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Feb 10, 2014, 04:23 PM
I'm doing a fireplace mantel, korbles, and a matching rail around the hearth. I'm using Minwax oil-based pigmented stains on cedar. I was thinking of using a polyurethane finish because it is heat resistant, although the fireplace is barely warm to the touch 5 inches or so from the opening. But that leaves open the question of a sealer.
1) Do I need a sealer between the stain and the polyurethane? (I haven't decided on gel or varnish, although I hear varnish is more heat resistant.)
2) I expect I do need a sealer prior to staining the ends to prevent disproportionate stain absorption. Some use glue size for endgrains prior to staining, but I believe glue size is very sensitive to heat. Wax-free shellac might be another possibility, but, again, sensitive to heat. However, the ends of the mantel are quite away from the opening of the fireplace. Perhaps heat is not an issue for that application? Is it really an issue for any of the work?

Any advice would be much appreciated.
Feb 10, 2014, 06:15 PM
I'd go with a pre-stain sealer to even out the stain over different grain, then stain, then go straight to poly coats.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Jaybee,

Feb 11, 2014, 03:07 AM
You be the judge...