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Finishing Projects?

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  • Finishing Projects?

    Hello everyone,

    Since winter is fast aproaching here in Minnesota I don't think I can stain or finish any project like I did it in the summer. My question is if I make some projects this winter how would I finish there. Since I am scrolling in a basement with the windows not able to open I would not be able to get proper ventilation down there. Is there an non toxic way on finishing items? If not would it hurt if the project was made and left alone for a couple of months to stain or oil?

    Any help is greatly apreaciated.

  • #2
    I store things in plastic bags to keep them clean and dust free until I can get around to finishing them. (Cutting or finishing) It also keeps me from losing parts.

    I imagine the bag also keps humidity constant so they don't warp.

    I put instructions in the bag whats been done and what needs to be done so I don't forget.

    I've got a memory like a steel trap thats been rusting on the ocean floor for generations.
    Political correctness is always political and rarely correct!


    • #3
      You must be talking about zip lock bags right? Any idea on larger projects? Also if there is a way that I can stain these or finish them in the basement without it very toxic would be a plus.


      • #4
        I face the same sort of problem in my garage shop here in northern NJ. If I open the door, it gets very cold and finishes don't like to cure. I wait for warm days and supplement with a heater aimed at my finishing table, the garage door propped open about a foot, and a fan at floor level to remove the fumes through the propped open door. When the finish is dry to the touch, I bring them inside to complete offgassing.

        Another possibility is to do the work in an upstairs room where ventilation, with a window fan, to the outside is possible. I know this would involve heat and money loss from the house in general but a heater in that room only would work.

        Still another possibility is to use water based finishes which are generally not toxic. The disadvantage here is that they are not usually as durable or strong as solvent based ones.

        I hope this helps.

        A day without sawdust is a day without sunshine.

        delta 650, hawk G426


        • #5
          I do actually have an unused bathroom up stairs with a window in it, but the only problem is my daugthers rooms are next to it. If I had a fan blwoing out the window while the project is drying and a have a tall under the door would this allow the fumes to flow outside?
          Last edited by jpedersm; 11-02-2011, 08:03 AM.


          • #6
            Using just about any solvent based finish inside will allow fumes throughout the house. I have a window in my basement shop. I put a fan in the window, with a furnace filter over it and have another fan at the opposite end of the shop, aimed toward the window, to assist with moving the air out the window. Depending on what I'm doing, I may also open a window in another part of the basement to allow for fresh replacement air. I still get complaints from the wife that she can smell fumes upstairs. It normally isn't bad, but a lot is dependent on an individuals sensitivity to these fumes. What doesn't bother one person can make another sick, so YMMV.

            You can use waterborne finishes and have less of a problem with fumes. There still is an odor, but it isn't nearly as strong and doesn't seem to linger as long as solvent based finishes. If you use spray cans, sometimes the propellant has more of an odor than the finish itself. For most items, waterborne finishes are plenty durable. You are probably limited to applying waterborne by spray or brush though, if that is an issue. I don't think you can thin it enough to dip it or wipe it on.

            My recommendation, if there isn't any pressing need to finish these items, you can easily store them in a dry place until better weather allows you to finish them outside. It won't hurt the projects to sit for awhile until they can be finished. Keep them somewhere where they won't get damaged and cover them up to keep the dust off of them and you will be fine.

            One last comment. I often beat the drum on this forum for shellac as an excellent finish for scrollwork. One of it's advantages is that it isn't dependent on temperature for drying. I've sprayed shellac outside with temps around freezing, with no problems. Conditions do have to be dry, so a sunny, dry, yet cool day is fine for applying shellac. Shellac doesn't offgas for weeks like oil based finishes, so once it's dry, it won't smell anymore. It dries in about 15-30 minutes, so you can bring the projects inside shortly after they are finished and have no fumes to deal with. Just a thought and perhaps another option.
            Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."


            • #7
              Aright I just got back from Walmart and the gal there said the Minwax stain does not give that much ordor, but the clear coat stuff does. So with that being said I am going to stain stuff in my upstairs bathroom then when it is nice out spray shellac on it outside. A couple more qwestions once I apply stain to the project is the a given amount of time I should add a clear coat or would a couple days to weeks not hurt it. I also made a candle holder for my mom in the picture below, is there a special stain and clear coat I should use for items like this when parts of the project gets hot?


              • #8
                Also another question; I made a candle holder for my mom today. Would there be a specific stain and a clear coat I need to use since there will be parts of the project that will be hot?


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jpedersm View Post
                  A couple more qwestions once I apply stain to the project is the a given amount of time I should add a clear coat or would a couple days to weeks not hurt it.

                  Typical oil based pigment stain like Minwax will have some odor. The way to tell it's fully dry is when it stops smelling. Depending on conditions, this could be a couple days, minimum. Waiting longer will not be a problem.
                  Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."


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