I have stains that are still good after 20 years, once I open a gel
varnish it could be good for 6 weeks to 6 months before beginning to
harden and or not perform correctly. When working on something that is
worth more because of your time and materials involved, if there is the
slightest doubt spend $20 on a new can of varnish.
And even on gloss varnishes the varnish should be stirred. The delivery
part that evaporates can separate from the protective film left on the
I find that too hot, too cold, and too humid can slow down the curing
On Tuesday, October 28, 2014 10:11:04 AM UTC-5, Leon wrote:
what accounts for this strange result?
re are (some of the) possibilities:
3) How much was the can stirred, in the first place?
This seems to be a good case study, at any rate.
No matter! For now and for the OP's sake, I doubt the project is ruined an
d we may never know, exactly, the problem. Clean off the oil film, scuff t
he finish (as DadiOH says) and let it sit/cure, some more. I think, as lon
g as the second coat doesn't start peeling off, it should be fine.
As long as there's no more fumes, oders, etc., the baby should be safe. Co
ver the radiator and wait until next spring/summer to recoat or redo the fi
nish, if need be.
Maybe keep us posted, as to subsequent drying/curing results or further pro
blems, so we can explore the problem solving, some more.
Finish formulas have changed (15-20 yrs ago?), to accommodate new VOC regs
and concerns, yet many of the can's instructions remained the same. Unles
s you have perfect weather and other conditions, etc., drying and curing ti
mes may very well vary, from the ideal, and remedies, for mistakes, can be
aggravating, not only for a novice, but for the experienced, as well.
"Experienced" woodworkers use this time-tested remedy: Postpone the projec
t until next year. That's why we have so many ongoing projects in our shop
On Tuesday, October 28, 2014 11:50:58 AM UTC-5, Sonny wrote:
s and concerns, yet many of the can's instructions remained the same. Unl
ess you have perfect weather and other conditions, etc., drying and curing
times may very well vary, from the ideal, and remedies, for mistakes, can b
e aggravating, not only for a novice, but for the experienced, as well.
Formulas for most states (of course with the huge exception of CA) didn't c
hange much 20 or so years ago. The labels did. The instructions became 50
% warnings about how dangerous the product was.
About 15 years or so ago product ingredients changed >>all for the best<< a
nd so did application methods and protocols. Better resins, better synthet
ic oils, better product/quality control, and better application research st
arted to come to the front of the line. When I took a class at the Sherwin
Williams commercial coatings division traveling seminars, it was fascinati
ng. They loaded me up with all kinds of practical and technical informatio
n, product manuals, etc. And better still, I got to talk to some of the gu
ys that had actually applied the products.
I realized then how awful finishing is for the home guy. They don't like i
t (the battle cry of "I am a woodworker, not a painter") still rings in my
ears from time to time. So the average woodworker learns exactly enough to
get by. And, when they find something they like, THEY NEVER CHANGE.
I am being bit silly here, but it is almost like "Robert, I would paint the
house myself, but with my wipe on products it might take me a while, and p
robably 10,000 cans of finish."
I spotted this trend at least 15 years back, and realized that "finishing"
also known as "paintin", "stainin" and "varnishin" is widely viewed as a v
oodoo art. I rarely meet folks that read the cans, follow the protocols an
d procedures, and interface with the manufacturer. So finishing becomes al
most folkloric, with bits and pieces of "knowledge" passed around on a slow
day over coffee, or in an emergency situation like this one. Anything is
better than doing the right prep, following the instructions on the can (wh
at... read the instructions?), and the worst bugaboo of all... practicing y
It is much more fun to sit and chat knowingly about a simple finish that is
a favorite, and offer suggestions to others that in the end amount to pass
ing verbal gas. Pure conjecture. I have heard more downright bullshit abou
t finishing than just about any other craft. It is a craft unto itself, so
how the guy that had literally applied finish to a hand full of pieces that
only uses one or two finishes feels capable of dispensing advice, I don't
Folks that finish one piece a year (but have been doing one piece a year fo
r 20 years)feel free to opine their expert opinion, because afterall, they
have been doing it for 20 years! BTW, this isn't a slap at non professiona
ls, many "professionals" are just as frickin' bad about not following instr
uctions or learning their finishing products.
Anyone can pull off good finishing, just follow the instructions on the can
. That's what stumps me. Today's finishes are so good, so forgiving, and
so easy to apply (follow the instructions) I don't really understand fouled
finishes on projects made with new materials.
You are a professional finisher when you know your products well enough to
know what VOC of solvent to thin with depending on the day's weather, you k
now which tip you want in your gun because there is a difference in "hangin
g" a coating and "laying" it out. You are fluent with paints, coatings, cl
ear coats, and their application and methods of application. Better still,
you understand prep.
For everyone else, just follow the instructions on the can. No guessing on
application techniques from others, no folkloric advice from around the ca
mp fire, no Google experts needed, and no "I know a guy that does this XXXX
X this way... I haven't tried it, but he swears by it" thus divesting himse
lf from any responsibility for his answer.
On 10/30/2014 2:13 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
LOL. no kidding...... I took me 8 separate quarts of Old Masters gel
varnish to get the hang if it. I think I am on my 4th case now and I am
happy once again. Reading the instructions and not reading anything
into the instructions helps.
On Thursday, October 30, 2014 2:13:24 PM UTC-5, email@example.com wrote:
change much 20 or so years ago. The labels did. The instructions became
50% warnings about how dangerous the product was.
and so did application methods and protocols. Better resins, better synth
etic oils, better product/quality control, and better application research
started to come to the front of the line. .....
I kinna feel like I got castigated, here, and, to some extent, rightly so.
I don't mind, at all, being guided in the right direction.
Gradully, over those years, many things changed, with respect to finishing
products. For us non-experts, these changes can be confusing. For someo
ne as I, and likely the OP (my reasoning), finding one or two finishes and
techniques and, somewhat, mastering those, is also reasonable. But this wa
sn't the crux of my post. I suppose I shouldn't have commented about any o
f this. It has nothing to do with fixing his problem.
The OP's project is not fine furniture, requiring absolute expert finishing
. He seemed to be concerned that he might have to strip and refinish the r
adiator cover, maybe even if the project was ruined, and the concern for th
With the info we have, it's unlikely the project is ruined, it's unlikely i
t may need to be stripped and refinished, if he allows time for more curing
, and if more curing solves the odors/fumes issue, then the concerns for th
e baby should be resolved. I was also treating the "patient", to be patien
t with his project, not just treating the project.
Despite the probable mistakes involved, a fix, to his finish, is likely ava
ilable with a little patience, allowing the finish to dry or cure a little
longer. We can't fix his problem, from our distance, but we can guide him,
to the best of our experience, for him to have the best confidence in his
work, to have the best immediate finishing results, possible (I assume he w
ants the cover installed ASAP), and for him to have confidence that everyth
ing will be safe for the baby.
I suppose the spirit of our words don't always get posted, as we are thinki
ng of them, as we write.
On Friday, October 31, 2014 8:48:07 AM UTC-5, Sonny wrote:
. I > don't mind, at all, being guided in the right direction.
I hope you don't feel that way because of my post. I take for granted we a
re all guys here, and when I am in "contractor" mode, I tend to write and s
peak as I do when on the job. Besides, remember what I post is my opinion,
based on my experience(s). It certainly isn't anything written in stone.
Sometimes too, I tend to skip the niceties. I am around contractors, sub co
ntractors, vendors and such all day long and our language and while polite,
our interface with one another can be extremely crisp and brief.
g products. For us non-experts, these changes can be confusing. For som
eone as I, and likely the OP (my reasoning), finding one or two finishes an
d techniques and, somewhat, mastering those, is also reasonable. But this
wasn't the crux of my post. I suppose I shouldn't have commented about any
of this. It has nothing to do with fixing his problem.
I disagree. These threads rarely stay exactly on topic and often times tha
t leads to another adjoining issue that is pertinent to the discussion. I
say "fire away" and let the chips fall where they will. No one owns this j
oint and everyone is entitled to post as they please.
ng. He seemed to be concerned that he might have to strip and refinish the
radiator cover, maybe even if the project was ruined, and the concern for
it may need to be stripped and refinished, if he allows time for more curi
ng, and if more curing solves the odors/fumes issue, then the concerns for
the baby should be resolved. I was also treating the "patient", to be pati
ent with his project, not just treating the project.
In all likelihood, the project is fine, but the finish is not. If you have
a finish that should dry to the touch in a few hours, and it is still oily
after a few days, that should be a signal that things are screwed up. If
you poured concrete and it didn't get hard in a day, you would know somethi
ng was wrong. If you painted a wall and it was "wet" for a few days, you w
ould understand that things weren't right. If you laid brick and the morta
r didn't set up, you would assume something went wrong.
Here's what I don't get. The finish OP describes stays oily for a few days
and no one thinks that much of it, and is actually advised all could be we
ll with patience. So to boil it down, there is an application of an incorr
ectly mixed solution to a surface that, since it was not mixed well (specif
ically using the product NOT as designed), refuses to create the chemical r
eaction it is designed to do. So the application is fouled, as is the fina
Even if the coating finally "dries", no doubt it will not perform as intend
What grinds my gears is the folks that advise "repairs" and "things to try"
based on rumor and hearsay. No professional finisher or even an experienc
ed home finisher would advise some of the nonsense that shows up. For exam
ple, you clearly have a non miscible, oil finish that is being used. Why w
ould you put shellac ON TOP of a non bondable substrate to begin with, and
worse, why would you put a finish on top of wet finish that uses a complete
ly different solvent/carrier? Maybe some of those things might be OK as a
completely last ditch effort, but even then, when you have screwed up it is
time to move forward.
I AM NOT singling you out or pointing a finger at you. But for the casual
poster that taps out reply, sometimes they don't think of the consequences
of what they post. Someone might actually TRY the methods they post or the
materials they suggest, even if the respondent doesn't have any real knowl
edge to know if it will work. I have seen many suggestions over the years
posted here as advice on repairs that I KNOW have made the problem worse, c
aused more work, and wasted more time than should have ever happened.
king of them, as we write.
True enough. It is difficult to get the intent of the spoken word to the p
age, and it all sounds different to each of us. As we do more and more int
erfacing by way of keyboard, I always try to think twice before I post to s
ee if my post was too offensive, or if I could tone down my response if I w
as in torch mode.
All the best to you, Sonny. I enjoy your posts.
OP back with an update.
Like any dad, woodworking time is limited. So, partly because of lack of t
ime and partly out of hope that the finish would continue to cure, I have m
ade no change to the 2x coats already applied.
The oily residue has gone. Once I noticed this (1.5 weeks after applicatio
n), I decided to put the cover back into action. The finish looks great, a
nd I would have no reason for concern other than, the finish still gives of
f a smell when the radiator gets hot.
I have been careful to air out the room and limit time spent when the odor
is strong. BUT I am concerned about 2x things 1) is this odor dangerous 2)
dangerous or not it is not pleasant
I have time today. Thinking that the best answer is to
1) remove the aluminum mesh. Remove reflectix reflective lining covering th
e inside of the top. Top is 4"x32".
2) scuff the finish back with 220
3) wipe with paint thinner to remove dust and any oily residue that may sti
ll exist (ie possibly under the lining inside)
4) STIR THE CAN. This is 100% the problem. I'm convinced that the can is fi
ne. The problem was that I did not stir well enough. (I will never make tha
t mistake again.)
5) re coat with final coat indoors (heated/shared basement area)
Any thoughts or tips? The de-construction of mesh (many staples) and linin
g is not an insignificant task, but I suspect will be worth the effort.
I disassembled the reflectix lining. As suspected, the finish underneath was still smelly and had some of that oily residue (very minor). This had obviously not cured as well as the exposed finish.
Mesh is still attached. New plan is to leave the lining out for a few days/week to see if the smell goes away. I'll put the cover next to another radiator so it has the heat to help the process.
How's my rationale here, guys. Hoping to avoid possible conflicts with neighbors over a smelly basement.
Oh, to have a working space!!
On 11/1/2014 4:47 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
the odor is off gassing and will get better with time. What I can't say
is how much time, but a second coat, properly applied, may seal in
whatever the problem is. Heating is forcing a cure and while
unpleasant, it may shorten the time.
Probably more so if you are very young or very old. It's
not the odor, it's the chemicals that are being outgassed that are the
issue. Suggest you open a window daily until you don't notice it anymore
unless you have somewhere else to put it.
On Saturday, November 1, 2014 2:32:03 PM UTC-5, email@example.com wrote:
Yes, Robert, but I was aware of where you're coming from. No problem with your guiding us, this way. I always welcome your input. Thanks.
Maybe I should have been more direct.... and taking a cue from DadiOH:
To the OP....
1) wipe the oil off
2) Scuff it
3) Allow it to dry or cure, as best as possible
4) Install the cover, as long as there's no odor to effect the child
*) And since your weather may have contributed to the issue and you have no decent place to work, other than the kitchen table
5)Wait until spring or summer to do any fix that may need to be done.
6) In the meantime, keep us updated, so "we" can further troubleshoot some possible fixes.... *That's what us non-pros do, postpone the project, until a more convenient time, like next year.
One way or the other, there are folks, here, that can and will help solve your problem. That's one reason why I visit, here, often.
I agree with all you wrote but snipped most in the interest of brevity.
It seems to me that the manufacturers themselves are at least partially
responsible ofr the "voodoo art" concept. Take spar varnish for one
example...thanks mostly to the manufacturers, the average Joe thinks spar
varnish is a superior, harder varnish. Not true. Heck, I don't even know
if what is labled as such IS spar varnish. I do know that it isn't easy
to find a plain old alkyd one.
Teak oil is another. Oil FROM teak? Nope. Oil FOR teak? Sure...and for
any other wood.
Minwax's Polycrylic is another. Is it multiple acrylics? Polyurethane +
acrylic? I won't even get into the puffery by many such as "rock hard".
I would like to know what things are without having to delve into the
I'll agree with you on that specific one. Mass-market
manufacturers putting random crap in the big-box stores
and calling it "spar varnish" does no-one any good. Use
a real spar varnish, like Petit or Epifanes and you
quickly see the difference.
BTW, for those not familiar with it, spar varnish is _not_
harder than other varnish, it's softer. That's because
it's intended to go on spars, and not crack when the spar
flexes with the wind.
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