Skip to Main Content
Sign In
Toggle Navigation

Open the Navigation Management window, which can be used to view the full current branch of the menu tree, and edit it.

  • Instagram
  • Facebook

MITRA Forum Question Details

Image Picker for Section 0


  • Wet Mirror Polishing of varnishApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2017-07-29 02:22:43 ... Most recent comment 2017-07-30 13:22:28
    Varnishes Industrial and Non-Traditional Products

    ​I am interested in exploring the full range of sheen that can be obtained in art, from the mattest to the glossiest. I am painting on Dibond panels (currently with acrylics, but occasionally with oils). I am not particularly impressed by the usual gloss look of fine art varnishes. More and more I'm interested in this type of finish:

    But it seems that the best results are achieved by polishing with buffing compounds on top of 'super coating' varnishes (usually alkyd based?). The manufacturers claim that these super coatings are non-yellowing and flexible, chemically resistant etc. Here is an article:

    I am aware that these varnishes will eventually scratch (or age) during the lifetime of a painting.
    How can I achieve the highest possible gloss while still keeping up with the good practices of painting?
    Are there any removable fine art varnishes that can be buffed up to this level of finish?


Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​To answer your very last question the answer is: not really. I am sure some of the moderators will chime in here but I would be remiss if I did not state the obvious which is this....if you attempt to buff down a painted surface on dibond you truly need to make sure your paint layer is as flat and level as the coatings on top of it. Meaning no impasto...not even at a microscopic level. Maybe you are not to worried about buffing down to the paint layer below but that is a huge concern. I will reach out to some of my objects conservator colleagues as they will be far more informed about these types of coatings than I am...

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2017-07-30 12:32:55
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​The following is a comment from objects conservator Craig Deller: The varnish popularized by such videos and woodworking magazines tend to be intractable synthetics, many of which we don't want on paintings (or much of anything else). While all resins are naturally glossy, they can be brought to the "water-wet" appearance. Depending on the texture of the painted surface, you may be limited. However, if the surface is flat enough to warrant the kind of mechanical action as in the video, then I would suggest a French Polish technique. While French Polishing is normally associated with shellac, it may be too amber in tone for the desired results (bleached shellac is far too unstable given the process to remove the colorants natural in shellac. I have found that by using the FP technique with B-72, or any other alcohol soluble varnish, can be brought to the water-wet shine. If this interests you, I can elaborate.

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2017-07-30 13:10:30
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​I would like to add that while many industrial products are descriped as non-yellowing, this is seldomly sticktly true in the sense that artists mean. Very slight ambering would be a non-issue on a wooden oject but could be highly disfiguing on a fine art piece, especially if that work contained cool colors like blues or cold grays.

    Brian Baade
    2017-07-30 13:22:28

Page Settings and MetaData:
(Not Shown on the Page)
Page Settings
MetaData for Search Engine Optimization
MITRA Forum Question Details
This page cannot be accessed until you accept the Terms of Use, which can be found here.
Please note that this Terms of Use system uses cookies. If you have cookies disabled you will not be able to accept the agreement. If you delete our cookies you will need to re-accept the Terms of Use.
  • The Department of Art Conservation
  • 303 Old College
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3489