How do you store your finishes and paints over the winter?

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Forum topic by SteveMI posted 11-04-2010 08:38 PM 3574 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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946 posts in 2717 days

11-04-2010 08:38 PM

All the LJ on the Big Island (not the Aussies), Southern Florida and San Diego can just move past this.

I used to bring all my finishes into the house over the winter due to fear of freezing them. Over the year I have accumulated too many for that to work as well. Every can of paint or finish it seems has the legal warning against storing below a certain temperature, but I am not sure if that is to cover their behinds or real.

I have a heater in my shop, but don’t keep it on overnight or when I am not in the shop.

What do other LJ in cold winter climates do?


23 replies so far

View juanabee's profile


107 posts in 2431 days

#1 posted 11-04-2010 10:40 PM

I just bring my water-based finishes into the house. Been doin’ that two years, so far no ill effects (that an inexperienced wannabee can see). And it gets fairly cold here in Utah during the winter. Many days below freezing.

-- "Life's nonsense pierces us with strange relation." Wallace Stevens

View Toolz's profile


1004 posts in 3165 days

#2 posted 11-04-2010 10:41 PM

Steve, I live just north of Dayton, OH. I just check the thermometer in the shop every couple of days. If it drops below freezing I fire up the torpedo kerosene heater for a few minutes to bring the temp up to above 40 degrees. My shop walls are insulated but only about half the ceiling is. It holds temps above freezing for a couple of days if I do this routine.

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

View wichle's profile


96 posts in 2369 days

#3 posted 11-04-2010 10:49 PM

I don’t have much now but before we moved I stored a bunch. I put a low 6” shelf in the bottom of the storage cabinet, put a 25 watt lamp in the bottom and a dimmer to take it down to about half way. It kept the cabinet toasty. I learned it from a friend who kept baby chicks warm this way.

-- Bill, Michigan "People don't come preassebled, but are glued together by life"

View Manitario's profile


2393 posts in 2306 days

#4 posted 11-04-2010 10:51 PM

I packed them all inside a few weeks ago; I’ve found that wood glue doesn’t hold up in the cold very well (and by cold, I mean -30 sometimes for weeks at a time). The stains and oils seem to do ok, but I bring them inside anyways. It’s kind of sad, I know when I have to start bringing in the stains, summer is truely over.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View NBeener's profile


4808 posts in 2597 days

#5 posted 11-04-2010 11:02 PM

along the lines of what wichie said …. I’ve heard people bought junker refrigerators, pulled the guts, added shelves, and then added a light bulb for warmth.

You could probably get fancy, and easily wire in a thermostat, too !

-- -- Neil

View SnowyRiver's profile


51452 posts in 2903 days

#6 posted 11-04-2010 11:10 PM

I leave the heat on in my shop all the time in the winter. I just turn it down to about 55 when I am not in there. Although I store my finishes in a closet under the staircase in the rec room of the house so it isnt real handy…about 25 ft away but its warm :-)

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View SteveMI's profile


946 posts in 2717 days

#7 posted 11-04-2010 11:13 PM

Bill – I like that idea with low wattage bulb.
Neil – I have a smaller wine fridge that died and should work well.


View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 2261 days

#8 posted 11-04-2010 11:46 PM

In the house.

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View cwdance1's profile


1158 posts in 2682 days

#9 posted 11-05-2010 12:03 AM

I bring mine in the house and store them until it warms up again.

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4166 posts in 2279 days

#10 posted 11-05-2010 12:12 AM

I left out some PVA a few years ago.
I had forgotten about it and when I went to use it in the summer it was like clotted cheese.
Not surprisingly the glue faild.
Now I just use titebond and keep it indoors.
If I forget, the most I lose is a half bottle.
I wont use it if the temp has dropped in the shop.

Scotland where it can get a wee bit cold

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5300 posts in 3135 days

#11 posted 11-05-2010 12:19 AM

I keep my finishes and glue in the house. I try to use up all that I can before it gets too cold as I don’t like storing more than necessary in the living quarters…just in case there is a fire I don’t want anymore toxic crap in the house than is necessary…part of the reason we got rid of the wall to wall carpets. I’ve had some interesting conversations with firefighters about what crap they have to deal with in a house fire and if you can make their job safer and easier I’d say go for it.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View HallTree's profile


5663 posts in 3190 days

#12 posted 11-10-2010 02:19 AM

Good idea Neil, about the junker refrigerator. The problem I have is our Summer park (in Minnesota) shuts down for the Winter and I cannot take paints, finishes, and cauking inside the home because it is not heated. So I have to take them over to my sons place for the Winter, what a pain. I could haul them down to Arkansas for the Winter, but there are times that it freezes there and I don’t have the room in our small home anyway. Now I have to decide if having a light bulb on for 6 mos. is worth the cost.

-- "Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life" Solomon

View NBeener's profile


4808 posts in 2597 days

#13 posted 11-10-2010 02:24 AM


If it’s an unoccupied, seasonal house, you may want to check with the Fire Department about the entire idea. Though a fridge is fairly tough, they might recommend that nothing electrical be left on, in a house that’s going to be unattended for months.

That said … if we’re looking at a 60W bulb, thermostatically controlled, it shouldn’t cost much at all to run it.

Still … if I had a buddy, in the area, with a year-round residence, and a basement that didn’t freeze … I’d trade HIM a nice dinner for a corner of his warm house ;-)

-- -- Neil

View Mogebier's profile


170 posts in 2456 days

#14 posted 11-10-2010 03:22 AM

I have everything in the house because I don’t have a garage.
I see so many people leave paint and stuff in their uninsulated garage. As much as we pay for that stuff, you wonder why they leave it to go bad in the winter?

-- You can get more with a kind word and a 2 by 4, than you can with just a kind word.

View nate22's profile


453 posts in 2298 days

#15 posted 11-10-2010 06:20 PM

I just bring my stains, and paints inside the house. I also put my glue inside the house to.

-- Gracie's wooden signs. Middlebury, In.

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