Thursday, September 23, 2010

Things that - Work: Keeping paints, etc fresh between usages

Kristi has mentioned a few times that  I need to make a Blog post, so with this will kick-off a series I have been thinking about for a while - listing up what we have found works, and perhaps what we wish we had not bothered with.

First up, Things that Work.

I have a couple of tricks that have worked for me over the years to keep things like cans of Paint (varnish, etc) from drying out between usages.  Two of them:

For Paints and Varnish:  After I am done using part of the can, I take my propane torch and use it (UNLIT!) to 'fill' the can with Propane.  As Propane is heavier than air, it will settle to the bottom of the air space in the can and provide a barrier, keeping the remaining product in the can from kicking off.  This has worked flawlessly for me over the past years;  I can keep a can of say varnish that is only 20% full for many years!  Only downside I have seen is Propane has an aggressive temperature coefficient, and with a can that is rather empty I at times see the sides pulled in during cold weather.

I am sure any inert gas would do the same, providing it is also heavier than air.  I just happen to have Propane readily at hand.  (and make sure to do it outside, don't want to fill one's bilge with Propane!)

Likewise, I use Dolfinite Bedding Compound and it has a tendency to dry out.  I have not tried the Propane trick on it, instead I place a cut sheet of wax paper into the can forming it into the top of the remaining Dolfinite.  Am able to keep a can around for several years using this approach.

I have not found a fool-proof way to cap off left over caulking in the tube, Saran wrap seems to work most of the times, but not always.

And speaking of Saran wrap, I also find I can wrap my paint brush between coats of paint.  No need to clean the brush each time.  After unwrapping it, any sign of stiffness comes out withing in a minute of dipping the brush back into the paint.

Any other helpful hints folks have for keeping products usable between usages?

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