Modern Masters Dead Flat

LAST UPDATED: Jan 08, 2021 | PUBLISHED: Feb 26, 2018 | By:

The pros and cons of Modern Masters Dead Flat finish.

how to protect wood without a finish

It’s been a few years since I wrote about the finish of our Restoration Hardware table and how we protected it. While we love the protected finish, it wasn’t what we had originally hoped for. While the powder Restoration Hardware natural finish is unrealistic for daily living, it is oh so beautiful.

One of my readers suggested Modern Masters Dead Flat as an alternative to standard varnish. She used it on her Restoration Hardware table for a beautiful finish, but with minimal protection she sometimes regrets. Designers like Brooke Giannetti have incorporated it into their home.

protect restoration hardware table dead flat varnish
reader photo

When designing our new kitchen, I wanted to warm up our cream cabinets with a wood island for contrast. I wanted to ensure the wood would look natural, not shiny from varnish, which is hard to achieve while protecting wood.

how to protect wood without a varnish

Originally, I had selected unfinished white oak, which would darken over time from sun exposure. As you know from my kitchen renovation series, things don’t always go as planned, and our carpenter made it in red alder. In an attempt to be flexible, we then sought a stain for our island to achieve the same look. Unfortunately, that also affected the finish I was hoping to achieve.

how to protect wood without making it shiny

What is Modern Masters Dead Flat?

Modern Masters Dead Flat is a faux finish. It’s a non-yellowing clear water-based varnish that minimizes sheen. Stains are oil based, so combining the two was risky, but I just despise anything “red” in our home and the red alder was no different. In an attempt to work with the carpenter, we agreed to a stain and continued with the Modern Masters Dead Flat. Overall, I like the finish, but it is a bit splotchy in places.

protect wood without varnish

Where is Modern Masters Dead Flat best used?

On raw wood. I’ve had readers share their experience on their powder Restoration Hardware finish and while they all said it goes on pretty well without taking up the powder, unfortunately, as previously mentioned, it offers very little protection. When tested on raw wood it looks flawless.

We decided to use Modern Masters Dead Flat on the base of our island because it’s an area that needs to be wiped down on occasion, but is not as likely to encounter spills, little girl art messes, {one of our main concerns at this season in our lives} and stains that will set.

This finish wipes clean with a wet cloth, but as predicted, doesn’t offer much protection. We do have a marker stain that won’t budge.

For me, this finish is not suitable for surfaces, at least those that are frequently used or used by children, but great for cabinetry, console tables and accent pieces.

home improvement ideas that give a high return of investment

You can find Modern Masters Dead Flat here. If you have any questions, please leave them below and I’ll be happy to answer!