carefully and thoroughly - and through the grits.  And use of an appropriate sanding sealer is important seal the grain and produce a smoother surface prior to finishing.

3.  Choice of finish.  Penetrating finishes such as oils generally won't get you to a high gloss although the result can be sensuous and rich.   High gloss results from finish that is a skin over the wood.  Many penturners use CA as their preferred finish specifically for the glass-like finish it can produce.  The ultimate classic high-gloss finish is French polishing - that requires many coats of shellac applied using a technique that requires a lifetime of practice to perfect.  But you can come close with multiple applications of shellac, lacquer or some varnishes.  Spraying is generally better than wiping or brushing, and you generally need to at least de-nib, if not actually sand lightly, between applications.

I saw a demo a couple of years ago  by a guy who makes pepper mills and and specializes in a high-gloss finish.  He described his finishing process as the 'rotisserie method'.  He uses old-fashioned solvent-based alkyd varnish that he applies with a brush with the piece rotating on his lathe at its slowest speed.  He lets the lathe continue to run for an hour or so while each application hardens - the vibration of the rotating lathe causes the finish to self-level, making up for any imperfections due to the brush application.  And because he applies with a brush, each application is fairly heavy.  After a coat has dried to touch, he turns off the lathe and allows the piece to cure for a day or so, and then sands and applies another coat.  He applies four coats using this process, allows the final coat to cure thoroughly, and then buffs.

I've experimented with his process on pens using water-based poly floor finish.  The results are OK, but it is necessary to be very careful with poly floor finish to only sand very lightly between coats
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Julian Roslanowski
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Re: high gloss
Reply #4 - Mar 14th, 2016 at 9:08am
 
This is what I do to get a high gloss finish.  As mentioned; wood with an attractive grain pattern will help.  After sanding, apply sealer.  Then I apply about 10-12 coats of a high gloss finish (lacquer or poly).  I apply with a foam brush.  When fully dried I start the wet sanding at 320 grit and go up to 1200 grit.  I  use a wet towel (not dripping wet) to get a film of water on the surface.  When the wet sanding is done I apply 3 coats of wax and buff after each coat.  This produces a mirror smooth and gloss finish.
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Ed Weber
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Re: high gloss
Reply #5 - Mar 14th, 2016 at 9:57am
 
As mentioned, i choose a wood that will benefit from the added layers (coats) of finish.
I sand and clean the surface thoroughly
Then I apply my finish of choice, I do not use sanding sealer. (not my cup of tea)
After allowing proper drying time, I sand only what is necessary, nibs and any application errors if any.

We sand primarily for two reasons, 1. to shape, 2. to smooth. If you're not doing either, stop.
IMNSHO The is no need to sand the entire surface, finish will adhere to finish without scuffing or "giving the finish some tooth" as many people practice.

I repeat applying coats until satisfied with the depth, waxing and buffing optional.

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David Fritz
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Re: high gloss
Reply #6 - Mar 15th, 2016 at 9:07am
 
Julian Roslanowski wrote on Mar 14th, 2016 at 9:08am:
This is what I do to get a high gloss finish.  As mentioned; wood with an attractive grain pattern will help.  After sanding, apply sealer.  Then I apply about 10-12 coats of a high gloss finish (lacquer or poly).  I apply with a foam brush.  When fully dried I start the wet sanding at 320 grit and go up to 1200 grit.  I  use a wet towel (not dripping wet) to get a film of water on the surface.  When the wet sanding is done I apply 3 coats of wax and buff after each coat.  This produces a mirror smooth and gloss finish.


It sounds like you build numerous coats before sanding. Do you ever get dust or have other problems with the deeper coats?
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Tim Hyatt
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Re: high gloss
Reply #7 - Mar 16th, 2016 at 10:06am
 
there's a couple of videos online about working with finish.  I know xxxx has several discussing different types. another i found particularly helpful was for "friction polish" where he went through looking at the effects of higher sanding grits, low speed, high speed, low pressure, hi pressure -- the single largest impact on the finish was the degree of sanding he did before applying.....the higher the grit progression, the better it got....

that matches with what my grandfather used to do in his shop....we'd sand to like 220 or 320....then he'd mist the surface lightly and let it sit for a little...then we'd start again with 220 and progress forward to 440...  A piece that was to have a "french polish" finish, we'd sand well beyond into 800 or 1000 grit
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Ed Weber
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Re: high gloss
Reply #8 - Mar 16th, 2016 at 10:27am
 
To add to Tim's post, there are the "myths" about sanding beyond a certain grit.
Some people contend that sanding beyond (insert grit here ___) is a waste, this is not true. If you progress though the grits with clean cutting sand paper, the higher the better. with each successive grit you improve the surface texture. the cleaner, smoother the cut, the better it will appear once enhanced with finish.

IMO, I think many people don't always follow proper procedures (using clean cutting paper) and end up burnishing the surface instead of sanding it. While burnishing will make a surface feel smooth to the touch, what you are doing is bending over (crushing) the end of the pores (crimping the end of a straw) not cleanly cutting. If the end of the pores are closed, the finish can't help to reveal the chatoyance of the wood by reflecting the light.

Everyone is different and it all depends on what type of finish you want to achieve.
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Don Stephan
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Re: high gloss
Reply #9 - Mar 16th, 2016 at 6:34pm
 
Last fall I was heartbroken by a finishing test.  Hand planed a figured quartered cherry board, then crosscut into two pieces.  Thoroughly hand sanded one with 600 grit, other with 150 grit.  Applied Danish oil mixture to one side, several coats of dewaxed blond shellac padded on the other side.

I can't tell the difference between the 150 and 600 grit surfaces.

I still hand sand utility bowls to 400 because the finer sanding dust highlights scratches.
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Jenny Trice
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Re: high gloss
Reply #10 - Apr 9th, 2016 at 9:49am
 
I put the advise to practice.  The pic doesn't really do it justice but this has about 10-12 coats of WOP gloss, then buffed and waxed.  The finish is very nice and high gloss and depth.  Maybe a touch more amber than I would have liked but that was probably related to the age of my WOP.  Overall, I'm pleased.
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Don Stephan
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Re: high gloss
Reply #11 - Apr 9th, 2016 at 7:40pm
 
One consideration with applying many coats of finish.  If the result is a thick film, chipping may be more likely than a thin film.  You might want to experiment a bit.  Also not everyone likes the feel of a thick film where you can't feel the texture of the underlying wood.  But of course some people are most impressed by a thick, ultra smooth high gloss finish.
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steve haley
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Re: high gloss
Reply #12 - May 2nd, 2016 at 9:18pm
 
the finish you are looking for is a product called Magnalac® its put out by ML Cambell company.i have personally used this product and it produces the dipped in glass type finish that you want.you also buy the water white vinyl sealer to go under it.it is a very easy product to use.just need a hvlp spray gun and a cheap one from harbor freight is good enough to produce some awesome results.one or two coats of there product is all that is required to get the look that you want.
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Bill Neff
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Re: high gloss
Reply #13 - May 3rd, 2016 at 9:21am
 
If you use a water based polyurethane you won't get the amber color.  I've used it a couple of times but it seems like I always get runs with it more than the oil based poly.
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Glenn Jacobs
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Re: high gloss
Reply #14 - May 3rd, 2016 at 12:18pm
 
One of my mentors always commented that "the higher the gloss, the cheaper the product."

Glenn j.
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