The finish I use on wooden carvings.

I use cans of water-based finish such as Varathane Diamond Wood Finish in Satin for a lot of my indoor carvings. Water based finish allows me to use it indoors without a lot of odours and, of course, clean up with water.  Re-coats can be done in 4 hours and most of my work requires at least 3 coats.

The cans get opened and closed several times in one day. Often, I am working on several carvings at once, and they are all in various stages and on different time schedules.  Regardless of how careful I try to be, eventually there is a build up of dry finish at the top of the can. The crusty build up can lead to a poor seal and when trying to clean it small bits drop into the can only to end up in the finish coat.

My solution:

  1. Wash an empty jam or pickle jar of the appropriate size and remove the label.
  2. Once cleaned and there is no odour left inside the jar remove the label from the can and fix it to the jar. Clear packing tape works for this.
  3. Pour the remaining finish into the jar.
  4. Place two layers of plastic kitchen wrap over the top of the jar and screw the lid on.

The plastic wrap seals the lid, and the second layer ensures the lid is easily removed as the plastic layers slip against each other. The rim of the glass jar is easy to clean with a damp paper towel after each use and the same plastic can be used again.