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  • Curing/drying in low temp

    I read that low temps are not good for curing stains finishes and I'm a bit worried.

    I have a small, unheated but closed balcony, about 4' x 7' that I use as a workshop (apartment living means space is scarce). Being unheated means that it generally gets pretty cold in there so I do my work with a jacket etc. The conditions I guess are sliiiightly better than a small shed.

    I generally carve small stuff, less than 4" across in any direction and I was wondering how I should approach staining with a cold workshop.

    1. How much do low temps matter when staining (using minwax stain and polycrylic)?

    2. If its bad to cure at low temps, should I keep the carvings inside while curing? Or will the fumes be too bad for me and my girlfriend to be in the same room as the carvings?

    3. Can I put the carvings in a plastic storage box to keep the fumes in while it cures (and the open up the box after a few days when its supposed to be cured)? Or will the finish pull a trick from the linseed oil playbook and catch fire or something?

    4. Should I keep the cans with the stains/finishes etc. inside? Or are they ok in low temps?

  • #2
    You’re doing a lot mixed terms here. Hardening or polymerizing oils cure. Stains and varnishes dry.

    1. Read the side of the can manufacturers provide the information particular to their product.

    2. How can we know you or your girlfriends tolerance for odors but depending on the product there could be health concerns. Read the side of the can. With any luck the smell of drying poly will be an aphrodisiac.

    3. You can do whatever you want but it sounds like a bad idea stains and varnishes need air exposure to dry and oils need air to cure. You may want to consider following instructions on the side of the can.

    4. Low temperature? How low? Check the information on the side of the can most manufacturers provide information on storing their products.

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    • #3
      For the most part oil based finishes will be ok if stored in cold temps. Water based stains and finishes will not do well. Try to find a safe way to heat the cabinet or storage area. Just enough that to keep it from freezing.
      We live in the land of the free because of the brave! Semper Fi
      https://www.pinterest.com/carvingbarn0363/

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Nebraska View Post
        You’re doing a lot mixed terms here. Hardening or polymerizing oils cure. Stains and varnishes dry.

        1. Read the side of the can manufacturers provide the information particular to their product.

        2. How can we know you or your girlfriends tolerance for odors but depending on the product there could be health concerns. Read the side of the can. With any luck the smell of drying poly will be an aphrodisiac.

        3. You can do whatever you want but it sounds like a bad idea stains and varnishes need air exposure to dry and oils need air to cure. You may want to consider following instructions on the side of the can.

        4. Low temperature? How low? Check the information on the side of the can most manufacturers provide information on storing their products.
        Thaks for the cure vs dry! I was wondering about the difference.

        I know most of this info is on the die of the can, obviously. But generally the manufacturers give the ideal conditions on the can. Often in reality you tend to be able to deviate quite a bit so I was wondering if anyone has any expreince in this area and can tell me about it

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Randy View Post
          For the most part oil based finishes will be ok if stored in cold temps. Water based stains and finishes will not do well. Try to find a safe way to heat the cabinet or storage area. Just enough that to keep it from freezing.
          Thank you! How about curing? Does that go ok in colder rooms (above freezing though)?

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          • #6
            You could always get a small ceramic heater to put on the balcony. It's cold enough here in LA during the winter that I have one sitting on the floor of my garage about 4 feet away from me. Keeps me warm enough, and helps acrylic paint dry fairly quickly.

            Do you have a hood above your stove? If so, is it a recirculating one, or exhaust to outside? How about the bathroom fan? You could put your carving in the bathroom, leave the fan on, and most of the odors will be sucked outside...

            Claude
            My FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ClaudesWoodCarving/
            My Pinterest Page: https://www.pinterest.com/cfreaner/
            My Instagram Page: https://www.instagram.com/claudeswoodcarving/
            My ETSY Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudesWoodcarving

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Seckar View Post

              Thank you! How about curing? Does that go ok in colder rooms (above freezing though)?
              It will be slower.

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              • #8
                I happen to have a micro wave in my shop, and have heated small items in it . BUT not to do more that 5-10 seconds. I found that some hardwoods get hotter sooner. And found out the hard way , too hot to handle. Then when it is nice and warm do the coating,. They will set up faster. ..My 2 p
                Chuck .
                Chuck
                Always hoping for a nice slice that won't need sanding!

                https://woodensmallthings.blogspot.com/2021/01/

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Nebraska View Post
                  You’re doing a lot mixed terms here. Hardening or polymerizing oils cure. Stains and varnishes dry.

                  1. Read the side of the can manufacturers provide the information particular to their product.

                  2. How can we know you or your girlfriends tolerance for odors but depending on the product there could be health concerns. Read the side of the can. With any luck the smell of drying poly will be an aphrodisiac.

                  3. You can do whatever you want but it sounds like a bad idea stains and varnishes need air exposure to dry and oils need air to cure. You may want to consider following instructions on the side of the can.

                  4. Low temperature? How low? Check the information on the side of the can most manufacturers provide information on storing their products.
                  ED! watch out for line number 2,,, HAHaaaa.
                  Chuck
                  Chuck
                  Always hoping for a nice slice that won't need sanding!

                  https://woodensmallthings.blogspot.com/2021/01/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Claude View Post
                    You could always get a small ceramic heater to put on the balcony. It's cold enough here in LA during the winter that I have one sitting on the floor of my garage about 4 feet away from me. Keeps me warm enough, and helps acrylic paint dry fairly quickly.

                    Do you have a hood above your stove? If so, is it a recirculating one, or exhaust to outside? How about the bathroom fan? You could put your carving in the bathroom, leave the fan on, and most of the odors will be sucked outside...

                    Claude
                    I could, and I have a small electric heater I got for when I work there, but my question was for the longer periods of time when I would have to leave stains/finishes/stained wood to dry in there. Having the heater on non stop would obviously explode my bills, haha!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Read the side of the can for product description then interpret for your particular situation.

                      In Poland you are not going to be spraying outside in the middle of winter without a supplementary source of heat. Period. The gas in the can is not going to be very efficient at those low temps.

                      You can help the situation by keeping your stock inside at room temperature, - 20 degrees C/ 70 F?

                      Warm your item to be painted beforehand, - I used to use the cooks hair drier.

                      Most products advise a temp of 27C - 80F. That would be nice but impractical for me, so I never paint below 5C/40F It just takes longer to dry. Once the paint, whatever has set, I move the item inside to cure/dry. Oils will take a little longer. You are talking days, not hours.

                      You are in the city so the following will probably be of little use, but I use a lot of natural stains/colouring. Berries/lichen/bark/plants. Temperature does not affect them. - humidity does though. Keep below 70.
                      Arthur B-P

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                      • #12
                        I know we have kind of chased this dog around the block a couple times now. Given your circumstance I’m going to again suggest you consider water based products. Since they have minimal odors they could be used and stored inside without the concerns created by oil based products.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Nebraska View Post
                          I know we have kind of chased this dog around the block a couple times now. Given your circumstance I’m going to again suggest you consider water based products. Since they have minimal odors they could be used and stored inside without the concerns created by oil based products.
                          We did haha! I have looked for water based products since your last reply but unfortunately in my country and on amazon europe basically all you can find for treating wood are either stains in neon colors (like neon pink, green, rainbow colors) at craft shops, or cans that basically say "10 in 1! pre-stain + stain + filler + finish + god knows what else but you only need this!!!" and I'm a bit skeptical about those.

                          I managed to find a guy that imports plain old minwax stains at a reasonable markup (only like 15%) so since most people use them, and most tutorials use them, I figured I'd stick to what people use until I get some experience.
                          Last edited by Seckar; 09-27-2022, 04:43 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Hi Seckar, live in Europe too. To paint my carvings, I use (cheap) acrylics from a Discounter. (with us there are 'Action' - Shops...there you can get 24 small tubes with acrylics paint for 4€).
                            Next... if I want to stain... I bought powder stains from 'Clou'. You can solve these powders with water ... I store them in a glas with lid... stays good for years. The solution you get, can be diluted in the way you want. Other people just solve a bit of powder, just the amount they need.
                            After painting or/staining, you can do the finishing you like (in the moment I make the last coat with shoepolish ​​​​​​)
                            ​​​​​​Btw. I wanted to try 'Minwax satin polish', I ordered it at am*on, got the can, it came from Poland​​​​​​.

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                            • #15
                              ... just forgot to say... Do all my painting, staining and finishing inside (only if I use Sprays, I go outside)

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