Storing Finishes

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Forum topic by Jim Crockett (USN Retired) posted 11-26-2009 08:48 PM 1218 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 3157 days

11-26-2009 08:48 PM

How do you store your finishes, particularly varnish? The last three cans, I had to dispose of nearly half of a can of each because it had congealed. The last can of Arm-R-Seal, I even used Bloxygen but ran out and it gelled before I could get another can.

I really don’t want to buy in pints because it is so much more expensive (Qt – $14.99, Pint $11.99), but I suppose it would be cheaper than throwing half a quart out each time. Does anyone use additional containers to store your finish in smaller quantities – I am thinking of 8 oz. mason jars and dividing each quart into four 8 oz. containers. I did this with some Satin Arm-R-Seal, using 8 oz. poly bottles and it seems to be working – but filling the small neck bottles is a pain!!!

Any suggestions will be gladly accepted.


-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

6 replies so far

View Gary's profile


8965 posts in 2856 days

#1 posted 11-26-2009 09:21 PM

I’ve been wondering about getting dry nitrogyn in a bottle like what I have with my welding stuff, only smaller bottles, and using it like bloxygen. I do seperate some of the stuff into smaller bottles. I also put wax on the rims. Seems to help get the lid off…not my idea…someone told me to do it. I wish they would sell the stuff in collapsable bags with a small spout at the bottom. That would prevent the air from getting in there and allow you to use only what you want.

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View SteveMI's profile


949 posts in 2718 days

#2 posted 11-26-2009 09:21 PM

I had the same experience with the mason jar being unable to open.

I went to HD and they wanted $3 for an empty metal pint can. Would be nice to find an inexpensive source for the newer plastic pint cans.


View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3298 days

#3 posted 11-26-2009 09:25 PM

I’ve heard the suggestion of transfering the finish to a plastic container and then squeezing the container until the finish is just about to run over before putting the lid on – that way there is almost no air inside.

-- -- --

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3245 days

#4 posted 11-26-2009 11:21 PM

Jim, all of the suggestions are on target. The main thing is to minimize the headspace on the finish when you close it up. Less headspace =less oxygen for the conversion process to continue. One other method for storing finishes that I use is, that since I largely use wiping varnishes, I cut the varnish 50:50 with mineral spirits. I have kept varnishes stored over a year without any noticeable jelling.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5108 posts in 2618 days

#5 posted 11-27-2009 02:16 AM

If you decide to use the mason jars to store your finish, here’s a suggestion, and one that I’ve used for years. Take the rubber seal (the one under the lid) off with a knife, small chizel, etc. Put a little dab (not much) of petroleum jelly on the threads, put the lid on, and screw and unscrew it a few times to spread the jelly on the threads. The r.s has a tendecy to get “mushy” and gummy. Once it’s gone, you should be ok.
Shake the jar pretty often, and keep it stirred. Hopefully it’ll last longer.

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

View End_Grain's profile


95 posts in 2560 days

#6 posted 11-27-2009 02:44 PM

Rick’s last sentence is on target. Whenever you reseal a can of anything, varnish, shellac, pvc glue, etc, shake the crap out of the can. This gets the humidity in the residual air in the can to 100% and generally prevents problems with whatever is in the can. A very old and dear shop teacher taught me this 35 years ago.

-- My greatest fear is that when I die, my wife will sell all my stuff for what I told her I bought it for.

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