Speed up curing time by applying heat? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 01-27-2016, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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Speed up curing time by applying heat?

I'm brand new to the forum and the hobby.

I've completed my first ever finishing job. It's on a custom 8' long by 22" wide desk I made to fit our office space.

My question is, is their a practical way to speed up the curing time so that the polyurethane finish will both fully harden and the VOC smell will disappear?

The wood is Select Pine board. I used Miniway Pre-Stain Conditioner, Two coats of Miniwax Natural oil based stain and three or four coats of Miniwax Polyurethane Gloss. I know I probably went overboard on the Poly but I am real happy with out it looks and feels. But the smell is still overpowering for one room. In fact I'm going to move it back into the garage until the smell dissipates some more.

Could I possibly use a hair blow drier to speed up the curing process? Is it worth my time? Will it ruin the finish or the wood? I live in Califonia so the temperatures are not freezing but still we are only seeing highs in the mid to low 60's typically. It's been about six days so far since I applied the last coat of poly. In the summer my garage will be over 100'F every day and this thing probably would have cured in a few days.

We have a two year old at home and we are expecting baby number two at the end of April so I would like this thing to not smell before I bring it into the house again.
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post #2 of 7 Old 01-27-2016, 06:19 PM
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If you could put it in a small room and use a space heater to heat up the room that would probably help. I doubt the hair dryer would help much.
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post #3 of 7 Old 01-27-2016, 06:27 PM
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I don't believe I would use a hair dryer. It would get the heat too localized and might cause the finish to blister. Once the finish is dry to touch the finish needs warm dry air over the whole project to rush it. You might rig a tent in your back yard to keep it in with a electric space heater but be sure it has a lot of fresh air or you would be creating a fire hazard.
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post #4 of 7 Old 01-27-2016, 07:28 PM
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Get it out of the living area. I wouldn't do anything else except maybe a little fan for some air circulation. What you smell may be a part of the curing process. To get rid of too much of it too fast may leave the rest of the finish starving and you get a tacky result. I use several coats of MinWax Tung Oil Protective Finish on many of my wood carvings. Smelly for a few days at 70F. Do the coats a week apart.

It will be OK in the garage, even in the 60's.
Congrats on the family.
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post #5 of 7 Old 01-28-2016, 11:55 AM
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Oil based poly varnish takes a long time to cure particularly with the amount of coats of finish you applied As long as it's curing, it will off-gas. Curing can take 8 - 12 weeks. Temperature will not have a great effect on curing time. Just keep in a space that has at temperature between 55 - 75 degrees. Also keep air moving over the surface. The curing process require oxygen which is used up as the curing process works.

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post #6 of 7 Old 01-28-2016, 04:23 PM
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If you are going to do this often, you might want to seriously consider pre-cat lacquer or Conversion varnish. Put on 3 or 4 coats in around an hour and a half. 30 minutes clean-up for both you and the gun including sweeping the dust. Deliver the next day.

As far as your current dilemma with curing time, Warm fresh air circulation would be best. If the "warm" is not possible, fresh dry air would still hasten the process.

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Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx

Last edited by Tony B; 01-28-2016 at 04:26 PM.
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post #7 of 7 Old 01-29-2016, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the comments all. Sounds like the most practical thing will be to just leave it in the garage and forget about it for a while. I can put a small fan on it to get some fresh dry air over. But heat won't be realistic right now.

There are a few other things I need to do for our office once the desk is back in there. But I have plenty of other things on my to do list like painting, wall papering and base boarding the nursery so I'll switch my focus to those things.
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