Elisha Albretsen

No Rattle in Your Rattle Can?

Elisha Albretsen
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Duration:   2  mins

Almost every aerosol can of finish rattles when you shake it. The key word is almost. You’ll find that some cans of finish don’t rattle. What’s the deal with that? Thankfully, Elisha Albretsen was in the shop and provided the answer.

Gloss, semi-gloss, or satin?

I use aerosol cans of lacquer in my shop all the time. Even though I own a great HVLP sprayer, it’s sometimes more convenient, especially on small projects, to just grab an aerosol can. I’ve found that my gloss lacquer doesn’t rattle when I shake the can, but my semi-gloss and satin do. Elisha’s explanation about mattifier (yes, that’s a real word) makes sense. Bottom line—clear finish is made as a gloss, and some amount of mattifier is added to knock the gloss down to semi-gloss or satin. Shaking the can, rattling the mixing ball, gets the mattifier mixed into the finish.

What about cans you stir?

The same idea applies to conventional cans of finish that you pry open. You need to stir your semi-gloss to make it semi-gloss. Elisha has a story about what happens if you don’t stir enough.

Read the directions!

Make sure you read the label on the stuff you’re using. You can never go wrong with that. If it says shake the can for two minutes, shake the can for two minutes. If it says stir, don’t shake, then stir, don’t shake.

Finishing can be tough

Finishing your projects can be challenging. There’s no easier way to ruin a project you’ve invested a lot of time in than having the finish process go wrong. Let WWGOA give you a hand. Check out our finishing advice.

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