I've mentioned some of this before but a recent trip to the local Ace
Hardware brought to mind how much Varathane, contact cement, paint, and
calk we waste. I had mentioned to the clerk that I'd probably wast most
of a quart can of Varathane I'd just purchased. The clerk pointed out
that I could use most of the liquid in that can with out it evaporating,
or forming a thick, solid film on top. He was definitely an "old time
With materials that come in paint can type of containers make sure to
clean the "grove" and then gently "tap" the cover, uniformly tight to
seal the can and then simply invert (turn the can upside down) and store
it that way.
Two part sealants as well as plastic pipe cement and liquid tape only
need to be stored in air tight containers. Put the "Liquid Tape" or
cement container with the top secured, in a glass fruit jar. The kind
with a gasket under the lid used for caning.
Tubes that calk comes in can be placed in a good Tupperware, or similar
container that is moisture proof. Do this with new, unopened tubes or
partially use tubes. How well this works depends on the material.
Manufacturers don't like the idea as it ca take the product well beyond
it's tested shelf life and they can't verify the properties of the
result.. I've carried some calk (opened, or still sealed) as much as 20
years past its listed shelf life and it worked just as good as new
material of the same brand and type (IE: Silastic brand of RTV).
HOWEVER I've had a couple of the non acetic type where the components at
least partially separated. There was a clear liquid and an opaque
material that looked like the original sealant. I squeezed out about a
tablespoon full of the thick material after removing the clear liquid.
The remaining material worked just fine as to sealing and life properties..
The Acetic type (Smells like strong vinegar) should not be used in
direct contact with Copper or Aluminum although I've seen connections
coated with it outdoors that survived many years. It should not be used
inside closed containers (antenna matching networks) either.
I would add that I definitely do not like the water based clear wood
finishes. I much prefer the solvent based Varathane that I can use in a
spray gun with my preference being the newer HVLP sprayers.
Unfortunately there is a learning curve associated with getting the
viscosity right along with the PITA equipment cleanup. OTOH I've never
been able to match the smooth finish I get with a spray gun when using a
I've never had clear Krylon on antenna connections last much more than a
year. I wonder if anyone has tried coating antennas and antenna
connections with Varathane and if so, how well did it stand up?
73 Roger (K8RI)
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