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I have decided to switch over to spar instead of Varmor R-10 for my next series of rods and some refinishing jobs now in the shop.  I have used Man O War for guide wraps, but have had a lot of trouble with  the stuff gelling up inside the bottle if it has been thinned with  Sunnyside low odor mineral spirits. This occurs even if  I fill the bottle with Bloxygen. As much as I love the stuff, it is expensive and hard to find,  I would love to keep it in liquid form for a reasonable amount of time. Is there a regimen for keeping it from gelling up? Are my problems due to the thinner, or must it be kept in the can? What is the best thinning agent for this stuff?  My current dip tube is a fluorescent light bulb protector with PVC end caps.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

    I've used the same PVC tube for years with a cap on one end and a rubber / metal test plug on the other.  I always give it a healthy shot of Bloxygen before putting it away and I've (knock heavily on wood)  not had  a problem  to date.   I've thinned it 10% - 15% with low odor mineral spirits.  I'm wondering if light getting to the varnish can have an effect on it, because I have had problems with varnish jelling in clear jars before??  (Brian Creek)

    I purchased a quart of Epiphanies varnish in 2/2001.  I brush my rods using foam brushes, transferring small amounts of varnish to a Dixie cup with a plastic spoon and adding a small amount of artists turp.  I started to get a skin very quickly, so I divided my quart into two pint cans, filling one completely and setting it aside.  I used varnish from the other can, pouring the leftover Dixie cup varnish/turp mixture back and using Bloxygen.  In two years I used about 2/3 of the first pint, but gelling became a major problem, so I dumped the first pint and opened the other pint and it was like new.  This does not really address your problem with dipping and bottles but it does confirm for me that keeping it in a can filled to the top (no air space) (and not opening and closing the can?) the varnish has a good shelf life.  (Bob McElvain)

      Has anyone ever tried keeping varnish in those accordion-like containers used for storing photo developing chemicals? Because these chemicals age due to exposure to air, just like varnish, they are made to be impervious to gases (IE: oxygen) and can be compressed to force all air out before capping them. Seems like just what we need in this situation. They're not cheap but then neither is MOW or other varnish.  (Larry Puckett)

    Try storing the can, well sealed, upside down. Seems to help.  (Bill Fink)

    Thanks to all of you who provided advice on preserving Man O War. The consensus was to minimize air space, and Bloxygen and a bit of thinner on top of the varnish can help. Some folks have maintained dip tubes of the stuff for several years. I dipped some tip sections, and am very impressed with it. Definitely a more classic look than the Poly I was using before.

    I also found a good solution to dust in the finish. Kick the dogs out of the basement while dipping.  (Jeff Schaeffer)


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