I recently stained and then applied poly to several small end-tables. I
allowed the stain to dry for about 24 hours and then applied several
coats of poly. I allowed several days to do the poly. All were oil based
not water based.
I allowed several days in the garage to cure. I can't seem to get rid of
the fumes that are coming off the tables. What have I done wrong? I have
had to put them out on the porch under a fan to try and hurry the cure
along. They are not tacky and seem to be dry to the touch. Help!! Chuck
Thanks for the info. I'm in south Florida and the temp has been a bit
cool lately but in the house it has been dry and between 70 and 75. I
will just have to wait, I guess. I thjought maybe the poly was old or
something. Would it help to buy some new poly and give it a very light
coat if the original poly was "spoiled"?
I personally wouldn't. Give it time, reasonable temperatures, and low
humidity conditions. If the original poly is not completely cured,
the new coat could cause 're-melting' - ending up in a blobby mess.
When it completely cures, the smell will go away. What you are
probably smelling is the volatiles in the varnish evaporating.
I have used old poly that is years old, and have had no problems.
This is my opinion, others may differ.
Just finished a project in the garage - warm when applied but cold at
night. A week after the last coat - brought it inside - poly fumes !!!
After 24 hours in 72DegF room - smell is virtually gone - Poly needs
warmth and low humidity to cure properly.
Chuck B. wrote:
All finishing materials are a liquid with solids carried in it, the liquid
is called a vehicle.
When you apply it the solids stay where you put them and become solid as the
The majority evaporates fairly quickly, that is when you may call it dry,
some are trapped in place and take time for them to come thru and evaporate,
this is called the curing time and can vary with the type of material you
are using and the weather condition, ie: Temp,Humidity, Dew Point and
Its as Simple as that, so while curing you have the vehicle slowly
evaporating and thus the odor
Reactive finishes like varnish, cure by reacting with oxygen in the air.
This occurs during the evaporation process and after. Once all the solvent
has evaporated, the curing process may not be over. If coats are to thick
the outer layer of the varnish will 'skin over' and prevent oxygen from
penetrating to finish the curing process. The solvent may have already
evaporated. Thus, if the varnish is to thick the layers will continue to
cure even after all of the solvent has evaporated. This differs from
shellac that does not react with oxygen. Once the solvent evaporates in
shellac, that's it, its done.
"this is called the curing time"
The curing time is how long it takes for OXYGEN to penetrate, not how long
it takes the solvent to evaporate. (reactive finishes, like varnish)
I guess this was my point. :)
I screwed up. Usually I'm very patient with finishing.
The weather was suppose to turn cold and nasty so I was in a hurry with
the computer desk top. I slathered urethane on the MDF. It was on the
deck in the direct sun so when it felt 'dry enough' I slathered on
Damned thing stunk for weeks, took much longer than that to harden.
Never again will I count on heat to cure/ dry/ harden anything except
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