Varnish Jell

I'm using the Interlux Schooner Varnish and all is well except for the debris or jell like substance that is in the varnish I'm applying. This of course if difficult to get out and dries into small pieces. It is especially a problem the closer to the bottom of the can you get. I am doing as instructed in pouring varnish into a separate container so as not to contaminate the main container. Anybody have any ideas on straining the jell out before applying or ways to prevent it from jelling in the first place which I don't think is possible?


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RE: Varnish Jell

Hi Tom,

I have had the same problem with Interlux Schooner.  I use small plastic cups to pour my vanish into and my solution to removing the jell chunks is to cut numerous slits in the bottom of a second cup, then put it into the first cup, and pour in the varnish.  Lift the "filter" cup and let the varnish strain through.  If the slits are small enough, none of the jelled varnish will pass through.


RE: Varnish Jell

I use a "Fine Straining Sock" that you can get from any paint store to filter the varnish.  As to keep it from jelling, I use glass marbles to fill the void of what is used in the can.  It jells from air.  I get the marbles from flea markets and yard sales and once you are done with the can, you can clean them with paint thinner.

Keep in mind that I spray with a HVLP and have to clean my gun right away after each use or it will clog the gun.


RE: Varnish Jell

I use a painters filter funnel when pouring the varnish into small plastic picnic bowls. as for sealing the can after use, i have had success with using plastic wrap to cover the can and most recently have started using the "Glad" wrap with the elastic looks like a tiny plastic hairnet...@ 30.00+ for a pint of interlux schooner, i try and save every drop of the stuff.



RE: Varnish Jell

On this forum it seems to me that someone has mentioned another tip to prevent hardening in the can: shoot some propane into the can as you close it.  Perhaps someone can fill in the details.

RE: Varnish Jell

When I'm finished using what I need from a new can of varnish, I gently add a couple tablespoons of thinner, floating it over the varnish, don't shake, mix, or stir, then seal the can.  I find that the varnish is fresh and good to use next time I open it.  Jer (aka mtsailor)

RE: Varnish Jell

Damned Camper... I hope you mean Carbon Dioxide,  Propane would be potential for a bomb.

Jerrys way works well if you use what you have poured out, but adding thinned varnish back in the can, and thinner on top makes it awful weak towards the bottom of the can.


RE: Varnish Jell

My recollection is propane, but I don't recall the details, so don't go by what I say. 

You may have some information that I don't about it being a potential bomb and if so, then certainly it should be avoided.

(Absent any information, I would have guessed that, far from being a bomb, it would be a smidgin safer with the propane than without it.

  • Propane's 1/3 the density of mineral spirit vapors it is displacing, so would be much less fuel even if you could somehow get it to ignite
  • Being much lighter, it's less likely to sit in the can when opened waiting for a spark.
  • Much higher ignition temperature than mineral spirits, by 500 F in fact.
  • As for it somehow reacting and exploding inside the can, propane is so unreactive that chemists call it a "paraffin", which is Latin for "you can't get the darn stuff to react with anything", that is without mixing it with just the right amount of air and lighting it with an open flame.)

RE: Varnish Jell

I use cheescloth or old nylon stockings for straining, it's cheaper than the painter's products, and works as well.

I've heard that if you exhale into the open can, just before closing it, this is supposed to keep it from skinning over.  I don't know if it is true, I keep forgetting to try it.


RE: Varnish Jell

I got to thinking about it and I realized that every time I light the barbecue, I'm deliberately setting off about 250 times as much propane as you could fit into even an empty can of varnish, and that's sometimes barely enough of a blast to singe my eyebrows off, so, I confess I'm a little skeptical about the bomb theory.

--Camper (my last post appeared without my name--that darn bug in the forum software--but it was that post where I yammered on a bit about the joys of propane)


RE: Varnish Jell

I don't know Camper, 2 things.  First I remember learning in the Army that mixing anything flamable with a sudden igniter can cause an explosion.

and second, I remember as a kid I used my Dads aftershave and a pile of stick matches to blow my Mom's dining room table in half... after the beating I got from that, I take nothing for granted. LOL

Call me jumpy, but it would still scare me to use propane.  And my propane torch lights with just a spark from a trigger as does my camping stove.  So much for your open flame.

But I am the first to admitt I am not smart enough to know the chemical properites of stuff and how things are suppose to react, I just try to use a little common sense.  Just let me know if you set a can on fire, will you?


RE: Varnish Jell

What you want to use is an inert gas such as Argon, it has long been used to preserve compounds such as varnish. You can find it in an aerosol spray can at most high end woodworking online dealers. The best place is at your local wine and spirit shop, ask for "Wine Preserver". Don't be surprised when you pick up the bottle as it will weigh nothing at all.

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