What Is Varnish Used For?

Varnish is used as a transparent, protective top coat when applied to wood or other materials. A varnish finish creates a hard, glossy appearance when dried.

Suitable for a variety of applications, varnish is commonly used on cabinets, furniture, walls, floors, instruments and boats. Different varnishes exist for specific needs. Oil varnish, consisting of a solvent and a drying oil, is the preferred choice for woodwork. Spirit varnish, partially comprised of alcohol that creates a protective film upon evaporation, is most often used on musical instruments. Natural varnish, made from tree sap, is routinely used as a maintenance coating to previously varnished items.