Woodsmith Shop S8E6 Demilune Table Finish

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Forum topic by Matt Przybylski posted 11-16-2014 09:27 PM 1462 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Matt Przybylski

569 posts in 2611 days

11-16-2014 09:27 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing demilune general finishes tung oil seal-a-cell

On episode 6 of season 8 of woodsmith shop they made a very nice Demilune table. Here are the plans for it:

If anyone saw this episode (it’s not as evident in the images in that PDF) you’d have seen that there was a few different woods used including mahogany, maple, and a couple of veneers. During the build the woods didn’t look that similar to each other in color but once the finish was applied the grain popped so nicely and they all looked very uniform. In the episode Don mentioned that he finished it with a 50/50 mix of tung oil and mineral spirits and top-coated it with lacquer. He had a can of Old Masters stuff next to him and I presume this was all just because they are sponsored by Old Masters.

I went ahead and looked at the aforementioned PDF and on the last page they state that it was finished with General Finishes Seal-A-Cell and top-coated with two coats of lacquer. This all brings me to my two questions:

1) If you’ve seen the episode, which combo of these two finishes would produce such a beautiful grain and uniformity in the different woods? No stain was ever mentioned so I’m trying to figure out how he got these so nice and uniform.

2) In reading reviews on Seal-A-Cell everyone praises it but I can’t quite pinpoint from those reviews what is so good about it. I’d like to know if this is a product I should be “putting into my back pocket” for future projects but I’d like to know what the proper use for it is and in what situations I’d want to use it to get a great finish and why I’d use it rather than something else like Shellac or another product before the top coat is applied.

Any light you can help shine on this for me would be greatly appreciated as I really love the way the finish came out on this piece (and the piece itself is gorgeous as well).

-- Matt, Arizona,

2 replies so far

View 489tad's profile


3495 posts in 3245 days

#1 posted 11-17-2014 10:57 AM

Matt, I would ask the wood smith shop about the finishing steps. I asked them a question and received a reply answering it. I’ll be watching this, I’m never pleased with my finishes.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View OSU55's profile


2017 posts in 2223 days

#2 posted 11-17-2014 05:29 PM

Seal-A-Cell is simply a sealer. A sealer is simply something that sands more easily (due to it’s chemistry) than the topcoat. Useful if you want to fully fill a finish (think piano). Trying to fill with a poly finish like Arm-R-Seal can be done, but it is harder and more difficult to sand. If the finish is not to be filled, then a sealer really doesn’t serve a purpose. Poly will pop grain on it’s own. Shellac is excellent for popping grain. I use shellac in between waterborne stain and waterborne top coat to keep the stain from lifting. Grain pop is very much a function of sheen or gloss. Waterborne finishes on their own don’t pop the grain. Satin poly will look a little flat, but buffed out the grain will pop.

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