High Gloss Finish on Wood Furniture – [Explained]

High gloss finish on wood furniture refers to very shiny smooth layer of polish on furniture surface. You can get high gloss finish wood furniture from the market, or you can do it yourself. High gloss finish on wood furniture is also called mirror finish on wood furniture, as it reflects smooth an very shiny surface.

High-gloss paint is recognized for being extremely lustrous and light-reflective, giving it a mirror-like appearance. Because it produces such a beautiful gloss, most designers would consider it a specialist finish. A gloss finish is a term used to define how much light a paint or stain will reflect. Flat, low sheen, eggshell, semi-gloss, and gloss are among the gloss coatings available.

High Gloss Finish on Wood Furniture – Everything You Should Know

Most of us get attracted by lustrous and shiny finishes on wood furniture. But is it really required? The answer could be yes and no both at the same time. Everything boils down to the functionality of that particular wood furniture piece and your liking.

Why Need a Glossy Wood Finish?

Due to the nature of wood, it will become pale and dull with time. It has the potential to lose its allure and shine in it. Paint or a vibrant hue can make your wood look more appealing.

However, a gleam in that stain or finish will amp up its appeal and make it stand out above other hardwood materials.

Without a doubt, the gloss level of a wood treatment affects how it appears. Even if you have ancient wood furniture that has become dull, all you have to do is sand it down and refinish it. It will reclaim its former splendor.

A wood with a more mirror-like gloss sheen is magnificent. These treatments give the impression that the wood is alive.

What is the best finish to use on furniture?

Many skilled woodworkers regard lacquer, notably pre-catalyzed lacquer, to be the ideal finish for hardwood furniture in terms of balancing beauty, protective properties, and ease of application and care. The best finish for furniture also depends on the use or functionality of that furniture piece.

Using a varnish or lacquer to provide a high gloss finish on the wood is the best alternative. Lacquer can be simply sprayed, but if you’re using varnish, you have the option of brushing or spraying. Spraying, on the other hand, will make you feel more at ease because it takes less time and is a simple task.

glossy finish on wood furniture
Image @ Pinterest

What is the most durable finish for wood?

The most durable finish that can be applied by the typical woodworker is oil-based varnish. Varnish is more resistant to water, heat, solvents, and other chemicals than most other coatings. Long-oil varnishes are varnishes that include a high percentage of oil.

My experience is that polyurethane wood finishes are synthetic coatings that are extremely long-lasting and resistant to water, making them the finest clear coat for wood protection.

Hardwood is not waterproof, although it is water resistant when treated with polyurethane. Hardwood is protected by polyurethane. It repels water and stops it from soaking in, but it never completely blocks it, thus it will never be completely waterproof.

How do you make wood super glossy?

To make the wood shine, use a soft polishing pad and automotive wax paste. It will make the wood even more lustrous. If there are still scratches on the wood finish, fill them with automotive wax in the direction of the grain. Using a cotton rag or a gentle polishing pad, remove any excess wax.

How to apply lacquer finish to wood?


Lacquer is still considered by most professionals to be the best all-around finish for wood since it dries quickly, lends incredible depth and richness to the wood, has moderate to outstanding durability (depending on the type used), and rubs out easily.

How do you get a high gloss black finish on wood?

You’ll need to use a strong body black primer to “fill” the wood. They can be purchased from piano finish specialists. It has the consistency of thick, sticky paint. Spray it on, wait for it to dry, then sand it down.

How to Get a Mirror Finish on Wood: Step by Step Guide

For high gloss finish on wood furniture the most well-known technique is ‘French Polishing.’ However, because shellac is sticky, the process can take a long time. Using a varnish or lacquer to provide a high gloss finish on the wood is the best alternative.

Lacquer can be simply sprayed, but if you’re using varnish, you have the option of brushing or spraying. Spraying, on the other hand, will make you feel more at ease because it takes less time and is a simple task.

Choose a stain that is ultra glossed if you want to give your wood a lively glossy look using stain. It should be used after the grains have been filled. Always pick a filler that matches the stain you’re going to use. Start this project while wearing a respirator.

1. Sand the Curves

If you were unable to complete an operation the first time around, don’t be afraid to try again. Dedicated labor and experience yield the greatest professional results. However, because of our accurate and thorough information, we are confident in our ability to provide you with a high-gloss wood finish.

To make sanding easier, you should start with a smooth surface. Sand wood with an electric sander to achieve a flat and even surface. Where an electric sander won’t reach, do it by hand. Treat all of the parts equally if you’re doing it by hand.

Start with 80-grit sandpaper and work your way up in grits. After removing any defects from the wood, sand with 120-grit and then 180-grit. For finer cuts, you can use different grits based on your work progress.

Work in the direction of the wood grain at all times. When hand sanding, it’s difficult to tell if scratches are parallel to the surface. However, after staining, they become visible. Sand it till it’s completely flat and even.

When sanding with an electric sander, move it at a rate of 1 inch per second while applying light pressure.

Clean the wood with a dry towel to remove any dirt nibs.

2. Grain Filler

It is quiet possible that you’re dealing with walnut, koa, mahogany, or other woods. These woods have huge pores, and sanding does not smooth out the surface. Use a grain filler to fill these pores. A grain filler is a substance that is used to cover the large pores in the wood in order to provide a high gloss finish.

A binder, a solvent, and a bulking agent are the three components of grain filler. Silica is used as a bulking agent in both oil-based and water-based fillers, while mineral spirits or water is used as a solvent. Depending on the type of finish you want, you can use either a water-based or an oil-based filler.

Scrub filler into the wood pores using a paintbrush. Remove any excess material as soon as possible. Hold an old credit card at a right angle to the grain and clear filler by dragging it in the direction of the grain if you have used too much filler.

You need to carefully clean it. The only reason for this is to keep grain filler in the wood pores.

Allow it to cure overnight before sanding it with a 220 or appropriate grain sandpaper. If you haven’t already done so, get a filler. Replace it with a finish instead.

Because you don’t want your wood to shrink with age. Wood pores will compress as a result of a finish, and these massive pores will reappear.

3. Apply Lacquer or Varnish

You should have a good idea of how much lacquer you’ll need. Each coat should have the same amount of coats. It will produce a mirror-like surface that is significantly smoother. Using a brush or sprayer, apply the first coat of lacquer. Allow it to dry for a few minutes.

It takes 15-20 minutes for a lacquer coat to dry. Allow at least 30 minutes for drying. Leave it for 3 hours if you’re not using lacquer. Lacquer dries quickly, however varnish takes a long time to dry.

Now sand the surface to remove any lumps after the lacquer has cured fully. First, sand with 320-grit paper. Using a rag, clean the dust. Examine your work in the light to check if any flaws or imperfections are there.

Apply two extra coats of lacquer to the surface. Apply a single coat of varnish. Sand in between each application of lacquer while applying two coats. Allow at least one day for the lacquer or varnish to cure. Sand with a finer grain sandpaper, such as 400 grit.

Apply three extra coats of lacquer and one coat of varnish. Always sand each layer of lacquer before applying the next. Use the same sandpaper as before. Allow them to fully recover at this time before proceeding. Lacquer cures in roughly a week, while varnish cures in two weeks.

4. Wet-Sanding

Wet sanding is critical for achieving a crystal finish on your wood. By eliminating any little scratches that may have been left behind, a level surface is ensured. Take a silicon carbide sandpaper and lubricate it with water. Use 400-grit sandpaper for wet sanding.

Sand the entire surface gently. For the second wet sanding, use 600-grit sandpaper. Now sand it with 800-grit sandpaper. Repeat the wet sanding process on the surface until there are no rough spots left on the wood.

Wet sanding in a circular motion is simple. However, sanding should be done in the direction of the wood grains.

5. Buffing

Rubbing compounds, often known as level compounds, are used to level the surface. It operates by levelling the various depths of different stretches. Polishing chemicals are known for leaving a gleaming finish. It does not remove any scratches.

Use a low-speed automotive buffer to apply the rub compound. You can, however, employ a rubbing compound by hand. Before you start polishing, choose a rubbing compound. If you’ve sanded the surface to a flawless flatness, you can skip the rubbing step and go straight to polishing.

Rub the surface in a circular motion. This can be done with a rag or an old t-shirt. Apply a small amount of rubbing compound on the cloth to begin. Now clean all of the surfactants.

Polishing can be done using any type of polishing compound, but pumice and rottenstone are the most frequent. Using a polishing compound, sprinkle water on the surface. Begin polishing the surface with a sponge pad or an electric buffer.

Even if you use a machine to buff the surface, finish by buffing it by hand with a cotton rag. A power buffer is best for both polishing and rubbing. The use of a power buffer will result in a glossier finish.

How to Keep Wood Glossy for a Long Time (Tips & Techniques)

With the help of the tips below, you can achieve a clear high gloss appearance on your next finishing project that will last for a long time.

1. Sand Like a Pro

You will be able to sand professionally using the method described above. Always strive to use sand grains that are appropriate for your wood. Switch to a finer sand grit after sanding once. Sanding should be done along the direction of the wood grain rather than in circular motions.

If your power sander won’t reach a particular spot, sand it by hand instead. Sanding is, without a question, the most important aspect of achieving a clear glossy surface. Examine every inch of wood after sanding for a rough patch. Sand any areas of wood that still appear rough.

While inspecting the surface, beam the light at a low angle. This will assist in revealing any defects and imperfections. You can also make a note of it.

2. It’s Okay to Make Mistakes

Simply leave any mistakes alone after adding varnish, lacquer, or any other stain and finishing the process. It is not your responsibility if you find a small stain that isn’t smooth or any other minor issue. Make no attempt to level out that area.

Those spots might still be sticky, and you’ll wind up causing more damage. Minor things, like as a miserable fly trapped in your finish, can be the source of these spots. If that spot continues to irritate you, there are a few things you might try.

Plucked out that fly, hair, or any other bristle instead of brushing and over-coating. Keep your hand steady during this process. If there are a few little bubbles you can puncture them with a sharp pin.

3. The Better Brush is the Solution

Choose a brush that is designed to apply that specific stain, regardless of what type of wood finish you are using on your wood. Brush application is the ideal method for applying the polyurethane-based stain. For this, choose a synthetic brush. A natural coat brush is ideal for oil-based stains.

If you want a high-gloss finish on your wood, always use a high-quality brush. A good brush will hold more stain and be easier to work with. A decent brush is unlikely to leave any stains or bristles.

Always carefully wash and clean your brushes since they will save you money in the long run by preventing you from having to buy more brushes.

4. Use Wood Conditioner

Now for high gloss finish on wood furniture use a wood conditioner before applying a super gloss stain or any other finish. The evenness and mirror appearance of the finish will be maintained with the use of a wood conditioner. Some patches may appear dark or light due to uneven stain distribution.

Applying a wood conditioner before staining will help to reduce the light and dark marks. Especially if you’re working with high-gloss woods like maple, cherry, or birch.
These woods can pull off a variety of techniques to create unsightly darker areas. Although that effect cannot be completely eliminated, it can be minimized with the use of a wood conditioner.

5. Safety Issues

Always read the instruction manual for any power tool before using it for your finishing project. Make sure you follow all of the tool’s instructions. Safety warnings and advisories should be taken seriously. Keep in mind that adhering to these guidelines can help you avoid an accident or harm.

Maintain a positive safety attitude and avoid endangering others. Keep yourself free of any materials while dealing with finishing. Hands must be thoroughly cleaned. Wear a respirator and gloves. Avoid working near a heat source and operate in a well-ventilated environment.

Always make careful to turn off electric equipment after using it. A machine that starts up unexpectedly can pose a serious threat.

High gloss finish on wood furniture – Conclusion

Follow our instructions on how to acquire a mirror finish on wood to get a silky-smooth surface on your wood. The most important thing to remember is to follow each procedure step by step and not to skip any. Every step is necessary to give your wood a smoother finish. You can apply high gloss lacquer finish on wood with ease to make your wood safe from scratches and at the same time achieve that settle shiny surface.

Written By: Soha