Bloxygen Finish PreserverFebruary 16, 2021
According to the EPA, Americans dispose of approximately 69 million pounds of dried paint every year. That’s a staggering amount of toxic waste that is being added to our landfills and that’s a danger not just for the current generation but for every generation yet to come. Not only is the toxicity a hazard but the waste of product is unnecessary and an unwarranted expense. Believe it or not, the main source of the problem is oxygen.
Drying or oxidation?
Almost all of us have painted or varnished something and we have waited for it to ‘dry’, however, it’s not so much a drying process as it is a process of ‘oxidation’ (an exception would be lacquers, which do ‘dry’ or obviously two-part finishes which use a chemical reaction to ‘dry’ or harden). It is the exposure to oxygen (which is about 21% of our atmosphere – over 75% of our atmosphere is nitrogen) that causes the oxidation to occur when paint or varnish is applied to a surface and gives us the protective finish we desire.
Have you ever seen a white powdery substance forming on aluminum? This, too, is oxidation. The oxygen will attack the surface of many types of aluminum and cause corrosion or oxidation. Have you ever cut an apple in half, left it exposed to the air for a few hours and returned, finding the flesh had turned brown? It was not your apple’s exposure to air that caused it to turn brown but, rather, its exposure to oxygen.
Perhaps you’ve never thought about it, but why do you think bags of potato or corn chips last so long on the grocery store shelves? The answer is that the air inside the bag has been replaced with either nitrogen or argon gas – both so harmless that they’re not even regulated by the Food and Drug Administration – and the lack of oxygen means your chips will still taste fresh even after sitting on the shelf for months. If oxygen were left in your bag of chips, they’d be stale within days.
So, oxygen can be pretty awful stuff.
But, if we could displace the oxygen that’s ruining our cans of paint, then, theoretically, a half-full can of paint could last forever, right? This is where Bloxygen comes in. Bloxygen is nothing more than a conveniently-packaged aerosol can of argon gas (a full can feels empty) and when sprayed into a less-than-full can of finish, it displaces the oxygen and prevents the skinning over and hardening of the paint or varnish. A personal experience of mine: Prior to our departure on our 8-and-a-half year circumnavigation, I painted the workbench on our boat with Interlux’s Bilgekote white. Before sealing the can, I gave it a 5-second spray of Bloxygen. Five years later, when the workbench needed another coat of paint, I opened the same can of Bilgekote and though the paint had separated, a quick stir and I was back painting. No waste. No half empty can of hardened paint in some landfill. I didn’t have to go buy more paint.
But, wait, there’s more! Don’t limit your use of Bloxygen to just paints and finishes. It works great on resins, wine, coffee beans, cooking oil (have you ever had a bottle of expensive olive oil go rancid? Guess why . . .), gunpowder, adhesives, spare parts, etc. Your imagination is the only limit. A single can of Bloxygen is good for about 75 applications for quart cans of finish.
Bloxygen is in stock at Sailing Supply/Downwind Marine and San Diego Marine Exchange.
Click here to check it out here on our website.
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