I have stained several pieces of furniture lately and it seems to take weeks for the smell to go away. The last time, I tried letting the stain set for about 2 weeks before putting poly coating over it. This did not really help.
What are you using for a stain? I have never had a smell issue after my stain has dried...but then I don't wait for a long period after it has dried before I sealed it. At this point I have to say I don't know.
Hey Stone. Just about any oil-based stain will generally stink. And it takes a long time for the smell to go away. And I think some folks are particularly sensitive to the smell so it seems to smell bad even longer. The poly itself will have a bit of an odor for a while too, so thats probably why you still smell something. The only real cure is time and air exchange. This is why its not really a good idea to finish the insides of casework or drawers with an oil-based finish. The smell will be in there forever since air exchange is at a minimum.
So the good news is that the smell will dissipate over time. How long depends on a number of factors.
There are a few finishes that you can use in the future that will eliminate the smell, or more specifically, have little to no smell themselves. The two most common would be water-based poly and shellac. Both are nearly odorless as soon as they dry. And neither one is wholly unpleasant even when wet (in my opinion). So keep these finishes in mind for future projects where the odor will be an issue.
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