All wood projects require preparation sanding before clear coating with a topcoat. If you skip this critical step, your finish may be rough and uneven.
See the video: How to Prep Sand Raw Wood.
- Sand open grain wood with 120 grit sandpaper, followed by 150 grit, then 180 grit. Sand closed grain wood with 150 grit sandpaper followed by 220 grit.
- Remove dust with a vacuum, compressed air, a tack cloth or a water-dampened rag.
Seal-A-Cell Application Steps:
- Watch Seal-A-Cell Product Overview Video
- Work in a well-ventilated area.
- Stir thoroughly to reincorporate solids that have settled to the bottom of the can before use.
- Test for adhesion
- Apply 1-2 coats.
- Apply a liberal amount of product using a natural bristle brush, foam brush, pad applicator, staining pad or cotton cloth. Wipe along the wood grain using smooth, even strokes. Avoid heavy pressure and back brushing.
- Wipe off excess evenly with the grain and with light pressure using a cloth or absorbent paper towel.
- Apply first coat of topcoat before sanding.
Topcoat: Topcoat with Arm-R-Seal or Gel Topcoat to enhance durability.
Application As A Wood Conditioner
- Seal-A-Cell can be used to control stain penetration and prevent blotching on difficult-to-stain woods such as cherry, poplar, and pine.
- Apply one coat with a brush or rag, then wipe off excess. Immediately apply General Finishes Oil Based Gel Stain or Liquid Oil Based Stain over wet Seal-A-Cell.
- Let dry overnight
- Topcoat with General Finishes Arm-R-Seal or Gel Satin Topcoat. Seal-A-Cell has a very small amount of wax, but not enough to interfere with adhesion.
- When using wood conditioners, the stain color will be 20% lighter. Apply a second coat for a deeper, richer color if desired.
Creating Custom Oil Based Stain Colors
- Seal-A-Cell can be used as an oil based clear stain base.
- Add universal tints to Seal-A-Cell to achieve custom colored stains.
- To dilute or lighten the color of General Finishes oil-based stains, add Seal-A-Cell Clear.
High Use Surfaces
- Seal-A-Cell is durable as a stand-alone finish on a table top, but if you are refinishing a high-use surface that will make regular contact with water, household chemicals and wear, we recommend using Arm-R-Seal instead. Seal-A-Cell has modified linseed oil which will pop the grain more, but Arm-R-Seal is more durable overall because of its high urethane content.
- To get the best of both finishes, apply a base coat of Seal-A-Cell to pop the wood grain and then top that with 2 coats Arm-R-Seal for durability. Let Seal-A-Cell dry completely before adding a second coat.
Dry Time Between Coats: Dry 24+ hours between coats when applying over raw or stained raw wood, and dry 72+ hours between coats when working over an existing sealed finish in ideal conditions: 70°F/20°C; 50-70% humidity. Inadequate dry time is one of the top reasons for finish failure. You can tell if an oil-based finish is dry if it is no longer tacky, cool to the touch, and if you can press a cotton ball over the surface and nothing sticks. If in doubt, wait longer.
Increase dry time if:
- Humidity is over 80%
- 3+ coats are applied
- Thick coats are applied
- Applying over an existing sealed finish
- Applying over products from other brands
- Layering General Finishes water- and oil-based products:
- Water over oil: Let oil-based products dry 72+hrs before applying water-based products
- Oil over water: Let water-based products dry 24+hrs before applying oil-based products
- To accelerate dry time in humid conditions, work in a space with good ventilation and air movement. If you decide to re-coat before the recommended time, test dryness.
Cure Time Before Use: Oil-based finishes cure and harden completely after 30 days. Avoid placing heavy objects on surfaces that have not completely cured. Treat gently, and do not clean with commercial products during the cure period.
Cleanup of Oil Based Products
Clean up application materials and hands with mineral spirits or waterless hand cleaner, like Goop or Gojo.
Take great care when disposing of product-soaked applicators. Application materials, such as brushes and towels, containing oil-based products may spontaneously catch fire if improperly discarded. Immediately place all application materials soaked with this product in a sealed, water-filled metal container. Dispose of in accordance with local fire regulations.
Clean up spills with mineral spirits immediately while wet. If oil-based finishes dry, they are difficult to clean off any surface, clothes or carpet. Carpet may discolor if cleaned with mineral spirits.
Protect your workspace with a tarp, your hands with gloves, and your clothes with an apron.
Storage of Oil Based Products
Life of Product
General Finishes products do not last forever, even when unopened. They are best used within 1 year of the manufacture date listed on the bottom of the can. The life of the product may be extended with proper care and storage.
See our video: Tips for Storing Leftover Finishes.
Oil-based products start to harden and cure when exposed to oxygen. The following best practices will increase the life of your product:
- Keep container tightly closed and sealed until ready for use, in the original container. Do not store in unlabeled containers.
- Pry open sealed lids with a paint can opener by hooking under the lid's rolled edge. The use of a screwdriver can disfigure the rim and lid, impairing a complete seal.
- Keep lid closed while working. Decant what you will use into a bowl, paper cup, or plate, and close can lid as you work. Every minute the can is open, the product is curing.
- Containers that have been opened must be carefully resealed and kept upright to prevent leakage. Clean the chime of the can thoroughly with a paper towel before closing to create a complete seal. Product in the chime can be minimized by using a pouring lid, such as Fitsall. Avoid wiping used brushes on the lid.
- Pound the lid in place using a rubber mallet to avoid distorting the chime or lid. Dents in the lid from direct contact with a hammer can impair a complete seal. Alternatively, place a flat piece of wood over can lid and firmly pound shut.
- Avoid temperatures below 50°F/10°C or above 80°F/26°C. Frozen and heat-damaged product cannot be revitalized. Store in original container protected from direct sunlight in a dry, cool and well-ventilated areas.
- Do not store product in an attic, garage, in direct sunlight, or next to ignition source with heat and flames such as a furnace.
- Store the can upside down to create a liquid seal, minimizing oxygen exposure from within the can. Decant remaining product from the can before stirring.
- Add Bloxygen can. Bloxygen is an argon gas system that prevents oxygen and moisture from hardening leftover product. Because Bloxygen gas is heavier than air, it sinks to the surface of the leftover finish, creating a barrier between product and air trapped in the container.
- Decant leftovers to a smaller, properly labeled container when the finish is almost used up to reduce the volume of oxygen in the container.
- Use appropriate containment to avoid environmental contamination.
Furniture Care and Maintenance
You have just finished applying a fine furniture finish. Treat gently until the paint or topcoat have fully cured. Allow 21 days for a water-based finish to cure and 30 days for an oil-based finish to cure before cleaning.
Regular Cleaning and Maintenance
- Remove dust with a water-dampened cloth. Dust can build up over time and may scratch or dull finishes if not removed regularly.
- Remove fingerprints, cooking fumes and smoking residue with mild soap and water. These contaminants will not harm the finish, but they accumulate on surfaces and dull the original luster.
- As with all fine furniture finishes, avoid using furniture polish, cleaners or dusting sprays that contain silicone, alcohol, ammonia and anything acidic. Exception: We have successfully cleaned with Clorox wipes for occasional cleanups.
- Clean up water, alcohol and food spills in a timely manner and use placemats & coasters to protect the finish.
- Future finishes or touch-ups may not adhere properly or perform as desired over a contaminated surface. Some contaminants, such as silicone, seep through finish into the wood and often cannot be removed.
- Avoid excessive exposure to direct sunlight, high temperatures or high humidity. These can damage furniture and finishes.
Warnings and Warranties
General Finishes products must be tested to your complete satisfaction before using. General Finishes will not be responsible for color satisfaction, misapplication, nor compatibility with other manufacturers' products. General Finishes will be responsible only for the cost of our products, and not for costs such as labor, damage or project replacement.
Contamination and Compatibility
Our finishes are engineered as a system and are compatible with each other. General Finishes cannot guarantee an ideal refinish when applying our products on top of or combined with another company's products or over surfaces that have been in contact with waxes, polishes or sprays containing contaminants such as silicone. Test for adherence and aesthetics before beginning.
FIRST AID: Seek immediate medical attention if symptoms occur due to the following. EYE CONTACT: Remove any contact lenses. Flush eyes with water for 20+ minutes while lifting upper and lower eyelids. SKIN CONTACT: Wash thoroughly after handling. INHALATION: Move to fresh air. Loosen tight clothing. If not breathing, if breathing is irregular, or if respiratory arrest occurs, trained personnel should provide artificial respiration or oxygen. INGESTION: Call physician immediately. Wash out mouth with water. Do not induce vomiting unless directed to do so by medical personnel. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person.
DANGER: COMBUSTIBLE LIQUID AND VAPOR. HARMFUL OR FATAL IF SWALLOWED. CAUSES EYE IRRITATION.
DANGER: Can enter lungs and cause damage. DANGER: Keep out of reach of children. Keep away from heat and flame. Use only with adequate ventilation. Do not breathe vapor or mist. Do not swallow. Avoid contact with eyes. Keep container tightly closed when not in use. Wash thoroughly after handling.