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Ask Sail: Preserving Old Varnish

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Paul Kaplan of N. Ferrisburgh, Vermont, asks:

Don Casey wrote an article some time ago about using a Pump N Seal device to vacuum-seal containers and preserve items placed in storage on a boat. Can this product also be used to suck air out of a varnish can to stop it from skimming over?

Don Casey Replies:
I tried this and discovered that today’s varnish cans are too weak to resist the vacuum. In short, they implode. Fortunately, there is a good solution. For about $10 you can buy a can of Bloxygen. This is a pressurized heavy inert gas—Argon—that you blow into a varnish or paint container just prior to sealing it. The Argon displaces most of the air and settles as an inert blanket on top of the varnish to protect it from contact with any air that remains. This keeps varnish fresh to the last drop. One can of Bloxygen should be able to purge about 75 quart-size containers.

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