Do finishes expire?

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Forum topic by LearningAsIGo posted 02-24-2014 08:38 PM 999 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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50 posts in 2599 days

02-24-2014 08:38 PM

I bought a quart of general finishes enduro var this past weekend from Woodcraft. On the bottom of the can it says 12 05 13 and made in the USA. Does that mean it expired in 2013 and I should return it?

6 replies so far

View Underdog's profile


1068 posts in 1998 days

#1 posted 02-24-2014 08:43 PM

I can usually tell when my finishes expire. They’re solid jello in the bottom of the can. ;-)

Why not try a test patch and see if it cures?

-- "woodworker with an asterisk"

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4945 posts in 2456 days

#2 posted 02-24-2014 09:23 PM

You could call GF and ask, but my bet is that’s it’s the date of manufacture. According to Jeff Jewitt, water borne finishes do not keep forever…I believe he said maybe 2 years in a recent article, even if they are unopened. Contrast that to oil based finishes, which if unopened (and stored properly) keep a really long time (indefinite, in his words).

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Finisherman's profile


227 posts in 1812 days

#3 posted 02-25-2014 02:11 AM

Give your finish a good stir. If it appears to be curdled at all, with the appearance of cottage cheese, don’t use it. If it looks ok, then do a test on some scrap. If it dries and sands well, you’re probably good to go. If at all in doubt though, I’d probably buy a new can of finish. How much trouble is it going to be to strip a finish that has failed?

View DavidIN's profile


81 posts in 1951 days

#4 posted 03-02-2014 02:08 PM

manufacturers put expiration codes on them but sometimes you have to look up how they code them. Some you can’t tell by looking because they write them in goofy ways that have to be looked up online.

View LearningAsIGo's profile


50 posts in 2599 days

#5 posted 03-05-2014 03:52 PM

I called them up and they said it’s the production date

View Ingjr's profile


144 posts in 2979 days

#6 posted 03-05-2014 11:46 PM

I’ll bet they could save a lot of people wondering about the date if they would put the word “made” in front of the date.

-- The older I get the faster I was.

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