Temps in the 30's and I still need to clear coat

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Forum topic by Challanged posted 11-26-2012 02:07 PM 1365 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 2153 days

11-26-2012 02:07 PM

I had difficulty matching my stain which delayed my project by a couple of weeks. Its stained, but the temps took a nose-dive on Friday. Now I think we are heading into winter truly. As a condo dweller, I have two options; I can add the finish in the dining room of my 1000sf home or complete it in the unheated garage. At best today the temps in the garage will be upper 40’s. Can I get it done at that temp? What will my drying times between coats look like? I hate to not protect the finish between now and the spring and I MUST get my garage back for the snow season.

I’m using MW Polycrylic brush on over both the finished top and the painted body of the cabinet.

11 replies so far

View dhazelton's profile


2789 posts in 2441 days

#1 posted 11-26-2012 02:10 PM

I’d go into the heated space. The can must give you some temperature guidelines, and I think in the 40s would be below minimum. Especially if it’s get lower than that overnight – you may end up with a milky looking finish.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2393 days

#2 posted 11-26-2012 02:19 PM

Can you temporarily and safely heat your garage? 40’s is too cold. I have a few projects I am working on now even though average temps are in the 30’s here. I glue and finish in the basement. It’s important that your pieces come up to temp as well. If you do move them inside, let them acclimate for a few hours before applying finish. I think Minwax recommends 77 degrees at 50% RH for ideal conditions.


View jap's profile


1251 posts in 2198 days

#3 posted 11-26-2012 03:01 PM

i’m pretty sure oil-based varnishes will cure in cold temperature, just takes longer. you should try it on a test piece of scrap to make sure

-- Joel

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Monte Pittman

29874 posts in 2482 days

#4 posted 11-26-2012 03:39 PM

Try the test piece. I don’t trust anything drying properly under 50 degrees.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2393 days

#5 posted 11-26-2012 03:55 PM

Oil probably will cure eventually, but he is using Polycrylic, which I believe is water based. At the very best, your drying time will increase drastically. This will ensure you have PLENTY of dust nibs to sand out. :) In addition with water based finishes, there is sort of an “open” time to apply subsequent coats. Once that is exceeded, you need to really scuff it up. It would be tough to tell if you are in the window or not when you are that far outside the manufacturers recommendation.


View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2820 days

#6 posted 11-26-2012 08:06 PM

if you move to a heated area you need to allow some time for the wood in the project to warm. Just moving it indoors is not always the answer either.

View Ripthorn's profile


1458 posts in 3129 days

#7 posted 11-26-2012 08:16 PM

I do polycrylic indoor with a brush all the time. No noxious fumes like lacquer, so you are good to go. Just don’t get any on the table itself.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View ChuckC's profile


842 posts in 3079 days

#8 posted 11-26-2012 08:32 PM

I use MW Polycrylic in the house all the time, warm or cold.

View JAAune's profile


1838 posts in 2461 days

#9 posted 11-27-2012 05:27 AM

There’s another thread with a similar question. You might be interested in reading the posts.

-- See my work at and

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Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4244 days

#10 posted 11-27-2012 05:40 AM

Been working remodel since ‘97 and have pushed finishes a few times and seen other contractors do it too. It never works out. The only thing I have been able to push the temp on is the pre-cat lacquers I use. I am able to spray them in my shop at 62° and still get 3 coats on in 1-1/2 hours.

Take the project in the house and let it warm up before you apply the finish. The air temp is not the only factor, surface temp and product temp also make a difference.

I have used Polycrylic before. It doesn’t have an offensive odor that will run you out.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2431 days

#11 posted 11-27-2012 10:04 AM

Those oil filled radiator type heaters will bring the temp up to the 60-70 range if you don’t have too much air infiltration. I use one to heat my two car garage with a fan on the other side of the room on low it does a great job.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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