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Surefire Tips And Ideas On How To Dull A Glossy Finish

Are you faced with the dilemma of how to dull a glossy finish? If so, you must realize that wood finishes are meant to beautify and protect furniture and other wooden constructions. Satin finish, matte finish, and glossy finishes all serve the same purpose and appeal to individual users differently.

However, if you find that the finish in a particular furniture item is too glossy, there are ways to tone it down. In this article, you will find reliable tips and ideas on how to dull a glossy finish quickly and easily regardless of the type of varnish used.

How to dull a glossy finish

There are various methods and materials that can be used to tone down a glossy finish. All you need to do is find out what works and how. In woodworking, the most common ways used to dull glossy finishes are by using abrasives, steel wool or a refinish when necessary.

Use of abrasives

Abrasives;Abrasives powders to be specific are options that most woodworkers consider when dulling/rubbing wood finishes.

You can bring down the glossy finish on a surface by using abrasive powders like pumice and rotten stone. Pumice is just a powdered volcanic glass while rotten stone is a powdered decomposed limestone. These two can significantly help you to achieve a semi-gloss, flat or matte finish in wood; whichever you desire.

First off, these abrasives have been around for a while now. Only that these days apart from the traditional abrasives guys are used to, manufacturers have also made available modern modifications of these powders to give users an easier, more efficient and a generally better alternative. The variety of brands available for these abrasives can be overwhelming when it comes to choosing the best one. Therefore, I would recommend that you try out various brands to find out which one works well for you.

You should also note that these abrasivesare also supplied in pasteform which in most cases is a mixture of solvent and waxes for easy application. Also, they can be applied by hand or by use of machine depending on the complexity of the finish and also on your preference as the craftsman.

To dull using the abrasives mentioned earlier, if it is already in paste form, just apply the paste on a piece of cloth and rub the surface with the paste in straight lines and stop when you get to the level of finishing you want

Use of steel wool

Apart from abrasives, steel wool is also a proven material that has been and can be used to dull a glossy finish. However, for steel wool, you must be careful with the type of steel wool that you use. To achieve a smooth matte or semi-gloss finish, you need to use a fine steel wool that won’t scratch the surface too hard leaving unpleasant marks or roughness on it.

In most cases, extra fine 0000 steel wool is most preferable. Just get a paste wax and put it on the wool to reduce the “cutting” effect and rub with the grain gently on the surface. Start with a small portion to see if the results appeal to you. If yes, then proceed with the rest of the surface. When using steel wool to rub on wooden surfaces, remember to rub in straight lines by hand to avoid leaving tiny swirl lines as these may interfere with the look of the final finish.


Sometimes, you may just need to apply a new finish on wooden surfaces especially hardwood floors to get rid of the high gloss finish.

For this process, you will need a new finish, and since you do not want a high gloss finish, you should get a semi-gloss, flat or matte finish; whichever you prefer so be careful when choosing one. You will also need a damp cloth, orbital sander, sandpaper, dust masks, gloves, finish and finish applicator.

To begin with, you will first need to clean the wood surface with a damp cloth to remove any dirt, dust, and resins. Once you are done with the cleaning, proceed to sand the surface to remove the old finish. Use the orbital sand to sand the surface following the grain of the wood until the finish is removed. In case the orbital sander does not reach the edges of the surface you can use an edger or simply sand the edges by hand.

After sanding, ensure that you remove the sand dust from the surface by cleaning with a damp cloth and then wipe again with a clean lint-free cloth to dry it off. Sand dust can interfere with the quality of your finish. Therefore, it is imperative that after sanding you clean off the dirt.

The next step will be to seal the wood by applying a good quality sealant to help the wood absorb the stain better. Once done apply the stain and finally the finish. Ensure that the product you use to refinish your wooden surfaces is compatible with the wood. Also, remember to follow all due manufacturer’s instructions for the tools and refinishing products.


These are some of the tips and ways in which you can dull a glossy finish on your wooden surfaces and furniture. The good thing with these tips is that you do not have to leave your home to do them, as long as you have all the necessary tools, materials, products and you follow instructions; you can tone down glossy finishes on any wooden materials.

Interestingly, the processes involved in the above methods can be done within a single day or even less making it a perfect DIY project for those who are just becoming interested in home improvement projects. Keep these tips and guidelines in mind, and the question on how to dull a glossy finish will be history to you.

Navigate this site to learn more about woodworking, power tools, and general home improvement. You can also leave a comment below for any questions you need to be answered.

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