Tried and True Varnish Oil curing 2018 edition
Hey all – I’ve been a reader for the last couple years and first time poster now.
To start, I’ve read through every thread I can find here and elsewhere concerning T&T Varnish Oil (some before using, the rest after), and it may well be that all there is to say has already been said – but most threads were years old and many trailed off before a resolution, so I guess I’m interested if there are solutions previous posters in my situation used but haven’t reported.
Fundamental questions: If the Varnish Oil hasn’t fully cured to the touch after about 48hrs in a hot/dry environment (Los Angeles) is it likely ever to, or does the surface tackiness I’m finding likely point to a misstep in application whose only solution will be removal? If the latter, can sanding be avoided – is removal possible with thinner/steel wool only? What’s my best bet?
I am (now) fully aware of the divided opinions on T&T (Varnish Oil especially). I won’t use it again on a workpiece unless/until I’ve mastered it for personal use. I have had success with the Original formula on Walnut, but hadn’t previously used the Varnish Oil. I’d hoped its added sheen and scratch resistance would be right my current project but clearly didn’t do enough research before applying it.
The workpiece is Cherry sanded to 320 grit. I thought I did a thorough job following the instructions: burnish with 0000 steel wool, apply thinly with cloth, wait at least an hour (left outdoors in sunlight), wipe off excess with clean cloth, wait 24 hrs, burnish and repeat. I know THIN coats are key here from previous T&T use, so I paid attention to that – though I think it’s likely I still went on too thick given my current situation.
I did 5 coats total over a week. I believe the third coat I started noticing my wipe-off rag catching in a couple spots where the surface felt a bit gummy. In retrospect, this was probably a sign I’d either used too much or waited too long to remove or both? Unfortunately, I progressed with more coats as before, but tried waiting slightly longer to remove excess. Probably should have done the opposite? And not added any more without being 100% positive the previous had fully cured? Ah, hindsight.
What I have now is a piece that looks quite beautiful, although the sheen is not entirely even and there are still a couple slightly gummy spots, and whose surface overall feels a little waxy/tacky; when I run my fingers across it they squeak. It’s been a little over 48 hrs, much of which time the piece has sat in direct sunlight and 75+ degree temps.
I guess I’m trying to ascertain A) am I being impatient and will the finish cure in time or B) are these symptoms of a botched (albeit commonly so) application process for which the only solution is removal.
Any thoughts/remedies are appreciated. I have reached out to T&T for advice, not heard back yet and thought I’d try here in the meantime.
Thanks in advance, Raky