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Wood Grain Sealers

edited June 21 in DIY
What are you guys using and why.

I'm two weeks into attempting to attain that deep glass look on the bass bins for the last build.  The top and front has taken fifteen+ coats of poly to fill most all the imperfections and eliminate orange peel on the pine and poplar box.  Get up extra early to brush on a coat in the morning then after work hit it with a sanding block and another coat.  The tiny seams between the different woods and the knots in the pine are the largest offenders, but I like the knots.  They add character.  The seams, I don't know why they are being such a pain but those tiny little lines really stick out. 
Digging around and it looks like a grain filler would eliminate much of this issue. 

Really like the almost instant dry time of the uv cured stuff but one site says to use only uv cured clear coats and lacquer cannot be used.  The uv cured stuff is more expensive, especially if you have to use their clear coats, and it's not available locally so s&h adds even more to the cost.      

Which brings up another question; What kinds of clear coats work well with what kinds of grain sealer?   


Comments

  • Javad had a trick to use superglue or clear epoxy to fill imperfections like knots and cracks in real wood. One of his builds used firewood he picked up at a cabin while on vacation. You can see the epoxy fill at about the 8 minute mark in this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbZhAqGwg2E

    Ron
  • I've had good luck with Crystalac grain filler.  It's water based so clean up is easy.  I think Jim Holtz has used it too.
  • edited June 21
    My 2 cents as a total amateur woodworker. For large dings and gaps I would use epoxy. For grain sealer I would use shellac. For seams, sand well before applying any sealer or finish. The key is to not use a sanding pad, like the sanding blocks from the hardware store that have a foam backing, but a hard block, any scrap wood that is true will do. Alternatively, use a smoothing plane. Apply shellac to the entire surface front and back to help prevent warping. Personally I avoid the high gloss look, it's a real pita and I tend to prefer low lustre finishes anyway.
    rjj45
    I'm not deaf, I'm just not listening.
  • Just got back from fishing and after getting everything put away, pulled the boxes out of the shed and started sanding with a large full block.  Better than 90% of the  top and front are sanded flat and I'm thinking, hoping, that should be enough.  Wax on, wax off, I'm tired.  The sides and back have several sprayed coats of poly on them so the got a scothbrite pad to take out any nibs.  I'm thinking about just spraying several more coats of poly on the sides and leaving them.  It's just too much work and the front/top will be what everyone looks at. 
    Thanks for the link to Javad's video. 
    About Crystalac, what kind of topcoats work over it?  Same question for shellac and what will shellac do to stain?
  • I don't know if shellac will work on top of an oil stain, but anything can go on top of shellac. You can get clear, amber or purple shellac if you want a hue.
    Don, Donno, or "Hey you" all work for me, But never "Mr Johnson"
  • edited June 22
    I'll add my $.02 worth. Ed is correct, I'm a Crystalac fan and have used it for many years. Their grain sealer is super easy to apply and remove. Its my 1st choice. It's clear and is applied over stain.

    I've used a lot of shellac over the years and is pretty much a universal sealer that sticks to everything. However it can interact with water based top coats. I've switched to Crystalac sanding sealer and found its also a universal product that makes wood grain pop and blocks the surface for any other type of top coat including paint. All available at Amazon or through their web store. Their Poly is just a killer top coat, IMHO.

    HTH

    Jim
    dcibelani_101
  • Google Crystalac, and you will find a lot people say that it is very stinky.
    I know that's not a problem for many people, but it is for me!

    General Finishes Arm-R-Seal water based finish can give you a nice shiny gloss coat,
    with no yellowing like an oil finish.
    Search for it on PETT, a couple of guys posted pics of their use.
    Don, Donno, or "Hey you" all work for me, But never "Mr Johnson"
  • edited June 22
    Darn it Javad, I wanted to see the finished product in that video.   
    dcible mentions something I need to start doing; sealing both sides of the wood.   
    After 30 years in a factory, the smell of Crystalac shouldn't be a problem and it looks like clearing with nitrocellulose lacquer or poly should be problem free.  Those would be the most available and probably easiest to use clears availabe locally.    
    Thanks for the feedback guys.  Unless the local lumber yard has some other good grain sealer, I'm thinking the next project using wood will include Crystalac and epoxy for the knotholes.      
  • Ok guys, Crystalac is water based and has no oder. I shoot it in my basement and my wife can't smell it in the next room. I'm not sure what you smelled but it wasn't Crystalac.

    Jim
    ani_101
  • jholtz said:
    Ok guys, Crystalac is water based and has no oder. I shoot it in my basement and my wife can't smell it in the next room. I'm not sure what you smelled but it wasn't Crystalac.

    Jim
    I have recently switched to waterbased sealer / top coat, there is no odor, goes on easy, no VOC. I haven't tried Crystalac, need to put it on my list. As of now I am using general finish
  • jholtz said:
    Ok guys, Crystalac is water based and has no oder. I shoot it in my basement and my wife can't smell it in the next room. I'm not sure what you smelled but it wasn't Crystalac.

    Jim
    Crap. I've got to find a forum where I can delete my wrong posts!
    You are correct. I was thinking about Waterlox.  My bad.

    jholtz
    Don, Donno, or "Hey you" all work for me, But never "Mr Johnson"
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