How many times have you opened a can of polyurethane wood finish and found it coagulated or skinned over? Or maybe you’re using some old varnish and it isn’t spreading well as it should. Most likely the finish was being stored in contact with air, which can diminish its performance and properties.
A few in-can solutions exist to help keep air from getting to the finish, such as: filling the can with marbles or rocks until the liquid reaches the top again, or using an air replacement gas like Bloxygen when sealing the can. Those methods assume the can seals properly though. Sometimes, and even much of the time, the rim of a can might be filled with finish, or it might be damaged, which ruins the airtight seal.
StopLossBags are new storage bags that are designed to store your wood finishes with minimal air contact. They can hold up to a full quart of liquid. You can use StopLossBags to store oil, water, and alcohol-based wood finishes, but not lacquer. Lee Valley’s product description also mentions methyl ethyl ketone and acetone as non-compatible chemicals.
Lee Valley’s description also says that the bags are made of 7.5-mil thick three-ply plastic with strong electro-welded seams, although StopLossBags doesn’t mention this on their site.
StopLossBags remind us of collapsible Platypus water bottles, and like those bottles StopLossBags also have a gusseted bottom. Once you pour liquid into a StopLossBag, the gusseted bottom will expand to help them stand upright for even easier filling.
When you first open a can of finish, you transfer the contents over to the StopLossBag using either a turkey baster, or a funnel. If this sounds a little difficult, the StopLossBags website posted instructions for making a simple filling station. Then, once filled with finish, you squeeze all the air out of the bag before screwing on the cap. When you’re ready to use the finish, simply unscrew the cap and pour out the amount you need.
You can purchase the StopLossBags directly on their website. Small orders of bags come with one grey vinyl filling tube for attaching to medium-sized funnels, and one red adapter tube for use with larger funnels. One bag will run you a little more than $8 shipped, two bags shipped run a little more than $11, and the pricing only gets better from there.
Buy Now (via StopLossBags Website)
You can also find StopLossBags over at Lee Valley, which has better pricing for one or two bags, but $8 shipping pretty much erodes any savings unless you purchase these as an add-on to a more expensive purchase.
Compare (via Lee Valley)
This might be a good time to remind you that Lee Valley has “free shipping on $40+” promos a couple of times each year.