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Thread: A better varnish container??

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    277

    A better varnish container??

    I'm in the process of refinishing a bunch of windows and doors. I'm in and out of a can of spar varnish every day. No matter how tightly I seal the can, by the time I'm halfway down, it starts to gel. I've tried the Bloxygen route and had no success.

    When my kids were younger they were bottle fed. The plastic bottles had a plastic bag liner that collapsed as the kids drank. That way they never drank air. Why can't the varnish makers come out with similar air tight packaging?

    Grumble, grumble, grumble......... Damn kids get off my lawn!
    - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Jim Mackell
    Republic of Arundel, ME

  2. #2
    Google "Stop Loss Bag".

    Lee Valley sells these, and as luck would have it, they are offering free shipping (> $40).

    For my money, prefer to split my quarts of finish upon purchase into 4oz Boston round glass bottles. These single-servings are best IMHO because the unused bottles are never opened and will stay fresh for long periods of time.

  3. #3
    I use the Lee Valley bags and love them. I also use these for longer term storage of pre-mixed shellac. The plastic is not affected by the water in the shellac mix. If you've ever had a can fail on the shelf, you know what I'm talking about. The reduction of air space is a bonus.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 04-05-2017 at 8:38 AM.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    State College, PA
    Posts
    191
    Plus 1 for StopLossBags.

    I tried the 4-ounce bottle approach but found that I use finish so slowly that I would lose at least half of every bottle. I tried adding marbles to take up space in the bottle as I used the finish, but found that too messy.

  5. #5
    Genius!

    I probably use about a can of finish per project... Not because I use that much, but rather because by the end - the varnish has gelled and is useless...

    The worst part is that with our fine government ruining all the good varnishes via low VOC regulations - my choices keep getting more and more limited. I really dont like urethane products because they don't cure right on rosewoods.... Where a day or 2 of good sunlight would cure out a good phenolic short oil varnish.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    406
    The best solution I've found is soda bottles, or even water bottles (but they tend to be pretty thin.) I rinse them out and dry them well. I fill them to the brim and screw on the top to eliminate any air. Every time I use them, I just crush them till the air is out. I've kept Waterlox and Pratt and Lambert 38 in crumpled bottles for 5 years without any thickening or loss.

    I always thought I could find some IV bags that would be fillable. It looks like Stop Loss bags are just that. I bet some med supply places has something very similar.

    Dan

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    277
    Well, I bought some Stoploss bags and color me IMPRESSED. Aside from minor dribbling when I filled the bag, it works like a charm. I've already varnished twice. Just remove the cap, squeeze ou exactly what I need and recap. No muss, no fuss and best of all, NO AIR TO GEL THE REMAINDER!

    The instructions say to inflate the bag and then pour in the varnish. Of course you then have to burp the air out. Think on the next can I'll try starting with a collapsed bag.

    Thanks to all of you who pointed me in the right direction.
    - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Jim Mackell
    Republic of Arundel, ME

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Posts
    1,554
    If you start with a collapsed bag, you need to burp them mid pour, which is less convenient, but certainly not a deal breaker.

    I like the stop loss bags too, but there are some minor annoyances with them (cleaning the funnel afterwards is one).
    "A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths" - Steven Wright

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    3,099
    I haven't tried the bags but I use another method. Based on the Bloxygen idea, I keep a tank of nitrogen in the shop and replace the air in the can before storage - MUCH less expensive than the Bloxygen (if you happen to already have the gas). CO2 or argon would work as well but I already had an extra tank with nitrogen. The advantage is being able to keep the finish in the original can. The disadvantage is acquiring the tank of gas and a regulator.

    JKJ

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