Arm R Seal and Seal a Cell combo?

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Forum topic by Neophyte74 posted 10-09-2019 03:32 AM 237 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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14 posts in 36 days

10-09-2019 03:32 AM

Topic tags/keywords: sapele tabletop

I just finished a glue up on on a 6.5 foot by 40 inch table top made out of 1 inch thick Sapele. I have decided to coat it with Arm R Seal Oil Finish. The website for this product suggests coating with Seal a Cell clear first to “pop the grain” before 2 coats of Arm R Seal. I’m not sure what “pop the grain” means. I’m considering getting some Seal a Cell and creating a test board with both products and then a test board with just arm r Seal. Has anyone else used these products in combination?

I also have the following finishing questions: 1) Once I finish sanding, is there a time period for starting to apply finishes? In other words, are there any problems that arise if the sanded wood is exposed to the elements too long? 2) I want a very smooth surface and am considering using a grain filler. Any advice for someone who has never used grain filler. 3) I plan to apply to finish both sides of the table top. Should I alternate sides (1st coat on top followed by bottom) or complete one side at a time (complete 3 coats on top then 3 coats on bottom)

Sorry I realize that’s a lot of questions. Even responding to parts of this post will help. Thanks for any advice

6 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5758 posts in 3006 days

#1 posted 10-09-2019 12:22 PM

The replies will vary widely (probably) and they will be (probably) all correct based on our personal experiences. I would skip the seal a cell, any “popping” will be done by the ARS. Popping is just enhancing some of the grain features which many feel is quite attractive. The Sapele I’ve seen is fairly straight grained and quite uniform in appearance….so the “popping” part isn’t all that important. For the others: sanding ahead of time (unless it’s years) shouldn’t be a problem. I’m not much on grain fillers, others will have more useful info. But look up “slurry sanding”, that’s what I would do to fill the grain. Lastly, I would probably do one side at a time…the bottom first. When you flip it any small damage to the finish will unseen.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View OSU55's profile


2408 posts in 2502 days

#2 posted 10-09-2019 12:23 PM

No need for seal a cell, ars will provide chatoyance (look it up) or pop the grain.

1) No time limit, though over a period of time (several days or more)with moisture changes some grain raise may happen but a quick swipe sanding takes care of it

2) Several approaches to grain filling but if you are not adding any color here is what I would do:
A) leave sanding dust in grain. Sand to 320 to 600.
B) thin the ars ~ 4 to 1 part ms. Flood on the surface, keep wet for 10 min, wipe off, dry, Can do another coat after 2 hrs if desired.
C) after dry, sand with 600. If gummy let dry longer.. flood surface keep wet . I would wet sand. Build slurry, wipe off.
D) repeat C until filled.
E) apply ars w/o thinning wipe, brush, spray to film thickness desired. # of coats depends on application method and desired film thickness.
F) rub out to desired sheen

View Blindhog's profile


133 posts in 1561 days

#3 posted 10-09-2019 01:17 PM

Have used ARS on table tops with great results. Did not use seal-a-cell but have used AquaCoat to fill open celled wood (oak, mesquite, etc.) before applying ARS. Just apply the AquaCoat to the level of fill you desire and apply ARS after sanding.
If you have a highly figured wood that you want to enhance chatoyance, there are many methods to accomplish that. I’d recommend checking posts/website for information by Charles Neil; he’s the man!

-- Don't let perfection get in the way of plenty good enough

View Neophyte74's profile


14 posts in 36 days

#4 posted 10-09-2019 09:51 PM

Thanks to everyone for some great advice. One additional question: should I attach the hairpin legs that I’m using before I apply the arm r Seal or after the table top and bottom has all 3 coats. I’m assuming after is the answer but I’m not certain.

View therealSteveN's profile (online now)


3914 posts in 1087 days

#5 posted 10-09-2019 09:58 PM

Just ArS and go. Prep some stock to make sure, but I love ArS, kinda luke cool on SaS.

-- Think safe, be safe

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile (online now)


328 posts in 60 days

#6 posted 10-09-2019 10:50 PM

Fred said it already, but you want to alternate coats, bottom, top, bottom, top, etc., because if you do 3 coats on one side, then do the other side, there is a good chance the wood will bow/cup to the finished side before you get to the flip side.

Re: attaching the legs: I would do the last coat (top and legs) with the table fully assembled.

Youll get all the “pop” you need from the oil in ARS

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: It is wiser to find out, than to suppose (S. Clemens)

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