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Thread: stop loss bags versus cheaper drink bags

  1. #1
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    stop loss bags versus cheaper drink bags

    I'm thinking I could benefit from using some sort of stop loss bag for finishes, like wipe on poly. I just can't get my head around $5 for a thin plastic bag. Then I saw these drink bags on Amazon for like 50 cents each. Same size, screw on caps. Probably thinner plastic, and one or two out of 20 might have a bad seam. Anyone ever try the cheap bags? Anyone who can convince me the "good" bags are worth $5? Here's a link to just one of many options for the cheap bags.https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...ref_=pd_gw_unk

  2. #2
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    I feel like those bags are asking for trouble. Thin, flexible plastic is likely to be some of the least chemical resistant plastic. The finish will mess up the bag but the bag will also mess up the finish. Polypropylene (#5) is the only plastic I would store solvent based finishes in.

    ULINE has polypropylene plastic jars very cheap, like a dozen for $15, all different sizes. Glass mason jars (Ball or Kerr) also work well. Bloxygen also works wonders, especially with solvent finishes.
    Last edited by Bennett Ostroff; 07-01-2021 at 11:38 PM.

  3. #3
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    AFAIK the stop loss bags last nearly forever, and do a great job of protecting the finish, which at ever-increasing prices is well worthwhile. I've refilled my most used ones dozens of times now. It hasn't been worth my time to explore other options. If they were throwaway items or if I needed dozens of them it might be, but not for the half dozen finishing products I use.

  4. #4
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    I have no experience with those drink bags but if the plastic is thinner I wonder about the relative effectiveness since both moisture and gas (oxygen, etc) can go through most plastics and the thinner, the easier. I believe it's primarily the oxygen you want to keep away from finishes. I also wonder if the bags made for drinks would deteriorate with finishes. A leak could make a mess! You could always try some, maybe store them in a bucket.

    I don't know if it will work for you but what I've been using for years has been very effective: a tank of compressed nitrogen gas. Before putting the lid on a finish I put the end of a plastic tube in the container and displace the air and put the lid on quickly. A metal can, glass container, or heavy-walled plastic will keep the nitrogen in and the oxygen out. I've had no finishes gum up in years of using this. It even keeps Tru-Oil liquid, notorious for setting up quickly once opened. I have some small Tru-Oil bottles still good 4 years after opening! Before I started using Bloxygen and then my own cylinder I lost a lot of finish, mostly because I didn't use them up quickly.

    Using nitrogen is similar to the expensive Bloxygen which displaces the air in the top of a container with pure argon. When this tank of nitrogen runs out I may switch to a spare tank of argon. (Argon is heavier than air so it can keep the oxygen away from the finish even if the empty space in the can is not completely purged.)

    The gas is very inexpensive but the tank and regulator are not unless you can find something used. The larger cylinders used in weld shops and industry are typically available only by lease/rental. I think the largest customer-owned cylinder is the 80 cu ft "Q" size but even one filling of a smaller tank should last for many years in this application. (I use the "Q" size for MIG and TIG welding.) There are gas suppliers all over the country.

    You might consider trying Bloxygen which still might be cost effective even at $12 a can. They say " each can will provide about 150 seconds of gas. That's enough gas for 75 uses in quarts" which is about 16 cents a use. Some info: http://www.bloxygen.com/frequently-asked-questions.html
    Their demonstration photo at the bottom of the page is interesting.

    JKJ


    Quote Originally Posted by tom lucas View Post
    I'm thinking I could benefit from using some sort of stop loss bag for finishes, like wipe on poly. I just can't get my head around $5 for a thin plastic bag. Then I saw these drink bags on Amazon for like 50 cents each. Same size, screw on caps. Probably thinner plastic, and one or two out of 20 might have a bad seam. Anyone ever try the cheap bags? Anyone who can convince me the "good" bags are worth $5? Here's a link to just one of many options for the cheap bags.https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...ref_=pd_gw_unk

  5. #5
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    One would think that the "Stop Loss" bags are designed specifically for finishes including attention to the fact that solvents might be involved. That's not likely the case with "drink bags" because those are not intended for liquids that include solvents. That alone would make me more comfortable with choosing the designed-for-purpose product. And as has been noted, they seem to last for a very long time, so the initial cost should be less of a factor since it's unlikely they would be replaced very often, if at all.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by roger wiegand View Post
    ... I've refilled my most used ones dozens of times now .....
    I was wondering if those bags were reusable.

    Thanks Roger!
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  7. #7
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    Thanks. I had similar reservations but thought I'd ask (being the penny pincher I am), in case I could save some money.

  8. #8
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    I doubt if the cheap bags would be satisfactory.

    A related digression: once I tried using some freeze spray to displace the air in half a can of left over Danish oil. A couple of weeks later I saw that the can had mostly collapsed. I assume the the freeze spray had been absorbed by the finish & the can was sucked flat. Strange to see. The Danish oil was still fine though.

  9. #9
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    In 2019, I took a veneering class at Marc Adams School of Woodworking taught by Thomas Schrunk, the inventor of the Stop Loss Bags. He spent a session explaing the development and testing of the Stop Loss Bags before they went on the market. It was an impressive prosses of design and experimentation. Like others, I have reused the bags, but have found it useful to have extra caps on hand. Maybe I tend to screw them on too tight, causing them to split..

  10. #10
    I guess I'll be the dissenter, which is to say I shamelessly bought the cheaper bags from Amazon and so far they have done everything I have asked of them. I have Arm-R-Seal in one, Osmo Satin in another and Osmo Matte in a third, and Danish oil in a third. None have leaked. None have skinned or gelled in the bag. I really like unscrewing the cap and dispensing just what I need with lots of control.

    The set of bags was so inexpensive I can't see myself reusing them, I would probably toss when finished.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin Santos View Post
    I guess I'll be the dissenter, which is to say I shamelessly bought the cheaper bags from Amazon and so far they have done everything I have asked of them. I have Arm-R-Seal in one, Osmo Satin in another and Osmo Matte in a third, and Danish oil in a third. None have leaked. None have skinned or gelled in the bag. I really like unscrewing the cap and dispensing just what I need with lots of control.

    The set of bags was so inexpensive I can't see myself reusing them, I would probably toss when finished.
    Hi Edwin, Thanks for sharing your experience. How long have you been using the bags? Can you tell what material is used for the bags and are they similar to the stop loss bags?

    I am not sure what is being used for the stop loss bags but I have used them for a couple of years without any deterioration of the bags or contents. Possible problems include permeation of solvents through the material, absorption of bag plasticizers into the finish and finish solvents dissolving the polymer materials of the bags. There may be others. Is there any evidence of material opacity over time?

    Thanks
    Rustic? Well, no. That was not my intention!

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by David Utterback View Post
    Hi Edwin, Thanks for sharing your experience. How long have you been using the bags? Can you tell what material is used for the bags and are they similar to the stop loss bags?

    I am not sure what is being used for the stop loss bags but I have used them for a couple of years without any deterioration of the bags or contents. Possible problems include permeation of solvents through the material, absorption of bag plasticizers into the finish and finish solvents dissolving the polymer materials of the bags. There may be others. Is there any evidence of material opacity over time?

    Thanks
    Hello David,
    I've attached a few photos. I have only been using these bags for about three months, having purchased them in April. I paid $10 for 15 bags on Amazon. I see no signs of the plastic deteriorating, and there are no signs of the finish gelling or discoloring. Maybe in time I am in for trouble. However in my experience food safe plastic will stand up just fine to oil based wood finishes that use mineral spirits as a solvent. I'm in the habit of saving yogurt and deli containers for mixing and short term storage of finishes in the shop.
    No info was provided as to the class or type of plastic that these bags are made from. I guess time will tell, but so far so good. I was gutsy enough today to empty a 3/4 full can of Epifanes Matte into one. Because I've never handled a Stop Loss brand bag, I can't say whether these ones are thinner or different in construction.


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  13. #13
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    My concerns are with ordinary interior house paint, I like to keep leftovers for repairs. Bloxygen does not seem to be recommended for this but the bags should work well.

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