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  • Varnish nightmare

    I am in the process of staining and varnishing bare wood flooring for a landing. I finished a batch of flooring and it turning out great. I was using a satin varnish that ran out. I bought a new can of satin varnish but now it looks like a gloss of semi glass even though the label is the exact same satin. Can I wet sand the glossy finish and apply a satin finish over top or are those floor boards garbage? Attached is a picture comparing the two finishes.
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  • #2

    Re: Varnish nightmare

    2 questions: Is it the same brand? And did you stir the new can thoroughly?
    If it is the same product and you stirred well then it should look the same.

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    • #3

      Re: Varnish nightmare

      Yes and yes. I just bought a new can of varnish to compare

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      • #4

        Re: Varnish nightmare

        Originally posted by akabek View Post
        Can I wet sand the glossy finish and apply a satin finish over top or are those floor boards garbage?
        You can certainly scuff back the glossy varnish and apply another coat. Not sure why you want to wet sand it as cleaning up the slurry is more work than it's worth IMO. I use 320 or 400 grit Norton Adalox paper for scuffing back between finish coats. Either blow off the dust with compressor or shop vac and then thoroughly wipe down with a clean microfibre cloth. If you have wet and dry paper you can use that dry.
        As for your sheen problem, if it was the same brand, it sounds like the flatting agents have settled out and you are getting the clear liquid base, which is gloss/high gloss. If the can has been sitting on the store shelf for a while this will happen and depending how long it's been there, stirring may not be enough to get all the crud off the bottom and back into suspension. You can get a stirring attachment for a drill but paint shakers will usually alleviate this problem at point of purchase. Get a robust stir stick and dig around on the bottom of the can. If you can't get to the bottom of the can and hit metal/plastic or you are digging up a thick gooey gelatinous mess then take it back and get them to shake it. Just wait 24hrs for the bubbles to dissipate if you are worried about them transferring to your finish or thin the varnish a little with mineral spirits.

        Hope that helps
        Paul

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        • #5

          Re: Varnish nightmare

          I grabbed a few finished pieces and sanded back the gloss, re-applied a coat of satin varnish from a new can and it looks better now. I will double check Paul but you may be right. I may not have stirred in any sludge at the bottom. Thanks for all the assistance everyone.

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          • #6

            Re: Varnish nightmare

            I knew Paul would have the answer.

            Noel
            "Being so impressed with the beauty of nature, I never cease to be amazed at how the
            'touch of the human hand' can transform it into another kind of beauty that is so uniquely human.
            "
            John Snow, Outdoorsman and Retired Teacher

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            • #7

              Re: Varnish nightmare

              The other reason that you might be getting a difference in sheen is if your old can wasn't stirred properly through its use and the bottom of the old can had more flattening agents in it than the top of the new can. I ran into this when I tried to finish a couple of cabinet doors and ended up with a muddy finish - I tried to stretch the last of the can to get the job done and found out that as I had used the varnish I probably wasn't stirring it adequately and had concentrated all the flattening agents into the bottom of an ever shrinking liquid base.

              John
              Paul O in Paris likes this.
              Shut up, wretched cricket of doom...

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              • #8

                Re: Varnish nightmare

                Good point there John!
                One way to partly alleviate that problem' if one doesn't anticipate using the finish for a while, is to store the can upside down. This lets the flatting agents detach from the base and move through the liquid. Just ensure the lid is firmly attached first!!!
                In the early days of waterbased we were advised to rotate our cans every month to alleviate this and other problems.

                Paul
                Last edited by Paul O in Paris; 10-17-2018, 11:15 AM.

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                • #9

                  Re: Varnish nightmare

                  Very Very Very few people stir products enough. Typically I use a mixer in a slow speed drill followed by a stir stick where I literally try to find any goop left in the bottom of the can or in my case 5 gallon pails. Goop needs to be stirred in until there isn't any left in the bottom of the can/pail. And gently stirring while using can be very helpfull.
                  "Do it Right!"

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