Hello. Good to be back with you again. Terry has gone off on his jolly holidays and, rather dangerously, he has left me in charge of the keyboard. (He didn’t learn last time!!!). I am going to take a slightly different track on this one, and hopefully will not be boring you silly with my ramblings!

It will not have escaped anyone’s attention that prices seem to be rising at an alarming rate. Here at Chestnut Products, we have had to put our prices up because all of our raw material costs have increased dramatically, and sadly, we do not think we are at the end of those increases. Whilst we need you to spend your money with us (to keep our business and that of our stockists going), we would never sell you anything we do not believe you need, or encourage you to spend more than is necessary. Inevitably, tins or bottles of our product will sit on workshop or shed racking, unopened or half-used, so I thought that today we could look at how these products can best be stored to keep them in as good a condition as possible.

We can quite often not consider how warm, or cold, our shed walls can get – they can absorb the heat of the sun and, when chilly, they are often only a thin skin to the cold conditions outside.
Paste waxes will soften in heat (and surprisingly, not much of a rise in temperature will cause this to happen-think of finger marks on turned waxed items), and harden when cooled. If the wax does go soft, just stand the tin in a cool place for a couple of days and the wax should return to its normal consistency. Prolonged exposure to heat with the lid off could result in some of the solvent evaporating. If, on returning to its ‘normal’ state you find the waxes becoming too stiff to work with, a few drops of white spirit will normally revive the product, although check our solvent chart online to be certain of using the correct solvent.

Oils can be a funny set of creatures. Hard Wax Oil and Finishing Oil can begin to thicken and eventually go lumpy, if a partly used can is left on the shelf too long. The product is reacting with the air inside the can and trying to cure. We wouldn’t normally advocate decanting the product into another jar or smaller tin unless you are prepared to adapt our tin labels to fit, but reducing the air in the tin will keep the product workable for longer. Dropping marbles into the tin would raise the level in the tin and therefore reduce the air gap. We have been working on a solution to this problem, so watch in the coming weeks for potentially a new product! Sadly though, lumpy oil will always remain lumpy, so best to use what is still liquid and discard the rest. Solvent problems in the heat could also happen and, in the likes of the Lemon Oil, a more lemony aroma could well be detected. Again, white spirit could well address the problem, if indeed you perceive this to be a problem.

Liquid Acrylics, End Seal, Iridescents and Metallic Paints, and indeed our new Rainbow Waxes, do not like the cold. Freezing temperatures will ruin these products and we would always advise keeping them stored above 5 degrees Celcius to ensure you get the optimum performance from them. If your shed is a cold place in winter, why not insulate a small box and keep them in there? This should be enough to protect them from the coldest of days. The Liquid Acrylics are also dated, as over time they can begin to cure in the bottles. The product will appear to thicken, and eventually go lumpy. The date, however, is a guide only – as long as the product looks ok, then it almost certainly is. Hard Wax Oil and Tung Oil are also affected by drops in temperature. As it gets colder, the oil will thicken, and in extreme cold almost set solid. As temperatures begin to rise, these products will return to a liquid state and shouldn’t be adversly affected.
Thankfully, Cellulose and Spirit based products are easy to keep and, apart from some potential solvent evaporation, should stay fine to work with, as long as lids are securely tightened after use. One thing that you may notice with spirit based products in particular, is that the sides of the bottles appear to draw in over a period of time. This is known as Panelling, and is caused by one or more of the compounds within the liquid ‘leaching’ through the plastic bottle creating, in effect, a vacuum in the sealed bottle. This is a natural process, and nothing to be concerned about – the amount lost will be minimal, and there should be no detrimental impact on the product. Interestingly, it also appears to happen with the Gold Metallic Paint, although not to the other colours!!!

There you are….the ramblings of a mad woman! Seriously though, look after your pennies by looking after your products and getting the most out of them. Price increases are, sadly, inevitable, and we don’t want to see you throwing your product, and thereby your hard earned cash, away.

Terry is back next week with his usual flair and vast knowledge on all things finishing, so send your questions in. Who knows, I may invade your inbox again on a future Friday!

Bye for now.