Michael Dresdner

straight talk about wood finishing

To seal or not to seal

Q: Should I apply a sanding sealer after staining maple? I read that you cannot use sanding sealer under a sprayed precatalyzed spray lacquer which is what I was thinking of finishing with.
A: That’s half true; stearated sealers, which are one type of sealer, are not compatible under most catalyzed finishes. You must have a positive reason for every step in the finishing process. Sanding sealer is typically used on highly absorbent woods. Maple is not one of them and does not ever require sanding sealer. There are other types of sealers used for other reasons, including some that act as barrier coats allowing finishes to coexist over otherwise incompatible or bleeding stains, but that is not an issue here.