Seal-A-Cell vs Bulls Eye Seal Coat


Steve B Anderson
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I’ve been doing a lot of Mission finish projects lately. Most of the recipes out there call for Seal-A-Cell after applying the dye. I have been substituting Bulls Eye Seal Coat because I had several cans that needed to be used due to limited shelf life. I’m working on two more pieces that will have the Mission finish and I don’t have enough Seal Coat to complete these. Has anyone experienced a difference between the two? The Seal Coat has worked well on the pieces I used it on, just wondering if Seal-A-Cell gives a better look/finish.

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2 minutes ago, Steve B Anderson said:

Did it give the wood a better “Glow” than Seal Coat? 

I have never used Seal Coat.  I was using just as you, between transtint and the gel stain on some QSWO.  It was a Jeff Jewitt recipe to duplicate a Stickley finish.  All the products besides the Transtint were GF... Transtint  - then Seal A Cell, Gel Stain and Arm R Seal.  I really did like the way it worked and it dried fairly quickly, didn't pick up to many dust nibs but I wasn't really paying attention to the glow because it wasn't my top coat.

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That is the same tech

2 minutes ago, Chet said:

I have never used Seal Coat.  I was using just as you, between transtint and the gel stain on some QSWO.  It was a Jeff Jewitt recipe to duplicate a Stickley finish.  All the products besides the Transtint were GF... Transtint  - then Seal A Cell, Gel Stain and Arm R Seal.  I really did like the way it worked and it dried fairly quickly, didn't pick up to many dust nibs but I wasn't really paying attention to the glow because it wasn't my top coat.

Thats the same process I’m using and it has worked well with Seal Coat. It’s time for me to purchase more so that’s why I was inquiring about Seal A Cell. I think I’ll just stay with the Seal Coat, it has worked well and can be used for other applications. I try to use the shellac for the first or second coat when possible. It just gives the wood that “Glow”.

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One is a shellac and one is a poly blend.  The blend has oils and could therefor impart an amber glow if you prefer that.  Most mission furniture is colored with a stain or dye so I would tend to just adjust that.

Disclaimer -- I find shellac to be the "aspirin" of woodworking; its a miracle drug that cures so many things.  Its a sanding sealer, its a barrier coat, its a finish, . . . 

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Sealcoat is dewaxed shellac. I learned 20+years ago that dewaxed shellac is the universal barrier coat . You can use it under almost every kind of top coat. I was using an early version of waterbourne finishes. They were finicky about adhering over oil based stains. 2 thin coats of dewaxed shellac , a very light sanding then my waterbourne finish worked beautifully.  Regular shellac is fine as a finish but if you are putting anything over a coat of shellac use the dewaxed version. 

Dissolving shellac flakes gives you a very fresh mixture and complete control over cut and color of flakes. Do it several days in advance and strain well before using. You can get better grades of alcohol too.  All Shellac has a shelf life after being dissolved. The dewaxed shellac flakes have a shorter shelf life than the regular flakes.

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