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Bloxygen Frequently Asked Questions

Our most popular questions are here in this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Sometimes, however, more involved questions come up. Feel free to contact IronWood Designs for any comments or concerns. We'd be happy to help. Let us know what to add or delete here and we'll be happy to include your comments.

What is the name for?
BlOxygen stands for "Blocks Oxygen." Pronounced BLOCKS-a-JEN, this product uses heavy, inert argon to shield leftover finishes so they won't gel or skin over.

Why would we need that?
You will actually be saving money by using BlOxygen. You will preserve our environment and resources by using all of your finish, not just the first half. You will save time when you start a finishing job because you won't have to clean the skin off of your finish.

Because BlOxygen prevents the skin from forming, the hardened finish won't clog your spray gun or come off while you are brushing. Avoiding clogs and chunks in your final finish, you will be able to work faster.

This product is based on proven technology. Inert gas preservation has been used in the wine, coffee, and food industries for over a decade.

BlOxygen has been accepted by our industry's finest as simple, smart, and clean.

What's the real PROBLEM?
No matter how tight the lid is, our expensive oil finishes always skin over or gel when stored.

What can we do?
Simply, we need to prevent any oxygen from reacting with the finish. By using a protective blanket of inert gas to purge the container, you can store your finish safely and use ALL of it, not just the first half.

Why do they skin over? Is this bad?
Oil-Based products dry and harden by absorbing oxygen. When we store these products, the oxygen that's sealed in the container continues to dry and thicken the product, eventually forming a skin over the top. This skin is wasteful, time consuming, and messy to remove. Sometimes, hardened particles can clog spray guns, ruin the final finish, or even destroy the remaining finish.

How can we get rid of the problem?
BlOxygen uses ultra pure and powerful Argon to drive the oxygen out of your container. Simply blow the oxygen out of your container with BlOxygen and then seal the lid. The heavy, inert BlOxygen gases sink down to block oxygen from the liquid surface. Because BlOxygen is heavier than air, it will separate the liquid surface from any air that may remain in the container.

What are the benefits of BlOxygen?

  • Use all your finish, not just the first half
  • Eliminate spray gun clogs and jams
  • Reduce your hazardous waste / product loss
  • Avoid paying a premium for small volumes of finish
  • Improve the quality of the final application
  • Prevent changes in product chemistry during storage
  • Save time by making finishing easier and storage quicker
  • Store your leftovers safely, in the original, labeled containers
  • How will BlOxygen save us money?
    Each can will provide 150 seconds of gas. That's enough gas for 75 uses inquarts. Given that a quart of premium varnish can cost $40 or more, saving just one half of one quart will pay for your BlOxygen. The additional 74 uses are "free."

    What can we use it on?
    Oil based paint, varnish, polyurethane, catalysts, photo chemicals, marine coatings, printing chemicals, sign paints, chemical compounds, audobody chemicals, tung oil, wood fillers, urethanes, stains, gunpowder, some glue, epoxy resins, mold making compounds, fuel additives, furniture refinishing chemicals, and dyes.

    Anything that "spoils" by reacting with oxygen or mositure will do better in a dry, oxygen free environment. Water-based finishes including latex and solvent-release finishes like lacquer will not benefit from BlOxygen since they don't cure with oxygen.

    Can BlOxygen be shipped?
    Yes. The containers are DOT-reg. 2Q plus (18 bar) aluminum aerosol cans and they are shippable as an ORM-D consumer commodity (UN# is 1006 / 2.2).

    I want to know more....
    BlOxygen uses pure argon. This gas is a natural component of our air (about 1%). A full can, because it contains only a gas, feels empty. The gas is non-toxic, non-flammable, and inert. Deliberately misusing BlOxygen by concentrating and inhaling it can result in rapid suffocation, asphyxiation, and perhaps death due to lack of oxygen. There are no CFCs, VOCs, or added propellents.

    Where have we seen this?
    In January 1997, Popular Woodworking gave this idea the Best Tip award. Since then, BlOxygen has been in Woodshop News , Woodshop Business andAmerican Woodworker. In issue #129 (p.96) of Fine WoodWorking, JeffJewitt, the finishing author, says "The idea ... is quite simple" and "[BlOxygen] performed well on oil-based products." Also, check out other reviews in Wood and Workbench magazines.

    BlOxygen is a product of IronWood Designs. Since1996 IronWood Designs has been selling this product using different manufacturers. Our product is made in the good old USA and we use two facilities to manufacture our cans.

    What if we have problems with BlOxygen?
    We will make EVERY effort to satisfy any concern. There are only three problems we've ever seen:

    1. Not Enough Gas Used: The entire storage container must be purged. You cannot use too much gas.
    2. Slow Lid Seal / bad seal: Once the container is purged, the lid must be immediately sealed into place. Make sure that the lid is spotless and dent free to create an airtight seal.
    3. Bad Finish: Once oil-based finishes absorb oxygen and skin over or gel, they will continue to have problems during storage. These finishes will never be the same. Start with new finish and use BlOxygen each and every time it's stored.

    What is the best way to use this to save money and finish?

    We recommend, as a best practice, that the container of finish be opened, the required amount of finish poured into a second, user container. Next, take time (and perhaps use a product called the Paint Plow) to ensure that the original container lid seal groove is cleaned. Now use the Bloxygen to purge the finish container, seal it, and store it. This will minimize the amount of time that oxygen and moisture can interact with the original product. The finish used in the secondary container should be used up or properly discarded. It will have been exposed to oxygen, moisture, an applicator (rag, brush, etc.) and cannot be returned to your container because of this contamination.

    How can I test / demonstrate BlOxygen?
    The testing we do is simple. We use two 40 ml sample bottles,*each filled halfway with the subject liquid. One vial is simplysealed as a "control" and the test container is carefully gassed with BlOxygen and then sealed. Once they are sealed, label and date them. To simulate use, open each vial once a week, remembering to use BlOxygen when sealing the test container. The sample protected with BlOxygen should remain the same as when new. Some of the unprotected "control" vials may get thicker as their viscosity increases; others will actually skin over. While some heavy-bodied paints will take weeks to show a difference, finishes like Behlen's Salad Bowl Finish will skin over unprotected in about a week. Check your sample by viewing the liquid moving around in the BlOxygen vial and compare that to the rigid skin in the unprotected sample. Jasco Tung Oil or Behlen Salad Bowl Finishskin over quickly and make for a great demonstration.

    *Cole-Parmer Instrument Co. number E-08918-24, 3 7/8" x 1 1/8";borosilicate vial with rubber seal. 1-800-323-4340.

    How much does it cost?
    BlOxygen has a suggested retail of $10.95 to 11.95. Each can is good for about 75 uses in quarts, 32 uses in gallons. BlOxygen is made in the USA and is a product of IronWood Designs, P.O. Box 13838, San Luis Obispo, CA 93406.

    What about other solutions?
    For years this problem has frustrated woodworkers and finishers. Of all the attempts to solve this problem (see below) none we've seen are as quick, as safe, or as successful.

    What about marbles? Some folks try to eliminate the air space in their container by throwing marbles or rocks in the liquid. In addition to contaminating their product, they often find that cleaning the marbles results in lots of wasted time and product.

    What about a smaller container? Transferring your liquid to a smaller container will reduce the air space, but you'll still have oxygen in there. Since the labeling was on the original container, tracking the instruction labels and warnings could be a problem.

    What about exhaling into the container? As scuba divers or paramedics know, the air we exhale is NOT oxygen free. We inhale 21% oxygen and exhale about 15% oxygen.

    What about tipping the container over? Storing your leftovers upside down will only guarantee that the skin will form on the "bottom" of the liquid. Your finish will still be ruined.

    What about propane? DO NOT USE PROPANE. This is very dangerous.

    What about Air Dusters? Compressed-gas dusters contain difluoroethane CAS #75-37-6, which is flammable when concentrated in a fuel/air concentration of 5.1-17.1% by volume. Inert gases don't burn. Given that the gas in air dusters is NOT an inert gas, no reliable prediction can be made about the effect it will have all the different finishes available.

    First, secure the extension tube into spray tip with twist motion

  • ALWAYS wear Safety Glasses.
  • Avoid splash...direct spray to side of container.
  • Hold container lid/top closely above opening of the container to capture the gas blanket.
  • Spray inside for 2 full seconds (quart size or less)
  • Spray inside for 4 full seconds (gallon size or more)
  • Replace lid on container immediately and capture the gas blanket. The gases now settle on the surface to prevent loss through drying and hardening.
  • Each can of BLOXYGEN provides over 150 seconds of protective gas.
    The BLOXYGEN gases will last indefinitely. Since they are sealed in a container and cannot react with themselves or their container, they have an infinite shelf life.

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