How to Polish New Varnish to Make it More Satin

Written by don kress
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How to Polish New Varnish to Make it More Satin
Fine steel wool scuffs glossy surfaces without losing grit, as sandpaper does. (NA/ Images)

Freshly dried varnish on furniture has a highly glossy finish that isn't always the best for your decorating needs. In the absence of satin or matt finish varnish, gloss varnish is easily given a satin finish, though it is not polishing that accomplishes this, but scuffing. Polishing is intended to smooth out and shine materials, while scuffing them leads to a less brilliant, softer finish suitable for many uses.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Extra-fine grit steel wool
  • Clean microfiber cloth

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  1. 1

    Place the varnished wood that is to be scuffed in a well-ventilated area with plenty of light so that you can easily see all the glossy surfaces.

  2. 2

    Scuff the glossy varnished surfaces with the steel wool, turning it often. Avoid pressing too hard on the steel wool. You don't need to scour the varnish to remove the gloss. Using too much pressure will cause the steel wool particles to break through the varnish and embed themselves in the wood. Continue scuffing until you no longer see gloss on the surface of the furniture.

  3. 3

    Wipe the varnished wood with a clean microfiber cloth to remove dust left by the scuffing process as well as any pieces of steel wool that might have broken free from the pad.

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