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How to Buff & Polish Varnish

Updated April 17, 2017

Varnish is a protective coating often applied over finished wood surfaces. Over time, varnish dulls and becomes extremely unattractive, which can lead to the entire wood surface needing a new finish. To avoid this costly task, you can buff and polish the varnish surface monthly to preserve the protective coating and give the wood a shiny, attractive finish. A do-it-yourselfer can complete this task in less than a day.

Clean the varnished surface with a dry towel. Remove any dust or dirt from the surface to create a smooth surface free of any impurities.

Place the buffing wheel on the hand-held buffing machine. There are many buffing machine models, so the positioning of the machine depends on the appearance of the buffing wheel. If the buffing wheel secures to the machine through a post sticking up out of the rear side, place the flat end of the buffing wheel facing downward. If the buffing wheel has a metal piece on the face, turn the machine sideways to buff from the side.

Turn on the machine and allow the buffing wheel to glide over the surface. Buff the varnished area thoroughly with the machine, creating a smooth, sleek finish over the varnish. Go over the entire surface four to five times to achieve the best finish.

Rub polish in a circular motion over the varnish using a lint-free cloth. Rub quickly and thoroughly to apply an even finish and remove excess polish. Allow the surface to dry completely and apply an additional layer of polish.

Things You'll Need

  • Towel
  • Hand-held buffing machine
  • Buffing wheel
  • Wood polish
  • Lint-free cloth
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About the Author

Nicole Byerly has been writing since 2003. She has published multiple works that have appeared in "Campus Philly." Byerly is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in cybersecurity at Utica College.