Sanding Sealer and Stains Concerns

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Forum topic by gadawg31 posted 12-16-2014 02:16 PM 996 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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23 posts in 1235 days

12-16-2014 02:16 PM

Hello everyone,

I have now started getting back into my wood hobby, after several years of being lazy. I have been reading a lot of the post regarding sanding sealers, grain fillers, stains, etc… and my primary concern goes back to stains and sealers. From what I have read and believe I understand this correctly, you cannot use a stain after using a sanding sealer. Is this correct or can you? I have been experimenting with several different projects, but wanted to get some opinions before I messed up too much stuff. What do you all think? Thanks.


6 replies so far

View AandCstyle's profile


3027 posts in 2223 days

#1 posted 12-17-2014 01:47 AM

JD, just to get the discussion started, you can seal the wood with a 1# cut of shellac, aka a spit coat, and apply a stain over it. This would be done to minimize blotching. You definitely need to test because the color imparted will not be as dark due to reduced colorant getting into the wood. Also, you might need to seal after the second coat to prevent muddiness from the second coat migrating into the third coat due to those two using the same solvent.

Another option is to use a water borne product for the sanding sealer and then another product from the same manufacturer (to ensure compatibility). I do this with Target Coatings products routinely, but I don’t know about other manufacturers products. This works because the second coat “burns into” the first coat.

Charles Neil is the resident expert and, perhaps, he will chime in here.

-- Art

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23 posts in 1235 days

#2 posted 12-22-2014 05:02 PM

Thanks Art. I have been playing around, so I will give your process a shot.


View RogerM's profile


792 posts in 2365 days

#3 posted 12-22-2014 05:37 PM

I too use the thinned out coat of shellac for minimizing blotching, especially in Cherry. Sanding sealer generally has some additives in it that help when rubbing out a surface for final. These may impact your stain if applied over it. Generally, I would not use a stain over sanding sealer.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

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5588 posts in 2177 days

#4 posted 12-22-2014 05:50 PM

I don’t know about other sanding sealers, but Zinsser Seal Coat is just de-waxed shellac, so I use it just like Art’s 1# cut. I’ve stained over it many times with not issues—it really helps keep and even color on pine and other blotch-prone woods. (I really need to just start buying shellac flakes and mixing my own.)

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

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23 posts in 1235 days

#5 posted 12-22-2014 06:00 PM

Thanks for all the info. I have never used shellac, so this is something that I need to try. I do have a quart of the Zinsser’s Seal coat, but was afraid to use it with the stain. I just finished a set of game boards for my sister and I wanted to try and stain them. I am kind of glad I didn’t now, they actually turned out pretty good. I was going for that heart pine look. Believe it or not, but these boards are actually pressure treated yellow pine that I reclaimed from my old deck. The boards are about two years old and I simply planed them down and re-used them. I have another set, that I will try the sealer and shellac techniques on. I tried to post a pic of the game board, hopefully it uploaded correctly. Thanks for all the suggestions.


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272 posts in 1217 days

#6 posted 12-22-2014 10:44 PM

Pat Keegan over at the YouTube Channel DIY Homebuilt has some real good pointers about finishes.
Check it out

Part 1

Part 2

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