Step 6: Top-coat the color

John Thomas brushes on a final coat of satin spar varnish
Photo: Wendell T. Webber
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Once the color is right, Thomas wipes the dry glaze with two more coats of the thinned gloss varnish, which forms a tougher film than satin or matte sheens. (He shuns polyurethanes, which get so hard that they can pull off the underlying shellac.) To soften the sheen, he brushes on a final coat of satin spar varnish (left). A brush lets him apply this finish full strength so that it can form a rich, deep film.
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    Tools List

    • Natural-bristle chip brush
      Natural-bristle chip brush (for stripper)
    • putty knife
      Putty knife
    • pull scraper
      Pull scraper
    • Dental tools
      Dental tools
    • Toothbrush
      Toothbrush
    • shop vacuum
      Vacuum
    • Natural Bristle Brush
      Natural-bristle stain and varnish brush

    Shopping List

    1. Denatured alcohol

    2. Paint stripper

    3. Fine steel wool

    4. De-waxed shellac (Seal Cote)

    5. Cotton rag

    6. Cheesecloth

    7. Water-based glaze

    8. Wood dye

    9. Gloss spar varnish

    10. Mineral spirits (paint thinner)

    11. Satin spar varnish