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It has been year ago, but the sanding sealer that I used was thick and produced a significant layer.

For furniture - especially on open pore wood like Oak or Walnut or non-Birch plywood it is a useful

prep.  It could have out of scale effect on a model.


I favor the traditional:

1) super blonde shellac flakes 5% solution in denatured alcohol or 100% isopropyl alcohol *

2) pure Tung oil 1:1 with mineral spirits as a primer.


The first coat is ragged on and wiped off after a few minutes.  It soaks into the wood instead of leaving a surface layer.


* Normal super blonde shellac is 10% soln.

The off the shelf garnet shellac is ~20% - the waxes increase its solubility.

NRG member 45 years



HMS Centurion 1732 - 60-gun 4th rate - Navall Timber framing

HMS Beagle 1831 refiit  10-gun brig with a small mizzen - Navall (ish) Timber framing

The U.S. Ex. Ex. 1838-1842
Flying Fish 1838  pilot schooner -  framed - ready for stern timbers
Porpose II  1836  brigantine/brig - framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers
Vincennes  1825  Sloop-of-War  -  timbers assembled, need shaping
Peacock  1828  Sloop-of -War  -  timbers ready for assembly
Sea Gull  1838  pilot schooner -  timbers ready for assembly
Relief  1835  ship - timbers ready for assembly


Portsmouth  1843  Sloop-of-War  -  timbers ready for assembly
Le Commerce de Marseilles  1788   118 cannons - framed

La Renommee 1744 Frigate - framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers


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I haven't used a sanding sealer, but I pretty much always use a lacquer based primer on everything I'm going paint, but I think it depends on the effect you're looking for.  I use acrylic paints (water based), and find that without a primer, the paint tends to raise the wood grain a bit.  So, things that are painted without primer look very 'wood-y' and show their grain.  When use primer (and sand after the primer dries), I get a much smoother finish (often showing no wood grain).  I like that really smooth look so I always use primer.


The primer I use is Tamiya Liquid Surface Primer (grey), and it goes on very thin.  So thin that it won't fill any holes, and any defects in the wood still show up.  Since it is lacquer based it is a bit of a pain to clean up (can't be cleaned with water), but the results I get are worth it.


I used it on the hull of my Phantom and Bluenose builds, but I think it really comes down to personal preference.

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One advantage to a primer over a clear sanding sealer is that it will show up any defects that need to be repaired before painting the final coats. I always find something that needs to be fixed. On hulls, I usually use something like Rustoleum or Krylon in a rattle can from the hardware store. Of course, it has to be sanded before applying finish coats.


Cheers -


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One thought is to wipe on a coat of polyurethane before painting.  Has anyone tried that?


If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea  

Antoine de Saint Exupery


Current Builds

Bluenose - Model Shipways - 1:64 Scale

Fair American - Model Shipways - 1:48 Scale

HMS Winchelsea 1764 - Group Build

On Deck

Guns of History Naval Smoothbore Deck Gun - 1:24 Scale

Finished Builds

Mare Nostrum - Artesania Latina - 1:35 Scale

Guns of History Carronade - Model Shipways - 1:24 Scale


Member of the Nautical Research Guild


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Hello Les here. A question. Are you able to spray the hull with an air brush or rattle can? If so this is the way to go. Simply pick a flat lacquer rattle can of Varathane or you could use a solvent based clear coat. Be aware that solvent based paints take 12 hours to fully dry where lacquer is ready in about 2. So same day workability. Blow two light coats on and give a light sand between coats. Your now ready for any paint. What I have found out with brushed on primers is they lay down too thick and your forced to sand out the finish to make it smooth before paint. If you are going to paint a hull with colours it is best to use an airbrush so you can tint the primer to a close final coat colour.

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Some of the hobby primers, such as Tamiya, go on pretty thin. They are formulated with finer pigments, to keep them lighter. And it comes in rattle cans, too. Here in the US we also have Scalecoat, which is solvent based. It comes in rattle cans, too. It's a finely pigmented lacquer base. You'd have to find a local shop catering to model railroaders for Scalecoat. Many shops don't stock it, since mostly the hard core prototype modelers use it. I like it because the final colors dry to a gloss. Very helpful for decaling.


Started: MS Bounty Longboat,

On Hold:  Heinkel USS Choctaw paper

Down the road: Shipyard HMC Alert 1/96 paper, Mamoli Constitution Cross, MS USN Picket Boat #1

Scratchbuild: Echo Cross Section


Member Nautical Research Guild

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