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All Hardwoods with closed grains such as Cherry,Birch,Maple should have a wash coat of shellac prior to staining.If you do not do this you will get uneven finishes. the purpose of a wash coat is to even out the porosity of the wood prior to staining.

for a wash coat you need to take your shellac made from a 4 pound cut.
4:1 ( 4 pounds shellac resin into 1 gallon methyl hydrate)

and thin it further to make a wash coat a ratio of 6:1
6:1 (6 parts methyl hydrate into the 1 part shellac you made above)

this is the proper formula to make a wash coat prior to staining the above woods.
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