Anchorseal Test Report: I'm always testing things in my woodturning studio. One of my long term tests has been on the shelf life of finishes and adhesives that are common in woodturning studios. Endgrain sealer was one of the products I added a few years ago to my primary testing protocol to see how long it could be stored without compromising the quality of the product.
I have tested both the winterized and standard versions of Anchorseal over a period of seven years. All of the product variations (regular, winterized) have been stored in the original plastic bottles and measured for temperature, color, consistency, viscosity, and specific gravity every six months. In addition, drying time was recorded on sample wood with temperature and humidity noted. A supplemental test was also performed with heat assisted drying, with the same factors recorded.
Summary results of seven year testing:
Winterized Product: Stored inside studio, heated and air-conditioned year round. No difference in viscosity or specific gravity. No lumps or thickened masses. Drying time in normal range vs. fresh product.
Non-Winterized Product (Test 1A): Stored inside studio, heated and air-conditioned year round. No difference in measured characteristics. Drying time in normal range vs. fresh product.
Non-Winterized Product (Test 1B): Stored outside and exposed to elements, temperature variations etc. (stored in original plastic bottle). Product became very lumpy, with thick masses floating in watery thin liquid. We do not get a lot of freezing temps in the Houston area, but it happens on occasion. Product was removed from testing.
Based on my testing, if properly stored the winterized product should last at least seven years. It does need to be stored with a tightly closed lid for best results. An additional sub-test was performed on both versions stored in a temperature controlled environment, with an inert gas layer added in test tubes to establish a boundary layer against normal air contact. Results of this testing have yet to be summarized.
The winterized version is available directly from the manufacturer, but you have to ask for it when you order. I usually purchase this product direct, to get a lower price. If it does not say “Winterized” on the label, it's the standard version which will freeze if the temperature gets too low during storage. The winterized version contains a small amount of antifreeze to protect against freezing. These days, I prefer to order the winterized version because I buy in bulk and I don't want to worry about using it up before winter—just in case I have to store it outside in an unheated storage building.
Bottom line is that you should be able to get at least seven years, or longer out of any Anchorseal that you purchase -- if it's stored in a temperature and humidity controlled environment with a tight fitting lid to prevent evaporation.
Note: Although the non-winterized product in test 1B was removed from testing, several woodturners report success with using a cordless drill and a paint mixer to re-mix the separated emulsion. While this technique does not return the frozen product to its original consistency, it does mix it well enough to use again. If your emulsion has separated and is lumpy, try mixing it with a drill and a paint mixer rod.
Recommendations: Anchorseal is an excellent wax emulsion product for sealing green wood logs, blanks and turning squares and will last many years if stored properly. If you cannot store your Anchorseal in a controlled environment (heated and air-conditioned year round), consider purchasing the "Winterized" version which contains antifreeze and can be stored outside if necessary.
Safety Note: Always follow all manufacturers safety instructions before working with your lathe, or any of the tools or products you may use. If you are unsure about any operation, obtain competent professional instruction before proceeding. Use and wear all necessary safety devices during turning and observe safe woodturning practices to prevent accident or injury.
Steven D. Russell is a professional studio woodturner, teacher and writer. He has written numerous articles for international woodturning magazines, which have been published in more than 78 countries around the world. Steve has demonstrated in numerous cities across the United States. His studio, Eurowood Werks, specializes in bowls, platters and hollow forms with unique visual and tactile treatments.
Steve is also the current and founding President of the Lone Star Woodturners Association, Inc., an AAW member chapter. The LSWA is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization dedicated to teaching and demonstrating the art and craft of woodturning.
Steve is also a featured writer for the Guild of Master Craftsman's "Woodturning" magazine, published in London England. Woodturning magazine is the world's leading magazine for woodturners. Look for his articles covering technical topics, or project based articles in an upcoming issue.