Craftsmen using shellac often keep in mind the words 'clear, color, clear'. Even though they may want to apply a darker shade of shellac to complement the wood being finished, they will start with a clearer shade, perhaps Super Blonde, then apply several coats of the desired darker shade, and finally topcoat it with the clearer shade.
The first coat of 'clear' fills in the very small checks and defects in the wood so that when the 'color' is applied, there is no blotching and the grain of the wood shows through crisp and clean. This is easily evident in small pored woods like maple as well as softwoods like pine and fir.
The desired 'Color ' is the applied, usually no more than 3 coats of a 2 pound cut as the darker shades of shellac like garnet, ruby, and sometimes even orange will begin to streak after several coats are applied, especially over light colored woods.
'Clear' is used again as a topcoat to build up the desired depth of finish.