I was finishing up on a small job and needed to touch up 4 spots about
the size of a BB. Because the spots probably would not be noticeable I
almost used oil on them instead of my gel varnish. But NOOOOOoooooo I
pulled out the gel varnish, opened the can, stuck a q-tip in and applied the
varnish to the 4 tiny spots. I returned to the can, put the lid on, turned
it upside down to give it a solid slam onto the work bench to seal the lid
and force the varnish in side to go to the lid side in the upside down
position. I then proceeded to carry the can upside down over to the storage
cabinet above my drill press and mortiser and as I reached to put the can in
the cabinet I bumped the bottom of the gel varnish can against the cabinet
opening and every thing went into slow motion.
The lid popped off and the contents proceeded to empty out, half inside
the cabinet, the rest on to the top of my tall wooden tool chest, on top
of the mortiser, down the side of the stand that the mortiser and drill
press are mounted to and the rest make it to the floor. I had to pull the
mortiser fan guard off to get the globs of varnish out of the fan fins also.
About 1 hour later and 50 or so acetone soaked paper towels later I finished
Gel varnishes pretty much stay put when they are spilled unlike liquid
varnishes. Can you imagine 1/2 quart of liquid varnish emptying out over
the same places? ;~)
Quit yer bitching, bubba ... took me longer than that to clean up after
dropping and shattering a bottle of Texas Red on the floor ... a tragedy of
much greater magnitude in the overall scheme of things. :)
I can't match your tragedy of colour, but I can beat it with frustration
About a year ago, I came home from food shopping and while I was putting my
jacket into the closet, I accidentally tore one of the shopping bags hanging
on the back of my wheelchair. A quart sized glass bottle of applesauce fell
out of one bag, shattered on the floor and proceeded to spread into a yard
wide circle. Naturally, I'm sitting in my wheelchair right in the middle of
this expanding mess. Problem with that is that I have to roll out of the
mess tracking it twenty feet into my apartment to get the paper towels to
clean it up. That meant climbing out of the wheelchair, cleaning the wheels,
climbing back in and then cleaning bit by bit all the way back to the pool
Four hours of cursing and swearing later, it's all cleaned up. I used to
Why upside down? The product oxidizes/skims over on the air side. If the
can is stored upside down the contents will be fresh on the top when you
invert it. No skimming over. Paint companies have been doing this for
The particular brand gel varnish that I use skims over faster than most
brands. In fact I ordered a case of it and all the cans were upside down
in the shipping box. This trick helps the contents stay fresh on the end
that opens, the skim is then on bottom when opened.
Ok, but then there's a skim piece underneath that might break up and affect
the painted surface of whatever you're covering. I don't mind the skim on
the top. It's easier and less messry to remove and I know it's not going to
affect anything because I've removed it. Even upside down cans of paint can
separate some. Proper workmanship is to make sure everything is properly
mixed everytime you open the can. I consider it not too dissimilar to some
minor safety step you might make everytime you use a power tool.
I don't do this with paints only the varnishes and in particular the gel
varnishes. The bottom broken skim on a gel varnish is pretty much a non
issue, it stays on the bottom. You really don't have to ever mix gel
varnishes they don't really separate.
Gels get a really thick skim on top, easily 1/16" thick in the thin spots.
Additionally the more small jobs I do and the more often I have to open that
can the more likely and sooner the gel starts to happen. Once it starts it
can form in as little as 2 weeks.
Well, now that you mention it, on a recent gel stain I used, I *did* notice
some splotchy colour differences on the surface of the stain two days after
I reopened the can. The project was something simple using unsanded oak and
didn't need special care, so I ignored the stain differences. I'll make it a
point to examine it a little closer next time.
Gel STAINS are a little different, you will see some liquid form on the top
and it is best to stir them up a little. If you don't you can get what you
witnessed as some of can go on thinner. Most all gel stains also have a
"little", varnish in them also over longer periods of time they can skim
over also but typically not anything near as quickly as gel varnishes.
And since you mentioned unsanded oak, gels do much better on sanded
surfaces, because they go on thick they can really vary in shade. It is
hard to wipe out the more coarse areas on the wood. I learned this 20 or
so years ago by trying to take a short cut.
It will be a safe bet that I will be much more careful with putting the lid
back on. I had loaned this can out to a neighbor and the seal was gunked
up. I am not sure how that happened with a gel varnish. I guess he used a
brush to apply it and did the scraping on the side of the can opening thing.
This skim that I am talking about on gel varnishes does not dissolve it
remains a solid and you really don't want that mixed up in the gel. I have
broken a hole through it with a screw driver and pulled chunks of it out
with a pair of pliers. the newly exposed gel varnish is good to go provided
there are no chunks from the shim mixed in with it. In a liquid varnish it
may settle to the bottom but in a gel it would remain suspended. It's best
to avoid disturbing it. If it forms on the bottom all the better.
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