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Dealing with the polyurethane smell?

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Forum topic by JohnMcClure posted 04-17-2019 01:44 PM 885 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JohnMcClure

618 posts in 1001 days


04-17-2019 01:44 PM

Topic tags/keywords: polyurethane smell

I’m finishing some children’s furniture (bunk bed) with Varathane Spar Urethane.
Wiping it on with a 50/50 mix with mineral spirits.
They’ll want it in their room the moment it’s dry to the touch, but I suspect I should leave it in the garage for a few days first to let the smell dissipate. Does anyone have tips on this?
Would paste wax slow down the smell release, so that it’s not as noticeable?
How long should I expect to have to ventillate it before putting it in the kids’ room?
Thanks all!

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail


23 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5507 posts in 2854 days


#1 posted 04-17-2019 01:48 PM

It takes an amazing amount of time for varnish to fully cure, it will outgassing for some time. Putting a fan to blow on it will help some, that will (slightly) accelerate the curing process. It would be a guess how long it takes, and some folks are more sensitive to the odor adding to the variables. In most cases I’ll take something in after a week or so.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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bilyo

657 posts in 1463 days


#2 posted 04-17-2019 01:55 PM

It takes a while. And “while” will be different for different people. My wife is sensitive to the smell and I must leave completed pieces in the shop or elsewhere for a week or more. The only solution I know is to change to a less odorous finish. Most water based finishes have less offensive odor. I have not used all paste waxes but I know that Johnson’s paste wax would not help. It has it’s own odor that my wife doesn’t like.

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GR8HUNTER

5963 posts in 1073 days


#3 posted 04-17-2019 01:59 PM

maybe set it outside in the sun for awhile might help all depends how sensative your familys noses are maybe next time try no voc :<)))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

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Lazyman

3335 posts in 1748 days


#4 posted 04-17-2019 02:15 PM

I know it is too late but I would not have used a spar finish. They are generally intended for outdoor use so Tony’s suggestion about setting it outside for a while may be your best way to accelerate the process. As to the paste wax, it will actually add another delay to let that smell dissipate, depending upon what type you use. Some are largely petroleum based so you would add a whole new set of chemicals into the air while it dries.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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Robert

3371 posts in 1842 days


#5 posted 04-17-2019 02:21 PM

With the exception of wipe ons, I’ve pretty much gone to WATER BASE poly for indoor furniture.

Setting wood out in the sun can be a heartbreaking experience ….. I don’t recommend it.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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SMP

848 posts in 266 days


#6 posted 04-17-2019 02:47 PM

I’m trying to buy low/no VOC products, not just for the smell, but for the dangers of VOCs, especially in kids rooms. It can be 1-6 months before most of the VOCs have off-gassed. If you do move it in early i would at least try and keep windows open as mich as possible and fans going to lessen the concentration.

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bondogaposis

5368 posts in 2712 days


#7 posted 04-17-2019 03:11 PM

Would paste wax slow down the smell release, so that it’s not as noticeable?

You don’t want to slow down the release, but rather speed it up. I would think that 72 hours would be adequate.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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jonah

2068 posts in 3660 days


#8 posted 04-17-2019 04:58 PM

I’m with the crew questioning the use of a spar urethane. That’s an oil based product that will take forever to cure and will definitely out-gas quite a lot. No way I’d take that right from initial drying into a kid’s room. The amount of VOCs that still have to go somewhere is going to be insane.

Water-based finish or shellac for kid’s furniture unless you have a few weeks to wait for it to cure before moving it inside. Definitely not an outdoor finish like a spar urethane.

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Woodknack

12772 posts in 2741 days


#9 posted 04-17-2019 05:30 PM

Next time consider a low odor, fast drying, water base product. We had some left over from redoing the floors so I started using it projects, good stuff. Shellac is another option.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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JohnMcClure

618 posts in 1001 days


#10 posted 04-17-2019 05:30 PM

Thank you all. It seems I made a poor choice and should have researched (asked you guys) first. Unfortunately much of the project is already finished and I don’t think I should use a different finish on the remaining portions. I’ll choose better next time.
I did see a brushable lacquer, guessing that would dry very fast, what do y’all think of that?

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5507 posts in 2854 days


#11 posted 04-17-2019 06:00 PM

If that’s a solvent based lacquer (NC lacquer) it will dry relatively fast, but not be near as durable as oil based varnish. But if it’s a waterborne product labeled lacquer, it will dry fast and be quite durable.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

4450 posts in 4095 days


#12 posted 04-18-2019 03:01 AM

One other thing to consider if you’re using oil-based varnishes in the house: If you have a gas clothes dryer, your laundry will smell like burnt tires during the outgassing period. This is due to the clothes in the dryer subjected directly to the combusted air in the chamber and drum. Air that has carried the fumes passing directly in contact with the flames in the dryer. You will reek of a burnt rubber smell if you wear these clothes, but fortunately the smell is gone if you wash them again. If you smell the fumes of the varnish, that’s an indication that you will have stinky laundry.

I’m not sure if this is a problem with electric dryers. And don’t ask how I know this!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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RobS888

2604 posts in 2206 days


#13 posted 04-18-2019 03:17 AM

I used spar varnish on a mail box I installed in nov ‘17. It still smells inside. It is uncovered and south facing, but I can still spell it when I get the mail. So it may take a lot longer.

-- I always suspected many gun nuts were afraid of something, just never thought popcorn was on the list.

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SMP

848 posts in 266 days


#14 posted 04-18-2019 03:22 AM



I used spar varnish on a mail box I installed in nov ‘17. It still smells inside. It is uncovered and south facing, but I can still spell it when I get the mail. So it may take a lot longer.

- RobS888

I think thats where it gets its name, it wants to spar with you by punching you in the nose whenever you get near it.

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Robert

3371 posts in 1842 days


#15 posted 04-23-2019 02:10 PM

The answer is so obvious I’ll say it one more time a bit louder :-) WATER BASED URETHANE!!!

Keep in mind lacquer is a toxic product so use caution.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

showing 1 through 15 of 23 replies

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