Worst Smelling Finish? Best? Least Toxic? Most Toxic?

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Forum topic by econsigny posted 01-05-2012 07:24 AM 1379 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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9 posts in 1398 days

01-05-2012 07:24 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tung oil linseed to blo finish ventilation smell

I recently asked how bad BLO smells because I thought I may be finishing a piece with it in a not so well ventilated basement.

I got a lot of responses, which varied, and I would be interested to see what everyone’s opinion is across a variety of finishes and not just BLO, seeing that I haven’t had much experience with any.

So, Tung Oil? BLO? Water based finished? Oil based?
What smells, what doesn’t?
What cannot you ABSOLUTELY NOT finish indoors?
What’s most sensitive (to temperature? light? ventilation? other stuff?) and least sensitive?
And anything else you can think of- I’m just looking for some insight into all these different options.

Furthermore, consider it being applied to walnut.

EDIT: What is most resilient? Think of it being applied to a coffee table that will be used by adults.

7 replies so far

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2003 days

#1 posted 01-05-2012 03:34 PM

Rustin’s Danish Oil. It’s the worst smelling product I have ever come across, and the smell lingers for days. Nice finish though.

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522 posts in 1488 days

#2 posted 01-05-2012 08:16 PM

I’ve used some catalized lacquers that were extremely nasty smelling!

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

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Clint Searl

1512 posts in 1395 days

#3 posted 01-05-2012 11:12 PM

The odor of a finish that hasn’t dried/cured shouldn’t even be a consideration in its choice.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

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13213 posts in 2040 days

#4 posted 01-05-2012 11:17 PM

Spar Varnish was the worst in terms on stench that i have used. Never had any probalems with BLO in my basement shop.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View a1Jim's profile


113725 posts in 2611 days

#5 posted 01-05-2012 11:40 PM

Consider water base finishes the have a lot less odor. Many of the older finishes like Blo and tung oil can take a lot longer to dry than more modern finishes ,keeping the smell around for a long time.

-- Custom furniture

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51451 posts in 2514 days

#6 posted 01-05-2012 11:53 PM

I hate the oder from Liberon Black Bison paste wax. It lingers for days too. Guess I was expecting a smell like shoe polish, but it has a very putrid smell to it.

I would like to know how to get the lingering order from finishes out of cabinets, chests, and trunks after they are finished. Some seem to last for months and sealing them doesnt seem to help.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

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2728 posts in 1611 days

#7 posted 01-06-2012 01:07 AM

I really only use a few finishes; zinsser sealcoat (dewaxed shellac) and crystalac I spray indoors with a boxfan and filter in the window sucking out the exhaust. Can’t even smell the finish during use.

I use krylon and rustoleum spray paints too, but not indoors.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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