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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-11-2014, 08:14 AM Thread Starter
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Default Varathane Won't Dry

I often use Varathane Professional crystal clear finish in the spray cans to finish smaller projects. There are times when the product will not cure or dry. It has done this when I apply it to very hard woods like ebony and more recently thuya. Has anyone else had this problem and is there a way to assist the process once it is on without having to remove it. I never have problems with other woods and I don't think its a humidity problem because the spray dried fine on the curly maple part of this project which also has the thuya,

Thanks in advance

Dennis
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-11-2014, 11:36 AM
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Maybe there is an oil in those woods that is reacting to the spray finish Dennis. Maybe try wiping a scrap down with something like acetone and let it dry off good then try spraying it and see if it will dry. Maybe other members can suggest something better than acetone.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-11-2014, 11:54 AM
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That's very peculiar...once the 'solvent' flashes off, the urethane should simply be dry.
Solvent in this case is whatever the mfg. is using to keep the urethane in solution.
Very strange.
If it were me I'd be contacting customer service. Just not right that the product would be wood species sensitive. I could understand if it didn't bond well to oily wood, but that's a whole 'nuther issue.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-11-2014, 12:38 PM
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+1 with Dan and Charles.

I'm thinking there is a prep step missing to treat some woods to help with the binding. (wiping with a conditioner or solvent first to prep the surface).

Some woods have a silky, oily kind of feel to it might need to either have the surface sealed, or some of the oils/acidic properties deal with by removing the surface oils (like thinner) to help with that binding.

The vendor would be who to ask about that... or you could try a few test pieces of scrap.

"Don't worry, I saw this work in a cartoon once."
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-11-2014, 07:02 PM
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Here's another idea to try. Take some scraps of each wood that is causing problems and try drying them in your oven. I would try around 160F to maybe 200F and watch them to see if you see any oils boiling off. Leave them in until you are convinced that any oils have boiled to the surface. If they feel oily try whatever solvents you have on them until they don't feel oily. Then try spraying them and see if the finish will dry. If you are still having problems try what Dan suggested. Have the batch number off the can ready when you call. Maybe it's a bad batch.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-12-2014, 09:16 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice. I have done more research and found that this wood is very oily and the resin inhibits the curing of the finish applied over it. The recommendations included using only stabilized thuya (wasn't aware of this before) or wiping the wood with lacquer thinner or acetone (you were right Chuck) just before application of the finish. Its a gorgeous wood so I may try one of these processes in the future. The wood does not look oily by appearance but I also found out that if your sandpaper fills very quickly it is probably due to an oily wood and that was certainly what happened when I sanded this stuff. Thanks again
Dennis
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-12-2014, 09:38 AM
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Good information for me too. Thanks to Chuck, Mike and Dan.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-12-2014, 04:15 PM
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Keep us posted Dennis. I'm curious to find out if you can get the finish to work. I think there is a possibility that even if you try the thinner or acetone that it could be possible for the oils to migrate to the surface from deeper down and cause problems later ( like blisters or peeling). If that's the case then the only solution is to air dry the wood until the oils have gassed off or kiln the wood to achieve the same in less time. I agree with you that don't want to alter the appearance of many of those exotic woods. They are pretty special just the way they are.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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