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Hi Jerry,
I have used shellac as a sealer for knots in pine that I'm going to paint. The shellac won't let the pine resins in the knots bleed through the paint. If you have pets, it will also seal a soiled spot in your floor that is under carpet. Usually you don't know the spot is there till you are replacing the carpet. Helps with the odor too.
I use it as a component part of a friction polish for turned work.
It drys so fast, I don't like it as a stand alone finish. As far as color and cut, someone else will have to address these with you. I've always took the ready mix route and bought mine at the hardware store. Several of the more popular woodworking mags just recently ran articles on shellac. Might try an online search for info that way.
Good luck,
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