Finish Not Drying???

Hi All,
I just completed an oak box and stained it with Minwax dark walnut. Wiped if off pretty good, I think. The next day, I put on a coat of Armorall Oil and Urithane Topcoat. Not too thick, but as it was the first coat, not real dry either. Put on with cloth pad. The next day, it was still tacky. Wiped down with mineral spirits, and recoated with juice from a different can of the same stuff. This morning, the piece was still tacky.
Never had this problem before. Shop temp is 55 degrees, humidity around 75%. Last night I did a test board, 1/3 gloss finish, 1/3 satin from an old can, and 1/3 from the just opened can. This morning, all three areas were dry and ready for steel wool and more coats.
Is it possible that the stain didn't "dry" and that is queering the drying time of the topcoat???
I'm at a loss as to what to do next. SHMBO needs this box finished by Sunday PM.
Any help will be MOST appreciated! Thanks to all.
Rich.....
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Most likely wet oil under the finish.
Minwax instructions indicate 8 to 24 hours before applying a finish. I would say 48 to 72 is much safer, especially when only 55 degrees. Also poly won't dry wel below 65 degrees.
You have a bit of a mess now. I would suggest to wipe it down with mineral spirits as best possible. Then try coating with shellac. It dries in minutes. It is good seperator between finishes and has excellent adhesion in even extreme cases.
If the first coat works, then a few more coats of shellac.
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SonomaProducts.com wrote:

And, bring it into a warmer environment.
I'd never even consider <24 hrs over a mineral stain on oak even in warm weather and certainly not at in the 50s w/ likely high humidideedew to slow evaporation down even more.
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dpb wrote: ...

Realized didn't point out the "why"...unless used a sealer first to close the pores, even rubbing out won't get all of the sizable amounts left in open pores and that will take longer to dry than a surface coat on a close-grained wood. When the topcoat is applied, it'll re-dissolve the covering "skin" on those little globs and there ya' go w/ the drying problem.
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Thanks Charlie. I can just imagine the yelling if I used the oven!
I brought the box into the house, and it seems to be getting less tacky. What baffled me on this was that it was the first time I've had any problem using the same finishes, same overnight shop temps. And a test run last night dried up overnight just as always.
My thinking now is maybe the stain never dried enough. Or Magic.
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For borderline temps and smaller projects you can rig up an enclosure and stick a lamp inside along with the work to boost the ambient temperature. Works well, and you don't need a high wattage bulb.
R
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Minwax, and many others, have changed their formulas to satisfy the latest VOC requierments, so most will take much longer to dry than what their instructions say. After staining with an oil stain, you should allow it to dry for at least 4 days (with normal temps and humidity), before topcoating. A week of drying is best, because you can never be sure of how thick you may have applied it and/or how deep it penetrated.
I would wipe it down with naptha, allow to dry (at least until Saturday afternoon), then coat with shellac (Sealcoat). If your wipe- down lightened the color too much, tone the shellac.
Sonny
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Thanks to All. Puter server has been down since Thursday! Brought the box inside, and stole some oven time. Lots of sweating of stain. This was an old can of stain, so it will get replaced.
Good idea to let oak dry longer, hadn't thought of that. But all in all, I have not had problems with shop environment over the past 4 years, using the same finishes, various woods. Stain one day, 1st finish the next, etc.
Always nice to be able to discuss these problems, and get different opinions.
Rich.....
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