PDA

View Full Version : Old unused tubes drying out. Help!


ntl
04-03-2019, 11:27 PM
I have several tubes of oil paints from 1970's (mainly grumbacher, permanent pigments, Winsor Newton) That I am using and are still in great shape. (Getting to the ends of a few tubes, though.:crying: .
A few years ago, maybe 6-7, I bought a couple of sacks of oil paints from an estate sale. Some I had to toss then, and now, as I go through them again looking for treasures, some/several almost unused tubes are hard, mainly grumbacher, permanent pigments, rembrandt. I've had to heat the lids and use pliers to open them, so air getting in that way is possibly not the problem, there doesn't seem to be damage to all the tubes, either, pinholes, cracks, etc. On 2 there was that damage.

Questions: Why are all these wonderful paints drying up?
How can I stop it?

The manganese, part of that haul, is good, as are three tubes of cad yellow and many more--at least of those I have gently "squeezed". Oh, that manganese, finally opened today, is beautiful! I hope I can use it before it drie out.

Pinguino
04-03-2019, 11:33 PM
Although I cannot answer your question, I have often wondered: If paint is ground in a machine immersed in ordinary air, should that not incorporate much oxygen into the paint? Thus, should it naturally dry in the tube?

Unrelated note: You say you bought sacks of paint? Over at Cafe Guerbois there's a thread about hoarding art supplies.

AnnieA
04-04-2019, 01:47 AM
I did the same thing a couple of years ago, although I didn't get as many tubes. I purchased maybe 40-50 regular (37ml or so) tubes of old paint. They were primarily Grumbacher too, with a few other brands. A few were already too hard to have any hope of using. Most were OK, although it took me a while to get some of the caps off. But maybe 20% had damaged tubes - too damaged for me to even attempt opening them. I still haven't had the time to transfer all the remaining good paint to new tubes, but they should be in a holding pattern as they're being stored in a air-tight container with several cotton balls with drops of clove oil on them. As of a few months ago it appears that they haven't hardened.

There's no guarantee that this approach will work for you but it might help until you can purchase new empty tubes and use them for the old paint. And yes...Manganese is gorgeous!

contumacious
04-04-2019, 09:41 AM
When I have older paints that are starting to stiffen up, I remove them from the tubes and mix in some walnut oil, then re-tube or put in a syringe. Some that I did this to a few years ago - tubes that were almost 40 years old - are still in great shape.

ntl
04-04-2019, 10:31 AM
Pinguino, all my cups runneth over!:clap: :clap: :clap:
Most of the 70's paint plus a tall wood easel, pochade box, tools, oil pastels and more, were given me about 1971. I did buy a few items, oil paint, a few acrylics, canvas and paper supplies. Recently I was given probably a full range of pentel watercolor tubes (full), a Bob Ross table easel, a soltek type easel, a table top pochade box, ~20 tubes of gouche, a bunch of tubes acrylics, more water colors, more oil pastels, canvases, tools, two sketchbooks, art magazines... :clap: :clap: :clap:

Annie, that's a wonderful idea! I have several large plastic (not airtight, I'm sure) jars. [[:angel: I AM NOT A HOARDER! :angel: ]] I knew I'd have a use for them!:lol: I think I'll put my tubes in them with a ball of clove oil. Maybe that'll help.
At that estate sale, I got 2 large plastic sacks of paints (probably about 100 tubes, some almost empty, a few never used-3 cad yellow lights included, and colors I hadn't heard of.) plus a Tackle Box Magnum 1162 Double Sided 5x11x15 Adjustable Compartment ( https://www.ebay.com/itm/323319625334 ) full of paint. The woman must have been a teacher. Actually, I think I'll put the paint back in that, and add the clove oil balls.

That should keep the paint easy to get to.

contumacious, I do have empty tubes. The only two tubes I transferred way back were burnt umber and ivory black. I managed to get them tubed and sealed. They're almost gone now. One lid quit working and is just sort of pushed on. I keep it usable by keeping the paint topped with oil.
Maybe I'm doing it not quite correctly, I wasn't satisfied. Maybe I'll try it again, as I have several tubes.

AnnieA
04-04-2019, 02:15 PM
Pinguino, all my cups runneth over!:clap: :clap: :clap:
Most of the 70's paint plus a tall wood easel, pochade box, tools, oil pastels and more, were given me about 1971. I did buy a few items, oil paint, a few acrylics, canvas and paper supplies. Recently I was given probably a full range of pentel watercolor tubes (full), a Bob Ross table easel, a soltek type easel, a table top pochade box, ~20 tubes of gouche, a bunch of tubes acrylics, more water colors, more oil pastels, canvases, tools, two sketchbooks, art magazines... :clap: :clap: :clap:

Annie, that's a wonderful idea! I have several large plastic (not airtight, I'm sure) jars. [[:angel: I AM NOT A HOARDER! :angel: ]] I knew I'd have a use for them!:lol: I think I'll put my tubes in them with a ball of clove oil. Maybe that'll help.
At that estate sale, I got 2 large plastic sacks of paints (probably about 100 tubes, some almost empty, a few never used-3 cad yellow lights included, and colors I hadn't heard of.) plus a Tackle Box Magnum 1162 Double Sided 5x11x15 Adjustable Compartment ( https://www.ebay.com/itm/323319625334 ) full of paint. The woman must have been a teacher. Actually, I think I'll put the paint back in that, and add the clove oil balls.

That should keep the paint easy to get to.

contumacious, I do have empty tubes. The only two tubes I transferred way back were burnt umber and ivory black. I managed to get them tubed and sealed. They're almost gone now. One lid quit working and is just sort of pushed on. I keep it usable by keeping the paint topped with oil.
Maybe I'm doing it not quite correctly, I wasn't satisfied. Maybe I'll try it again, as I have several tubes.
Oh my, ntl, it appears you have enough to start an art supply store! All of that is quite a generous gift. Also, the term "air tight" was probably going too far. I should have said to use a "sealed" container. I really can't say whether a tackle box would be sealed tightly enough. It might be, but just in case, you could put the paint in sealed plastic bags containing cotton balls with clove-oil first, and then put those in the tackle box. Even plastic bags aren't completely air tight, but should be OK, at least for a while. I hope it works for you.

contumacious
04-04-2019, 06:50 PM
If they are hardening in the tubes and there aren't any holes in them, you need to get the paint out of the tubes and work some oil into it, otherwise they are going to continue to get harder to the point where you won't be able to save them. Putting them in an air tight container with or without clove oil, isn't going to stop the process in my opinion. It is happening without a supply of additional oxygen already.

I would use a slower drying oil than Linseed such as Walnut, Safflower or Poppyseed. Mix / Mull some oil slowly into the paint until it has an even and smooth consistency that you like. Try not to include any obviously dried chunks, usually found around the opening of the tube.

AnnieA
04-04-2019, 07:31 PM
If they are hardening in the tubes and there aren't any holes in them, you need to get the paint out of the tubes and work some oil into it, otherwise they are going to continue to get harder to the point where you won't be able to save them. Putting them in an air tight container with or without clove oil, isn't going to stop the process in my opinion. It is happening without a supply of additional oxygen already.

I would use a slower drying oil than Linseed such as Walnut, Safflower or Poppyseed. Mix / Mull some oil slowly into the paint until it has an even and smooth consistency that you like. Try not to include any obviously dried chunks, usually found around the opening of the tube.

I'm glad you pointed this out, contumacious. The difference between ntl's tubes and my own is that most of my tubes have holes in them. But I have a question: doesn't hardening generally indicate the presence of air? If so, wouldn't the clove oil idea help somewhat, since presumably the clove fumes would get in where the air does? This seems logical to me, but there may be other things operating.

But please know that on the basis of your comments, I've just moved some WMOs and the regular oils with damaged tubes into the freezer, using two layers of plastic bags (and leaving the clove oil on cotton balls in each inneer bag). That should help to retard the drying process, right?

contumacious
04-04-2019, 10:17 PM
It certainly wouldn't hurt to keep tubes with holes in them cold and in an atmosphere that reduces oxidation, which from my experience, clove oil fumes do. Cold storage should also do the same with non leaky tubes.

I don't really know what exactly is going on with a sealed tube of paint that continues to harden even though closed tightly with no source of additional oxygen, but I do know it can be stopped by mixing the paint with walnut oil. I suspect that even if such paint was re-tubed, without adding some oil to it, it would continue to harden, but I have never tested it since my goal was to save the paint.

AnnieA
04-04-2019, 11:09 PM
Thanks again - you're always a great source of info, contumacious!

At one time there was a problem with the paint in Permalba White tubes oxidizing, and it was found that the plastic tubes that it came in were slightly permeable. But if ntl's paints are mostly Grumbacher, they're most likely not plastic but metal, even 1970-era tubes. Some my old Grumbacher tubes showed significant decomposition, though, so maybe there was an issue with the type of metal used several decades ago. Perhaps the metal was more prone to oil damage. Maybe in the case of ntl's tubes, the holes are just not immediately apparent, but just large enough to allow air to enter. I know my WMO tubes look OK at first glance, but on closer inspection show a tiny line of yellowing oil at the bottom crimp or sometimes elsewhere on the tube.