Not All Paint Mixers are Created Equal

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If you buy your paint in summer or fall, you can often save some money, but this means you’ll need to mix it well prior to painting. In fact, most of the paint in the store has settled long enough to have separated, leaving a thin solvent-rich layer on the top and 2/3 of the paint as a sludge on the bottom. Intended for less stubborn house paint, ordinary mixers clog up with the goo, taking 15 minutes or more to properly rejuvenate a can. After a dozen layers of paint build up, they scarcely mix at all.

The solution is something larger and more open. Five-gallon mixers move more liquid at the relatively low RPMs typical of a cordless drill. They better clean the bottom of the can and they don’t clog. You can improve them for bottom paint by gently bending the blades on the bottom and sides to a slightly greater angle. Even better is the simple laboratory axial flow impeller. These don’t clog and will mix the most stubborn can in two minutes.

Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.

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