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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Several weeks ago I finished some small (3"X1") pieces of exotic wood with Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane spray clear semi-gloss, per the instructions on the can. They hadn't dried in well over a week so I called Minwax and the CS rep determined the product I used was outdated. Sanded everything down, bought a new can, again followed directions and same result. They have been drying for 8 days and they are still tacky to the touch. I live in a dry, warm climate (below 20% temp around 80 inside) and have an overhead fan circulating air on them. I don't think I have put the three coats on too heavy as I have no runs and they were held upright when sprayed. The directions on the can state to reapply each coat within 1 1/2 hours or wait 72 hours. I applied coats at about 1 1/4 hours. I'm in no hurry to use these but I'm beginning to think they will never dry. If the experts here tell me they will dry in a few weeks I can wait but I'm starting to think they will never dry. Any thoughts would greatly be appreciated. I am a novice at wood finishing.
 

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welcome to the forum.
what kind of exotic wood are you working with ?
photos would be nice to see.
just off the cuff here, it sounds like you have some really
oily wood that was not cleaned well before clear coating.

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certain "exotic woods" have a molecular structure so tight that
a finish can not penetrate the grain.
others have such a high oil content, it too will give you fits.
if you google "how to varnish cocobolo" you may get a little
better understanding of your issues.

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I don’t quite understand it, since varnish will even dry on glass which is completely non-porous, but finishes don’t like to cure on cocobolo.

For me, wiping with acetone then as soon as it dried a coat of dewaxed shellac sealed the wood and allowed the other finish to cure. When you do the acetone wipe, you’ll actually see the oil (and some color) come off on the rag. When the cooor stops coming off, you’re ready to go as soon as the acetone dries. If you wait too long, oils will migrate back to the surface.

I’m curious why you chose spray spar varnish for a finish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the input Quickstep. I chose spray as I had it on hand and had used it before with good results but also knew I could get an uniform smooth coat with no blemishes. I don't have a great deal of experience at brushing and other applications have given a less desirable end result in the past.
 
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