Your suggestions for pouring “glug-free” are great (“Finishing Thoughts,” December 2014 print issue, p. 87). As a somewhat handicapped woodworker, I must admit that I’ve been doing as suggested for years. But, since manufacturers have started placing the cap in the center of their quart containers, there seems to be no way possible to pour without “glugs” or dribbles if you’re forced to pour one-handed as I am. Any further suggestions? – Roger Pozzi
Michael Dresdner: As with larger containers, the key is to get the pour spout as high as possible relative to the liquid level. Therefore, position the can so the pour hole is as close to the top edge as possible. With rectangular quart cans, pour with the wide sides horizontal and the short sides vertical. Watch any old movie of someone drinking or pouring from a hip flask and you’ll see what I mean. Tip it slightly and the liquid will flow from the bottom half of the round spout hole, while the top half takes in air. Thanks to gravity, liquid is always horizontal to the earth, so it’s easy to picture where the liquid level is relative to the spout, even inside an opaque container. By positioning the spout near the top edge, you can make sure the liquid level only comes halfway up the opening when you pour, leaving the top half of the opening for air to enter the can. As for tapered bottles, angling them slowly will, similarly, keep the top of the spout hole above the liquid line, so be patient and pour slowly. You can practice with a bottle of wine, which I’m told results in a very merry time. Of course, while this solves the glugs problem, it does not solve the dribbles problem. I’m sorry, but for that, keep some paper shop towels handy.
Chris Marshall: Roger, those quart-sized containers with centered spouts really are a nuisance to pour. We’ve all suffered from the splashing at one time or another. Michael has a thoughtful solution for circumventing that bad design, but I’ve just made it a point to skip that style of container when I can. Right now in my finishing cabinet, I have quarts of lacquer thinner, acetone, mineral spirits and denatured alcohol, all made by Crown and sold at Lowe’s®. They have offset orifices and screw caps (instead of the pry-off cap style) to help make access and pouring easier. Here’s one suggestion: when your solvents and other finishes eventually run out, maybe it’s time to buy quart containers with more convenient spouts for you.