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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Default Shellac vs Polyurethane sealing after staining?

    I am staining a set of parawood kitchen tables and chairs black with minwax onyx stain. I had to apply two coats of stain and let the second coat dry on the wood without wiping off to get the stain to appear dark and even. How should I seal this?

    Can I now apply the minwax polyurethane coating or do I have to shellac it first? I asked Zinnsers about their bullseye shellac and they said that if might give the wood a slightly yellow tint which I would like to avoid. If I directly apply the polyurethane coating will it adhere to the wood OK and seal it?

    Any advice would be appreciate.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Fayette County, Ohio

    Default Re: Shellac vs Polyurethane sealing after staining?

    First of all I would not use a Minwax finish.
    Shellac is not a good choice because it is affected by alcohol. Oil based poly will have an amber tint to it while latex poly will be much clearer. I would suggest you try some inconspicuous area for tests.
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago

    Default Re: Shellac vs Polyurethane sealing after staining?


    McDaAniel is correct about not using shellac as a finish coat where water or alcoholic drinks are placed. Polyurethane is much more moisture/alcohol resistive.

    If you have a heavy coat of oil based stain on the surface, I would seal the stain with DE-WAXED shellac first. This will prevent the solvents in the urethane from possibly loosening the built up stain. DO NOT use regular shellac, as poly-urethanes are not compatible with the wax in it. Zinsser's "Seal Coat" is their de-waxed shellac brand.

    Some woodworkers feel that shellac gives a warmth to the wood that is lacking with urethane alone. Urethanes do seem to have a plastic look when used alone.

    Urethanes, and all oil based varnishes, will give a slight amber tone to the wood. Normally, it does not significantly alter the final appearance unless you have used a whitish, pickling type stain.

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