Table tops ruined - well, messed up

The end tables I made for SWMBO are Maple stained with H2O-based stain and covered with Varnish.
I applied the Varnish thinned 2:1 with Mineral Spirits by wiping with a rag. I waited 24 hours between coats. Between the 3rd & 4th and 5th & 6th coats I scraped away any nastiness. Between the 6th & 7th and 7th & 8th coats I rubbed it with #00 to smooth everything up.
So now I have 8 coats all applied with at least 24 hours in between. I wait 48 hours then glue the apron and legs together. I thought the clamps ruined the finish on the legs but it was just some dust from the rubber pads that came off with a rough rubbing of a dry rag. Next day I screw the tops on with some Norm style blocks set in a dado on the aprons. Tada!
Swmbo is happy they are done (me too). I take them upstairs and she positions them and carefully places the lamps on the tables with doilies (sp?) underneath. (72 hours drying time for the tops - applied in the heated basement).
Yesterday I get curious and lift the lamps and see marks where the lamps made impressions of the doily fabric on the tables. I mumble and mutter to myself.
After the in-laws visit on the 25th I will buff the marks out and apply another coat which will probably fix the marks. But...
How long does this stuff take to cure?
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Snip

Temperature, humidity, and number of coats will all factor in on total cure time. Time will tell.
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RayV wrote:

<snip>
It depends on the specific details, but it's not uncommon for varnish to take a couple weeks to fully cure. You might want to contact the manufacturer and ask them...
Chris
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Ray,
THE critical question . . . what KIND of Varnish?
If it was a 'long oil' Varnish - SPAR Varnish - the answer is 'Never'. That stuff is supposed to be 'soft' and flexible.
If something is going to be in contact with the surface {shod feet, hands, your butt, or a table lamp} you need a 'short oil' varnish.
For interior items, where 'contact use' is expected, I avoid the problem entirely by applying my usual 6 coats using a water-based poly. If the 'traditional Amber' tone is desired, I'll do it with a prior light staining, or add drops of dye to the poly until I reach the tone I want.
I do use 'short oil' varnish for interior work - where UV exposure protection is required.
Regards & Good Luck, Ron Magen Backyard Boatshop

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Not knowing what "stuff" you used, I can't make an honest judgement. Environmental conditions play a huge role in how quickly finish cures as well. It may sound a little funny, but I smell the finish. When I can't smell it any longer, it's cured. Not scientific but it seems to have worked for me. Cheers, cc
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I agree, the smell test is the best way, with most finishes.
I recently refinished my front door with an oil based poly. Since the temperatures were already down, it took almost 4 weeks for the smell to really disappear. Interestingly, I noticed that the finish was a *lot* harder than it had been after around one week (when it "looked" done).
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I've read at least two weeks. I've done some rubbed out poly that came out fantastic, but I let it cure two weeks before I started the polishing. Given the number of coats you used, I'd say it can be three or four weeks.
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On Wed, 12 Dec 2007 05:44:48 -0800 (PST), RayV

I wait a month, sometimes 6 weeks. Then apply a coat a wax and buff. A good finish takes patience.
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