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For those of you who use shellac to seal wood before staining. Are you using Zinsser Bulls Eye straight out of the can or are you cutting it? And if you're cutting would you please share your formula. Many thanks and I apologize if this subject has been covered before.
 

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David
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It depends on what I'm doing, Berry. I use it straight out of the can if I'm just trying to seal something. But if I am doing a Shellac finish then it's going to be French polish and I make my own from flakes, usually a 2 lb. cut.

David
 

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If you will be staining, you want de-waxed shellac. The regular Zinser Orange Shellac contains wax, and it will prevent your stains or finishes from sticking. Zinser makes a seal coat shellac that has had the wax removed. It is more clear with no orange color, so your stain will have the color that it's supposed to.

Be careful when storing the seal coat, since over the years I've had 2 cans develop leaks a year or more after using part of the can and then putting it in my paint cabinet. What a mess. By the time that I found it both times, the can was completely empty, and my paints and stains were all glued to the shelves. I now place these cans in zip-loc bags before putting them in the paint cabinet. If you ever enter your shop and smell alcohol or shellac, run to your paint cabinet to save what you can. I've never had this happen with anything else, just the Zinser Seal Coat, and I've heard of it happening to others too.

Charley
 

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Be careful when storing the seal coat, since over the years I've had 2 cans develop leaks a year or more after using part of the can and then putting it in my paint cabinet. What a mess. By the time that I found it both times, the can was completely empty, and my paints and stains were all glued to the shelves.
This happened to me too. 1/2 quart on my garage floor. Had to let it dry completely, then chisel it off.
 

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I tend to use a sealer only on softwoods - most hardwoods get a stain or finish straight off with Shellac wiped on being a favorite for just a few thin coats to seal up the wood.

I use that Zinsser's Amber Shellac on White Oak for a Shaker look, Miniwax Golden Oak on Post Oak, Dark Walnut on any Walnut showing heartwood, and Ebony on anything I just want to go dark.
 

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Sealing wood before staining is not always necessary or desirable. I f the wood is absorbing too much stain, or is absorbing stain too quickly so that you don’t have time to wipe it before the color becomes too dark, then sealing is necessary. Also if the wood species such as pine or cherry has a tendency to become “blotchy” when stained, then a sealer is required. The best way to determine if sealing is required is to try the stain on a piece of scrap, and see if the stain is manageable without a sealer. Then experiment with the amount of thinning that is required to get the results that you want. For my last project made of cherry I found that diluting Zinsser Bulls Eye SealCoat 3:1 with denatured alcohol resulted in eliminating blotching and an acceptable degree of absorption of the stain. As Charley mentioned, you must use a dewaxed shellac . Zinsser Bulls Eye SealCoat is a 2 pound cut of dewaxed shellac. Most premixed shellac is not dewaxed. If the label does not say “dewaxed” then it most likely is not. Your other option, as David mentioned, is to use dewaxed flakes and mix your own sealer.
 
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