Some time ago a well-meaning friend and Newsletter reader started a sentence ‘The Newsletter obviously isn’t very hard work…’, a comment I was struggling with last Friday at 7.00am in a hotel room with a dodgy WiFI connection trying to work out why said Newsletter hadn’t sent properly. All this before getting ready for what turned out to be a hectic but enjoyable day at the Newark show.
(It appears there was some broken coding, I’m sorry that you had lots of emails from me last week).
If you want a full copy of last week’s Newsletter just let me know and I’ll send it to you – replying to this email comes straight to me, not an ‘unattended mailbox’ so you know it’ll get done.
And finally we can move onto some new questions…

Well I’m not sure if it is new actually. During the show at Newark I was asked many times about the difference between the three types of sanding sealer that we supply. I’d guess that it’s not common to see all of them together in a shop so this doesn’t arise elsewhere. I think I may have covered this before but with the number of new readers we have I think it’s worth re-visiting and a reminder is never a bad thing, so this is a ‘Sealer Special’.

First, let’s just cover the point and purpose of a sealer…

  • It seals the surface of the wood meaning you need less of the next coating to get a finish – always a good thing as the less you use the less likely it is to be damaged. It’s good for the pocket too!
  • The sealer binds the loose fibres of the timber together giving you a better foundation for the next coat and a more resilient finish
  • The sealer also contains a sanding agent which lubricates the abrasive to make the sanding process easier.

We have three types of sanding sealer:

Cellulose Sanding Sealer.
Still our most popular sanding sealer, for many reasons.

  • It’s very quick drying (about thirty seconds)
  • Very multi-purpose, can be used in many ways, very popular on turnings especially but a little harder to apply on larger areas.
  • It’s easy to use (apply with cloth, brush or spray)
  • It’s pretty much universal (you can use it with any of our products that benefit from the use of a sealer – which is all of them apart from the oils).

Cellulose Sanding Sealer is based on nitrocellulose, so it’s a bit smelly and highly flammable, so you need to exercise a bit of common sense when using and storing it. It’s a simple product that does exactly what it’s supposed to, and works best when applied undiluted or diluted 20% at most.
Apply one coat only before following with a wax, lacquer or polish.
Cellulose Sanding Sealer is also available as an aerosol, it’s pretty much the same product and should be used in much the same way. The only difference is that we increase the solids content to compensate for it being thinned to deliver through a spray nozzle.

Shellac Sanding Sealer
A more traditional sealer, based on bleached shellac and meths.

  • Fast drying (about 20 minutes)
  • Apply by brush, cloth or spray
  • Great for turning and also larger items such as furniture and architectural projects
  • Use as a base for waxes and polishes.

Shellac Sanding Sealer is probably the original form of sanding sealer, and being based on meths it’s still a little smelly and flammable. Always use it undiluted and as with all sealers allow it to dry completely before sanding and applying the next coat. This one isn’t available in an aerosol as it would be liable to clog up the nozzle in not time at all!

Acrylic Sanding Sealer

A more modern type of sealer, completely water based.

  • Touch dry in five minutes, can be sanded after 20 minutes but should be left for two hours if applying Acrylic Lacquer over it.
  • Use as a base for Acrylic Lacquer, Waxes and Polishes
  • The clearest of the sealers in our range
  • Can be used on a wide variety of items

If you’re looking for a product with virtually no smell and absolutely no flammability then Acrylic Sanding Sealer is the one for you.
Supplied ready for use it can be thinned up to 10% with water if absolutely necessary but avoid this if you can. Don’t stock up on this product, it has a limited shelf life; bottles have a ‘best before’ date on them, you should get an extra six months past that though. All the time it’s a liquid you can use it.

Acrylic Sanding Sealer is also available as an aerosol, it’s slightly different to the brushing version and is hard dry in 20 minutes. This is the one to use with the aerosol lacquers (except Melamine Gloss Lacquer), waxes and polishes.

And that’s it for this week – that’s a real bumper edition, sorry. As anyone who’s endured one of my demos knows I’m passionate about sealers, I think they’re often misunderstood and mis-used and I think it’s worth spending a little time explaining about them.
No shows this week, I’ve got a weekend off which will be nice.
Don’t forget though, if you’re still contemplating about coming to our Woodturning Weekender (and we hope you will) the prices will be going up on 1 April (and we’re not kidding!). Tickets prices will never be as low as they are now.

Have a good week, I’ll be back here in seven days.