Oil-based poly curing time
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:02 AM   #1
JoshBA
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Oil-based poly curing time


A little while ago I built an aquarium stand using 2x4s and plywood. I coated it several times with an oil-based polyurethane. I've been leaving it out in the sun EVERY day since then for 25 days and I still can smell the solvents (meaning its still curing)!
Does anyone have any experience with using oil-based polyurethane on stands and how long should I expect to wait? I'm worried that if I bring it in now to use it the solvents gassing off will harm my aquarium.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:52 AM   #2
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Was it a pre mix or did you mix it yourself
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:34 AM   #3
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It was premix: 'Varnathane fast-dry polyurethane'
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Old 08-28-2013, 01:10 PM   #4
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Oil polys cure within 24 hours. The solvent is usually some type of a mineral spirit. Did you mix the can before you applied?
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Old 08-28-2013, 01:45 PM   #5
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I refinished a stand several weeks ago. I had the same issues using Ben Moore alkaloid paint. In my case I used a primer then three coats of finish with sanding between. I followed the instructions in terms of dry time.

I noted that even though the paint was dry to the touch, it was and still is not fully cured. Three weeks later, if you press hard with your thumb you leave a print and feel the adhesion.
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Old 08-28-2013, 02:40 PM   #6
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Yeah I've heard oil based takes a few weeks but can be notorious for taking much longer. The thing I'm worrying about is off gasing of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). I'm just confused why I its still curing having been sitting out in the hot sun for nearly a month. I know its still curing because I can still smell the solvents. I didn't mix the polyurethane prior because it creates air bubbles and isn't supposed to be necessary.
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Old 08-28-2013, 02:44 PM   #7
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I don't think the sun is going to make much difference one way or the other. Personally I wouldn't worry about it. It isn't going to hurt anything.
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Old 08-28-2013, 03:09 PM   #8
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A few weeks of curing should be fine even if the smell is still there. Water based poly for the win, 4 hour curing (can't beat that).
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Old 08-28-2013, 03:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshBA View Post
Yeah I've heard oil based takes a few weeks but can be notorious for taking much longer. The thing I'm worrying about is off gasing of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). I'm just confused why I its still curing having been sitting out in the hot sun for nearly a month. I know its still curing because I can still smell the solvents. I didn't mix the polyurethane prior because it creates air bubbles and isn't supposed to be necessary.
SHAKING the can creates air bubbles. Stirring the can is necessary. Especially if its a semi, matte or a satin finish. Anything but a true gloss has flattening agents added. In order to get them off the bottom of the can you STIR.

There isn't as much a problem with water based however. I've shaken the jug every time I used it (and I used it a lot) and never had a problem with bubbles. BTW even with shaking oil poly correct brushing and a quality brush will get rid of the bubbles.

Mr. Green, water based poly is great but if you want the warming effect of oil water based is just too stark. It dries perfectly clear where oil adds that old school amber tone. Also for the most part water just isn't as durable. Yet.

Oil finishes dry in two ways. First is the evaporation of the solvents. Second is the "curing" That IIRC is a chemical reaction.
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Old 08-28-2013, 04:16 PM   #10
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if you want the warming effect of oil water based is just too stark
yeah, true.
Nothing a little light stain and water poly can't fix
Also with water poly, you can do multiple coats within a day.
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Old 08-28-2013, 04:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
yeah, true.
Nothing a little light stain and water poly can't fix
Also with water poly, you can do multiple coats within a day.
Depends on the effect you want. Don't get me wrong. As I've said in a few other posts I am a convert to water base on many projects. But there are some that WB just looks wrong no matter what you do.
Each has its place. I like both.
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Old 08-28-2013, 04:46 PM   #12
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Oh okay I see what you mean. The can I used was only about a quart so hopefully I unintentionally stirred it up through dipping the paint brush in and out of it. Thanks for all of your responses! The oil based does have a nice stained look to it, and I think leaving it out in the sun may be darkening the wood (which is awesome).
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:41 AM   #13
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Sorry to thread jack, but what better? Oil based or water based? I just built my stand last weekend(link in sig) and I just planned on using Thompson weather seal at the same time I seal my deck. But if there's a better way I would prefer that. I also planned on doing a second coat of rustoleums new "neverwet" superhydrophobic coating
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Old 08-29-2013, 03:17 AM   #14
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Jess, don't use the Thomsons on a stand. Or anything else inside. For a stand either the oil or the WB is fine. If you haven't done poly before I'd probably use the WB. Easier to cleanup and you can recoat in 4 hours. I prefer the satin finish over the gloss myself. The gloss is just too stark for my taste and I wind up treating it like an auto finish and then waxing for a better gloss. One thing I've been doing is an oil stain with a WB poly. If you use a WB stain and then a WB poly you need to be careful because they will co-mingle on the first coat and muddy the poly.
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Old 08-29-2013, 03:25 AM   #15
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That's what I needed to know, thanks. I won't be going gloss, I built the stand to match the knotty pine in my living room that is unfinished so I will be using flat.

Just out of curiosity why shouldn't I use the thompsons?
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