In the light of a January first morning, the shop looks particularly grody. Just two weeks ago, I put the wrap on end-of-season production. I emptied the trash barrel and walked away for two weeks of non-shop activities. If it wasn’t done, it was going to wait. I do this because I found through hard experience that taking orders much past Thanksgiving resulted in profits but too much stress at home during the holidays. Trying to get that last item finished and shipped in time for Christmas delivery is not worth the sour looks from the family because I was in a bad mood. So I lose a bit of money but enjoy the holidays more.
I should have known that it would be a harbinger of a lousy cleanup at the beginning of the year. All that dust, wood shavings, wood chips, old paint, and old varnish was waiting for me to walk in on January one. Traditionally I’ve spent time on the first day of the year straightening the shop. But, being this had been a busy fall, and I was hurried, the shops needed more than routine cleaning.
The only dissent to this was from H.I.M Xenia ( empress of all she surveys). My running the shop vacs disturbed her New Year’s nap. She was up late, having a good nip toot, and stated that she needed rest, and would I please go away…far away.
Undeterred, I laid into the job. I got the new dust collector attached to the bandsaw, swept up, and began organizing supplies.
That’s when I came across the full Stop Loss Bag and the unused one. If you run a woodshop, you may have partial cans of finish hanging around. They gradually go bad, skim over, thicken up, and become unusable. It’s a waste of good finish, expensive, and a disposal problem. Contact with air is the most common culprit. No matter how tightly you seal the can, enough air remains to react with the contents. The stop loss bag eliminates most of the air. As a result, the finish stays usable for much longer. In the case of one pint of varnish, as long as a year.
Using the bags has reduced the spoilage of cans of finish and saved me money, despite the cost of the bag. And getting this post back to cleaning – it means less hazardous materials that I have to dispose of in my early January cleaning.
And now that I’ve had a break, I should get back to scraping off the bench. This year I’ll work on reminding myself to cover the benchtop with some plywood while finishing.