Semi-Gloss Over Flat Finish Coats

The last coat's reflective characteristics are what determines sheen. January 29, 2009

If I stain some wood, seal with dull conversion varnish, sand and then topcoat with semi-gloss conversion varnish, what will the resulting sheen be? Im using cherry with dark wiping stain, then MLC Krystal as the dull sealcoat, and MLC Krystal as the semi-gloss topcoat.

The reason I ask is 99.9% of the stuff I do is finished with Dull. My particular customer wants something done in semi-gloss and I want to buy as little of the semi-gloss as possible as I will probably never use it again.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor G:
Gloss is measured by bouncing light off the surface with a gloss meter. Aside from whether the wood underneath may be seen to be slightly foggy due to the flat agent in the Dull, it's the surface that gloss is read from.

From contributor M:
All you have to do is pour about a quart of the dull before you stir it up. It will be very close to semi-gloss. Its the stuff that settles to the bottom that is the dulling agent. Then when youre done pour it into your next batch of dull.

From contributor M:
It is the final coat that determines the sheen. A good quality dull finish could be coated again with gloss and it would not look dull at all. What the dulling agent does is cause the finish to have lots of microscopic bumps which scatters reflected light. So whatever your last coat is, that will be your sheen. We keep very little dull around. If we want a dull finish we spray sealer and first coat satin, then the last coat dull. It looks identical to three coats of dull.