Air Movement and Heat Speed the Drying of Finishes - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Air Movement and Heat Speed the Drying of Finishes

 In Flexner On Finishing, Flexner on Finishing Blog

Here’s the cabinet with an oil finish that was drying very slowly on the inside.

On Nov. 22 I posted an explanation of how cooler temperatures slow the drying of all finishes. Well, the opposite is also true. Warmer temperatures, especially with the aid of air movement, speed the drying of all finishes.

The example of why this information is helpful came in the form of a question from a woodworker. He had made the cabinet pictured and finished the inside with oil, specifically Liberon Finishing Oil.

He had not wanted to do this, but his client insisted. Usually, he applied a coat of SealCoat shellac to the interior of cabinets he made. Shellac dries rapidly with very little odor. Oil dries slowly with a lot of odor, especially in a closed environment.

His problem was that the odor of the oil wouldn’t go away. He couldn’t deliver the cabinet in this condition. What to do?

My shop heater, placed in front of the open cabinet, would be effective at speeding the drying.

Heat and air movement, with the door open, of course, would speed up the drying. So set up a window fan, for example, in front of the cabinet blowing into it. Even better, in addition to the fan, which is very easy to set up, turn up the heat in the shop a little, or, even better still, put a small heater in front of the cabinet, with the heater’s fan blowing heat into it.

– Bob Flexner

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