I'm refinishing some drawers, and the first coat of poly doesn't seem to
be drying properly. While some surfaces are nice, hard and smooth,
others are still tacky three days after application, and in other areas,
the poly seems to have seeped into the wood leaving the surface, well,
almost untouched. (Okay, I did dilute the stuff pretty severely with
The thing is, those surfaces which are still tacky... I'd like to know
what might be causing this. (It could be that my basement shop is too
humid. This has been a record-breaking week for this in my area.)
I'd like to know if I should just try a new coat of less-silute poly
over it, or if I should strip it off and start over.
By the way, the project with photos can be seen at
http://www.briansiano.com . It's the Chest of Drawers project.
Why are you thinning it at all? Polyurethane generally isn't happy when
thinned before brush or roller application--it won't level properly.
As to why it's not drying, it could be something in the wood--I've noticed
that some species for some reason seem to inhibit the curing of
polyurethane--it should get there eventually and when it does sand it
smooth and put on another coat. If you strip it off, then try a coat of
dewaxed shellac before the polyurethane when you recoat--it should act as a
barrier coat and keep whatever in the wood is preventing cure of the
polyurethane from having an effect.
Jumping in here, sorry... I must have missed the first post...
Sometimes, various types of 'cedar' aromatics can cause this gummy, non-
drying symptom. One of my early projects, a tresure box for one of my
sons, had a similar symptom. Checking your web page, it seems
_possible_ that there is some cedar type wood in the project.
If you can, move the parts to a well-ventilated area, and see if the
poly will cure. Otherwise, it may be a removal challenge...
I'm pretty sure it's not cedar, but some kind of pine for the sides of
the drawers. The drawer _bottom_ seems to be mahoghany or a veneer.
But I think I've found a solution. I did another coat of less-diluted
poly over the troublesome spots, and with a fan going to circulate the
air, it seems to be doing OK. I'll probably sand it down and do another
coat later this week.
As far as stripping it goes, methylene chloride can probably do the job.
But I'm okay with sanding it down for smoothness,
My wife's had problems with oil based poly on stripped old drawers once or
twice - presumably some left over Ancient Varnish from the 30ies or 50ies, who
knows, interfering with the curing process. A moisture curing poly might do
better (that *thrives* on humid conditions).
Severely thinning is not recommended. First coat of poly on chipboard flooring,
ok - about 10% from memory. But other than that, I wouldn't. If I want to use a
base coat under poly, I'd use a teak-oil like concoction (mix my own) but not
use overly thinned poly.
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