Protect oil-based putty with…water?
Even with the lids tightly sealed, oil-based putties such as plumber’s putty, colored wood filler, and glazing compound dry out before I can use up the whole container. I learned a trick from my painter that prevents the oil from drying out and that keeps the putty fresh.
Pour a layer of water over the top of the putty before closing the container lid. As long as the putty is covered, it won’t dry out, so add water periodically if the container isn’t used frequently. When you’re ready to use the putty, pour off the water, then dab off the remaining moisture with a paper towel. After you’re done, add fresh water and close the lid.
I’ve tried putting water over water-based putty and fillers with some success. It works, provided the containers aren’t shaken up too much. When they are shaken, the contents may mix with the water. It also helps to smooth out the surface of the putty or filler before topping off with water.
Mike Guertin, East Greenwich, RI