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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does oil-based stain that we buy at our local hardware store get old? I was using some this week and I know it was pretty old, but it seemed okay. I wanted to find out what you guys thought.

Thanks, Don.
 

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Theo
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Certainly it will get old. But I take it you mean too old to be usable. Could be years, but it depends - ingredients, how it is stored, how old is it, temperature, and so on. But if it looks good when you apply it, I would have no problem using it, no matter how old it is. Could just use a good shaking, or maybe adding some thinner and then a good shaking.
 

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I had some separate out of the solvent carrier and I couldn't get it to mix back together. It looked like curdled milk (except dark) so you'd know if it happened.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Certainly it will get old. But I take it you mean too old to be usable. Could be years, but it depends - ingredients, how it is stored, how old is it, temperature, and so on. But if it looks good when you apply it, I would have no problem using it, no matter how old it is. Could just use a good shaking, or maybe adding some thinner and then a good shaking.
Theo, I am old but I can still be used. :laugh2: Just kidding, Theo.
 

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I have found that when it sits for a while it gets thick but after a lot of stirring it becomes usable. I have a can that I got when I bought some kitchen cabinets back in the 80's that I still use every now and then.
 

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Oliver (Prof. Henry)
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I don't use stain very often, and I have some pint-size cans of various colors that I know are more than 25 years old. They still work just fine for when I need to stain a small piece. Perhaps they age like a fine wine — Minwax Golden Oak, vintage 1994. :smile:
 

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Theo
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Theo, I am old but I can still be used.
Hah. You're giving up then. I'm 78, and just middle aged. I'm shooting for around 160. >:) I will admit I gave up on chasing younger women tho. Now I am looking for an older woman, in the 25-30 range.

Whoops, forgot to mention. I don't buy any stains. I have experimented with a number of homemade stains, including tea, coffee, food coloring, etc. Strong coffee makes a lovely color by the way, but takes forever and a day to try. Tea dries quickly, but takes a lot of coats. But now, my dye of choice is thinned, way thinned, acrylic paint. Easy to mix custom colors, but if you want to repeat that particular shade exactly, best write down the ingredients, and measurements. But you have to remember, I don't usually make fine furniture, and the furniture I do make suits my paint dyes well. But even with fine furniture, I believe I could come up with a well suited dye color, then put a finish coat on, shellac, varnish, whatever, and it would make a fine looking piece of furniture.
 

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I think there's a difference between an old oil-based product just getting thick and/or also skimming over. If it's just thick and viscous, I would add a little thinner or turpentine and try it on a test piece. If it's skimmed over with a crust, that could be a sign that some of the original volatiles and drying agents have undergone polymerization or chemical change, in which case I would be concerned about it ever drying properly after application. Try it on a test piece and see if it dries completely within 24 hours, or whatever it says on the can. If it doesn't, or if it remains soft enough to scrape or dent with a light fingernail, it's not worth fooling with.
 
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