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  • Paint Storage

    I'd appreciate some feedback on paint storage. As the number of projects I attempt grows, so does the number of solvents, finishes, and paints I have on hand, not to mention their associated paraphernalia. I live in TN so things do freeze in the winter. My shop is small, 12'x24', and though reasonably well insulated, it is not heated. My house and garage are also relatively small, so bringing them in is not an option.

    I was thinking an upright cabinet with an interior incandescent bulb might work. I am also considering a warming pad like they use in greenhouses to warm the soil for seed starters. They are not very expensive and are designed for damp environments and have a thermostat. Though my shop is not damp the safety features seem like a plus. I know safety is a factor and it would have to be well done. On the other hand, as a friend observed, is it worth it to spend the money keeping the light on for $50 worth of paint? Still, I hate to throw away that last quart in a gallon can or that last cup in a quart just because I don't need it right now.

    What I'd really like to see here are a couple of pics of some reasonably organized and versatile storage setups. Who wouldn't?!

  • #2
    Re: Paint Storage

    Well, for me, the light bulb idea is out. That might work for some cases but it does not mix with solvents and petroleum based stains, paints, etc.
    Not a good idea with a wood cabinet either.

    Of course the best choice is a flammable locker but they are big bucks.

    If you have water-based materials they are pretty safe. You could bring them inside when it gets real cold out.

    Anything that generates heat by electricity is gonna be a problem. There is always the chance that it could short out and cause a fire.

    Have any of the woodworking magazines tackled this subject? If not why? Their lawyers probably won't let them.
    ---------------
    Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
    ---------------
    “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
    ---------
    "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
    ---------
    sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Paint Storage

      Bob,
      Thanks for the caveats. How do you keep your stuff?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Paint Storage

        I keep it on a shelf in the garage. I don't have a problem with freezing most winters even though the shop is not heated 24/7, only when I am in there a few times a week.

        If it gets real cold I bring stuff inside to the basement but I try not to do that.

        I keep my stock levels or combustible or flammable stuff down so I don't have too much hanging around.

        I keep watching local auction sites for a flammable locker from a company going out of business that I might be able to pick up cheap, but you need to make sure it is in decent condition and the door latches work and all.
        ---------------
        Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
        ---------------
        “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
        ---------
        "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
        ---------
        sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Paint Storage

          I've worked in wet chemistry labs and in academic science labs and I know the kinds of cabinets you're talking about. They're great for safety, but not much for temperature control. Sounds like the best method is inventory management. I appreciate your input.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Paint Storage

            Today we hit around 114F and on those cold 80F degree winter nights I rarely
            worry about solvents or paint freezing! or for that matter melting.

            Most of those products do have a wide range of storage temperatures. Typically it's the rag soaked in solvent that becomes a true fire hazard due to spontaneous combustion.

            As others have indicated the best way is inventory management if you're concerned about serious freezing. Also keep your tubes of caulk, glue, gorilla glue etc from extreme cold.

            Electric lights, space heaters, electric type blankets etc never mix well with volatile chemicals. keep in mind these things are not air tight and do produce fumes...that can ignite under the proper circumstances.

            Never store flammables in a closed wooden cabinet! leave them on an open shelf, the preferred safety method is in a metal cabinet!


            The bottom line is to be smart and be safe! short cuts and "the easy way" can be fatal


            Cactus Man

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            • #7
              Re: Paint Storage

              Such wildly fluctuating temperatures must wreak havoc on your sinuses, not to mention your lumber stock. But you are right about the other temperature sensitive materials. I appreciate your comments and I'm still open to other input.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Paint Storage

                I know this may sound weird, but have you thought about a refrigerator? Think about it. You should be able to turn one up to a fairly warm(ish) temp. No matter how cold it gets in your shop, the fridge should keep your stuff from freezing. I'll bet you can pick one up for cheap or free if you look around. Not sure about the vapor part, though.....

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Paint Storage

                  Here's what I do for a lot of the stuff: Get rid of it - if it's not something that I actually plan to use up "soon".

                  Storage cabinets, refrigerators and all that are wonderful, but I found that most of those half-used cans just sit around taking up VERY valuable space. How many times have you opened an old can of whatever and found it skinned over, or crap floating in it, or grabbed an old spray can and it wouldn't spray?

                  So, I've just recently shifted my philosophy from "save" to "purge". I don't ditch everything, but I do toss half used spray cans, mostly used-up cans of paint, etc.... and anything I see that's been sitting around for too long. I honestly don't think in the long run it saves much to keep that stuff, and whatever it does cost, I save in space. Besides, I would rather be using fresh material.

                  Just a thought... might not work for anyone else.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Paint Storage

                    For years until I had a heated shop I use two dead refrigerators. I put locks on them to keep the kids out of it, and never had a problem with anything stored in them. I have no idea what the temp fluctuation is in them. I would recommend trying it.
                    Charles

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                    • #11
                      Re: Paint Storage

                      The problem with using a fridge or any storage container of that type is that it is air-tight. The fumes that do escape the containers will build up in the fridge and may cause spontaneous combustion or they will escape when you do open it and they may hit a naked flame. You were lucky nothing happened with your fridges.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Paint Storage

                        They were stored in a outside shop with plenty of ventilation also I had cut and installed (2) 1 1/2" screened vents in the back of it. They also had locks on them. I think they were safer than storing on shelves.
                        Charles

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                        • #13
                          Re: Paint Storage

                          Originally posted by adworden View Post
                          I know this may sound weird, but have you thought about a refrigerator? Think about it. You should be able to turn one up to a fairly warm(ish) temp. No matter how cold it gets in your shop, the fridge should keep your stuff from freezing. I'll bet you can pick one up for cheap or free if you look around. Not sure about the vapor part, though.....
                          Hello! It's a fridge not a heat pump. It only moves heat in one direction, and that is out of the fridge. If you set the stat as high as it will go (45ish maybe), that just means that it will not come on until the temp goes above the setpoint, it will not infuse heat into the fridge.

                          So if the shop temperature drops below the setpoint inside the fridge, the temp in the fridge will go down along with it, though it may lag behind by a couple hours due to the insulating properties of the fridge.

                          Sooner or later the inside and outside temp of the fridge and the shop will reach equilibrium, and your stuff WILL FREEZE if the shop temp is below 32°F.
                          ---------------
                          Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
                          ---------------
                          “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
                          ---------
                          "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
                          ---------
                          sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

                          Comment

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