On my December 4, 2017 blog post titled “My Best Finishing Tip for Hardwoods” I closed with my “Key Storage Tip” which had worked for me in the past. Well now I’m here to add to that tip. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from woodworking it’s to never think you have it all figured out, in other words, remain teachable!
My key storage tip worked well for me until I got down to my can being about half empty, then I discovered that no matter how well I had sealed the can I was getting a film on the top of my finish. After doing some research and once again relying on the expertise of other woodworkers I found that no matter how well you sealed your can of finish, the air trapped inside the can was going to cause the finish (in my case an oil & urethane topcoat) to develop a thin layer of film on the surface. The longer the can sat, the thicker the layer of film. The answer? Marbles!
Although different woodworkers offered different solutions I found the “marbles” tip most effective.
Here’s how it works:
Order a sack of clear glass marbles that you use to replace the finish as you go. I ordered a bag of about 500 marbles for roughly $13, and each time I use my finish I add a few of the marbles to the can.
The marbles sink to the bottom but the finish rises to the top, leaving little room for air to remain in the can. It’s not vacuum sealed however the lack of air reduces the risk of a film developing on the topcoat.
I still recommend following my other tips (like not shaking the can), and while the marbles fill the void in the can they are light enough to still allow for thorough stirring to get all the chemicals in the finish to blend.
I’m told that when the can is empty you can clean the marbles in mineral spirits and then reuse. I haven’t reached that point yet, but so far so good. I’ll keep you posted as I go.