Have you ever tried to use varnish from a skinned over, half-used can? Even if you remove the skin carefully, lumps of dried finish get mixed in with the remaining varnish and eventually end up on your project. But don't throw the stuff away—there's an easy way to get clean varnish from a used can. Just pour the contents through a paint filter into a second container. The filter is a paper cone with a cheesecloth nose (available at paint stores and home centers for about 25 cents apiece). Working from a second container is a good idea anyway—it keeps the storage can from getting messed up. The brush often transfers bits of junk it picks up from the surface back to the container, so clean the leftovers again when you pour them back into the storage can. You can use the same filter if it hasn't dried out.
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