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Old 12-08-2008, 09:04   #1
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Preserving unused varnish

I'm about to do a bunch of varnishing on the boat. We all know how dang expensive the stuff is. Usually though once the can has been opened the shelf life seems to drop to just a few days before forming a thick skin that just gets thicker until the whole mess is a solid.

In all my reading I have never seen any suggestions as to how to prevent or at least slow this process down. Is anyone aware of any tips/tricks to extend the shelf life of opened varnish??
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:06   #2
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I've always heard that CO2 works well, so here's what I do: I take a breath, and hold it as long as I can. Then I exhale it into the can. I can't say how well this works, but it's what I do. I seem to rarely get a skin in the can, at least for a few months.
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:08   #3
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And what else were you eating that day?
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:43   #4
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use a computer duster can to purge the air out right before you seal it. or if you have one a preval sprayer just blowing propellant in will work too. and the last trick is to use clean marbles to "fill" the can so there is lttle air space.
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:44   #5
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Like I said - It's just something I've done for years. It's habit at this point. But, I don't know if it really works or not, since I've not tried a scientific experiment on it. Sounds like a good Science Fair project for someone's kid, though.
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Old 12-08-2008, 10:33   #6
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When you have finished varnishing, take an oversized piece of stretch or cling wrap and lay it over the top of the can and then press it down gently to contact the entire surface of the remaining varnish with your (cleaned) brush. If air cannot reach the remaining varnish, it cannot cure. Seal the lid and then wrap the entire can in cling wrap and slip it into the back of one of the lower shelves of your refrigerator. If you wife is like mine, ood's are she'll never even notice it and the varnish will remain usable for a long time (once it warms up!).

Cheers,

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Old 12-08-2008, 11:33   #7
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Some good suggestions - thanks all

There is another which I just came up with after reading yours. We have one of those vacuum sealers for food. It occurs to me that there were some lids or perhaps containers that came with it. It may be possible to use that to vacuum seal the can. Hmmm.
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:45   #8
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From the Trailer Sailor file of Charlie Jones........

a first class wooden boat builder. He says to take your handy dandy propane blow torch and open the valve putting propane(remember it's heavier than air)on top of the varnish displacing the air. Close lid tightly. I've done this and it does work. Don't light the torch or do it in a wind or below decks, but you guessed that, right?...........m
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:50   #9
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I must try some of these ideas. I have usually just decanted the amount I think I will use and put the lid back on quickly and stored the remainder upside down.
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:58   #10
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Hey bstreep what's the altitude record for that one? Gotta be flying high??!
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