Oil Based Seal-a-Cell (Clear)

An unusual combination of oils, urethanes and waxes, Seal-A-Cell Clear has served craftsman for decades as the best wipe-on clear coat to get that "natural" look on beautiful woods. The oils penetrate deep into the wood to highlight the figure of the wood, and the urethane ensures durability. It can be used as a standalone finish or you can follow with multiple coats of Arm-R-Seal topcoat to enhance durability. It can be used as a wood conditioner to control penetration of stains, used to dilute other stains and as a base to add universal tints to achieve custom colors.

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General Finishes Clear Oil Based Seal-a-Cell, Quart

Instructions

Step 1: Preparation Over Raw Wood

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.

Preparation for Raw Wood
See our video: How to Prep Sand Raw Wood

  1. The sanding schedule for wood that will be clear coated with an oil-based topcoat: sand up to 150-grit sandpaper.
  2. Remove dust with a vacuum, tack cloth or water-dampened rag.
  3. Do not over-sand with fine-grit sandpapers; this will close and seal the wood grain, preventing ideal color absorption.

Step 2: How To Apply General Finishes Seal-A-Cell

Seal-A-Cell Application Steps:

  1. Stir General Finishes Seal-A-Cell to reincorporate solids that have settled to the bottom of the can before use. 
  2. If desired, thin topcoat with 10-15% mineral spirits unless restricted by local or state regulations.
  3. Apply 3 coats. More coats will not improve durability.
  4. Use only with adequate ventilation. Open windows and doors or use other means to maintain fresh air flow during application and drying. 
  5. Brush application: Apply a liberal amount of product using a natural bristle brush, foam brush, pad applicator, or roller. Wipe along the wood grain using smooth, even strokes.
  6. Spray application: Seal-A-Cell can be sprayed successfully, but we prefer hand application methods because it is very easy to spray too much in one area. Spray very thin coats and immediately wipe or brush out runs if they occur. HVLP: 1.0mm-1.2mm spray tip, medium air cap. Check with equipment supplier for proper tip sizes. Click here for a general guide for spray tip sizes. Wear a mask and work in a well-ventilated space.
  7. Dry 12-24+ 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 dry 72+hr
      • Oil over water: Let water dry 24+hr
    • To accelerate drying 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.
  8. Finish sand between coats with a fine-grade (220-320) foam sanding pad or #400-grit sandpaper to improve smoothness and adhesion.
  9. Remove dust with a vacuum, oil-free tack cloth or clean water dampened rag before re-coating.

Top Coat: Can be topcoated with Arm-R-Seal to enhance durability.

Cure time: 

Oil-based finishes cure/ harden completely after 30 days. void placing heavy objects on top of surfaces that have not cured completely.Treat gently, and do not clean with commercial products during the cure period.


Application As A Wood Conditioner

  1. Seal-A-Cell can be used to control stain penetration and prevent blotching on difficult-to-stain woods such as cherry, poplar, and pine.
  2. 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.
  3. Let dry overnight
  4. Topcoat with General Finishes Arm-R-Seal or Gel Satin Topcoat. 
  5. When using wood conditioners, stain color will be 20% lighter. Apply a second coat for a deeper, richer color if desired. 

Creating Custom Oil Based Stain Colors

  1. Seal-A-Cell can be used as an oil based clear stain base. 
  2. Add universal tints to Seal-A-Cell to achieve custom colored stains.
  3. To dilute or lighten the color of General Finishes oil-based stains, add Seal-A-Cell Clear.

High Use Surfaces

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
     

Cleanup of Oil Based Products

Cleanup
Clean up application materials and hands with mineral spirits or waterless hand cleaner, like Goop or Gojo. 

Disposal
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. 

Spills
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.

Prevention 
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.

Storage Tips
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:

  1. Keep container tightly closed and sealed until ready for use, in the original container. Do not store in unlabeled containers.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Do not store product in an attic, garage, in direct sunlight, or next to ignition source with heat and flames such as a furnace. 
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Decant leftovers to a smaller, properly labeled container when the finish is almost used up to reduce the volume of oxygen in the container.
  11. Use appropriate containment to avoid environmental contamination.

Furniture Care and Maintenance

Cure First
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.
  • 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

Limited Warranty
General Finishes products must be tested to your complete satisfaction before using, including compatibility with other manufacturers products. General Finishes will be responsible only for the cost of our products and will not be responsible for any costs such as labor, damage, or replacement costs.

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. 

Danger: Contents are COMBUSTIBLE. Keep away from heat and open flame. Application materials or other waste soaked with this product may spontaneously catch fire if improperly discarded. Immediately after use, place rags, steel wool or waste in a sealed, water-filled, metal container. Dispose of in accordance with local fire regulations.

CAUTION: Contains ALIPHATIC HYDROCARBONS. VAPOR HARMFUL. Use only with adequate ventilation. DELAYED EFFECTS FROM LONG-TERM OVEREXPOSURE. Contains solvents which can cause permanent brain and nervous system damage. Intentional misuse by deliberately concentrating & inhaling the contents can be harmful or fatal.

Warning
If you scrape, sand, or remove old paint, you may release lead dust. LEAD IS TOXIC. EXPOSURE TO LEAD DUST CAN CAUSE SERIOUS ILLNESS, SUCH AS BRAIN DAMAGE, ESPECIALLY IN CHILDREN. PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD ALSO AVOID EXPOSURE. Wear a NIOSH-approved respirator to control lead exposure. Clean up carefully with a HEPA vacuum and a wet mop. Before you start, find out how to protect yourself and your family by contacting the National Lead Information Hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD or log onto www.epa.gov/lead.

Do not swallow; first aid: drink water to dilute product. May cause eye and skin irritation; first aid: flush eyes thoroughly with water.

FIRST AID: In case of eye contact, flush thoroughly with large amounts of water for 15 minutes and get medical attention. For skin contact, wash thoroughly with soap and water. In case of respiratory difficulty, provide fresh air and call physician. If swallowed, do not induce vomiting. Get medical attention immediately. 

Warning
This product contains a chemical known to the State Of California to cause cancer and birth defects. Do not swallow; first aid: drink water to dilute product. May cause eye or skin irritation; first aid: flush eyes thoroughly with water.

Specifications

Basic Features
Product Colors Dries Amber
Base Type Oil
Ambering Yes
Sheen Gloss (90+)
Interior or Exterior Interior only
Type Oil, Urethane & Wax Blend
Application
Coats 3 coats
Application Method Brush
Brushable Yes
Usable over existing finishes Yes
Sprayable No
Dry Time
Dry Time - Touch 12+ hr
Dry Time - Recoat 24+ hr
Dry Time - Light Use 7-10 days
Dry Time - Cure 30 days
Contents
Can Sizes Pints, Quarts, Gallons
Coverage 50 sq. ft/pint, 100 sq. ft/quart, 400 sq. ft/gal
Technical Data
Viscosity Thin
Viscosity (cPs) 100-200
Weight Solids 33%
VOC <565 g/L
Durability
Durability (Highest, High, Medium, Low) High
Hardness (Koenig #) 77
Wear (Taber #) 57.10 mg loss
Water 5
Chemical 90

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