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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a complete amateur when it comes to wood working/finish, but I wanted to change the color of my kitchen and bathroom cabinets, so I started my first wood finishing project :)

So far I did the bathroom. I lightly sanded the cabinets and put three coats of General Finishes Java Gel Stain on it. On top I put three coats of General Finishes' Satin Arm-R-Seal.

I am actually quite happy with the results. There is just one problem. The finish is way too glossy/plasticky for me.

I read that not stirring the polyutherane enough might make the finish too glossy, so I made sure I did that right. I actually even let the can sit for a couple of days and separated the glossy stuff on top. I did the first two coats with the glossy and the last coat with the remaining satin finish.

The first two pictures show what it looks like.

The third picture shows how the cabinets looked before. They are already a little worn, but the sheen in this photo or rather even like in the fourth photo is what I am looking for.

Did I do something wrong? What can I do?
 

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Assuming you did thoroughly stir the satin arm-r-seal it appears that brand is just too glossy for your taste. You might try a different brand or if you go to a real paint store you can get the flattening agent to add to the urethane and make the sheen a little more flat to completely dead flat. The problem with it looking plasticky will still be there but perpaps not as noticible with a flat sheen because you just have too much emulsion on the cabinet. With the original finish, three coats of gel stain and one top coat topcoat so far the cabinet has about three times the emulsion that would be normal. Be sure you test the next finish on a small spot and let dry before you put another coat over the entire cabinet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks cabinetman and Steve!

I tried rubbing it with steel wool but that didn't do much.

I put three coats of the gel stain to make it even. In another bathroom I used only two coats and it basically looks the same.

Any specific product you can suggest? Looks like satin doesn't equal satin for different brands, how do I know which one is more flat like what I am looking for? Buying different brands and then trial-and-error?
 

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Thanks cabinetman and Steve!

I tried rubbing it with steel wool but that didn't do much.

I put three coats of the gel stain to make it even. In another bathroom I used only two coats and it basically looks the same.

Any specific product you can suggest? Looks like satin doesn't equal satin for different brands, how do I know which one is more flat like what I am looking for? Buying different brands and then trial-and-error?
That's really all you can do with prepackaged finishes is try a product and if it works for you keep using it, if not then try something else. You might try Sherwin William's interior oil based polyurethane. I've used it and it has a flatter sheen then the picture you showed. Since you have so much finish on you cabinet already you should finish a small spot and let it dry first and see if you like it before putting a full coat on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
That's really all you can do with prepackaged finishes is try a product and if it works for you keep using it, if not then try something else. You might try Sherwin William's interior oil based polyurethane. I've used it and it has a flatter sheen then the picture you showed. Since you have so much finish on you cabinet already you should finish a small spot and let it dry first and see if you like it before putting a full coat on.
Thanks for the suggestion. I will try the Sherwin Williams's poly!
 

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I am having the exact same problem. The GF Arm-r-Seal satin is too shiny. Did you try the Sherwin Williams poly? How did it come out? I have tried GF High Performance Flat and it is leaving a film. Does anyone know if could I put Modern Masters dead flat varnish over the Arm-r-seal? Thanks!
 

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I am having the exact same problem. The GF Arm-r-Seal satin is too shiny. Did you try the Sherwin Williams poly? How did it come out? I have tried GF High Performance Flat and it is leaving a film. Does anyone know if could I put Modern Masters dead flat varnish over the Arm-r-seal? Thanks!
I am also having problems with the last 2 cans of satin Arm-r-Seal I used. Way too shiny....more like semi-gloss or gloss. I used the same finish schedule, and got different results than I did with other cans of satin. It seems to be a factory issue to me. Anyone else experience this problem?
 
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