Howie, if your talking of just the sheen being gloss again by using your methods, that is true. Applying a coat of gloss and then measuring it with a 60 or 20/60 80 degree gloss meter will read in the high 80's to possibly the low 90's, this would be true for almost all gloss coatings, that are applied that are at least a half mil thick or more. Even then a few coatings would still read in this range.
But if your meaning to say the "haziness" would be gone or eliminated then you are incorrect and so is Flexner if he is in agreement or your in agreement with him.
Though a portion of the silicates are just beneath the coating surface there are more lying underneath of them, how the upper ones lay once sprayed on, creates the differing refractive angles that cause the the "appearance" of a less gloss surface. the upper ones do most of this, but the ones under them contribute to the haziness.
Though you say that the silica is clear and rightfully so, it is clear only to the degree it is not interfered with by other silica layers over top of each other, if it were crystal clear it would not be seen as it is in the container or poured out into a glass beaker, just as much as fine pumice or Tripoli looks clear when mixed with shellac and alcohol and applied as a pore filler in french polishing looks clear to a large degree, when in the pores, it does not appear that way when in bulk condition within the coating before application.
But when you enlarge the particles at fairly high magnification when wet and placed on a slide of black glass, you can easily determine that there is no pure clarity to them, they still have some slight opacity or should i say tran"lusence" to them when piled on top of each other.
Since we are talking of hundreds of thousands of particles per gallon or more, it is much amplified over a small amount in gloss range, dead dead flat 5 sheen, through dead flat/flat/low satin/satin/high satin/semi-gloss, or 10/20/30/40/60/80 sheen's respectively, the more silica the more haziness because the particles are closer together.
When at OSF America as finishing supervisor i was first asked to look at the coatings that were coming from the main plant in Ontario to see if I could tell them how to rid the milkiness, from the darker finishes especially, that were being produced. they had been using satin 30 sheen 2K polyurethane to build several coats up on their table tops and looked hazy as hell. Now the finish itself was as glossy as could be, rubbed out to perfection, just like liquid glass, very impressive!
the reason they were building with satin was to avoid having to have many different sheens on hand since this was no small operation 2 hundred million a year with 12% of that in finishing material cost, So when the original sample was made the determination was also made just to finish them with the satin with no regard as to any milkiness. The correct thing to do of course would have been to finish them all with gloss, which of course was my immediate answer.
so even though your correct as to the refraction of light caused by the upper layer of silica laying at differing angles overlapping each other, the finish itself still becomes hazy/milky/translucent, to varying degrees. This is what i talk of here. it's not that your incorrect per say it's that your only addressing one facet of what is happening, such as many people do.
Since you ask others to do samples i will do the same, a simple test as to what I'm trying to get across with my micro photos ok?
Take a piece of clear glass, spray a coat of the glossiest black you can find on one half, allow to dry and mask off and then spray the remaining side and let dry, to be sure, make certain to let them over lap a little so that there are no "clear glass" gaps in between the two ok? now, since the reverse side is nice and smooth and glossy as "glass" and one could do no better if clear gloss of any kind, simply turn it over and view, you will see that the high black gloss coating still looks very high gloss and also that from the outer glass surface appearance so does the flat black, but then next you will plainly see that though it is glossy in that sense, it too also looks milky hazy as compared to the glossy black in the sense I'm talking of.
Second test: do the same thing now with clear coating materials, say acrylic, which is the clearest one, and when dry hold up to the light, you will plainly see that the acrylic flat finish - even though it is gloss when looking from it on the non coated glass side, readily appears hazy and with each successive coat it will again look more hazy, with several coats even more so, etc.
Third test : take the same pain of glass you put the clear flatted finsh on and now apply another wet coat and then sandwhich it with another piece of glass, you will see even though both sides now are gloss glass that the film remains hazy!
My point? Even though your methods or others methods to show what you mean may be facetedly true, it does not take away the "fact" that flatted finishes cause haze/milkiness/light opacity/translucency, frostyness, and that takes away from the depth and clarity of any wood finish. Think of this as another example, maybe you or someone in the family has used what is called frosting at christmas time to sray on windows, what do you think that clear flat finish is that makes the glass look frosted "from either side of the glass?
That is why my advice to build with gloss only, and if needs be, only apply a final coat of flatted finish or hand rub if you must.
It's not the flatted look thats bothersome to me or most others, its the haziness/frostyness,.