The Problem Of Drying Times

Most of the materials you apply to furniture during the construction and finishing are liquid or semi-liquid, and need to dry. Manufacturers of these products, from glues and fillers to stains and varnishes, indicate the average drying times on their labels.

The problem is, there is no such thing as an average drying time. Drying depends heavily on temperature and humidity, and these vary radically from place to place and time to time. Therefore, use any drying times strictly as a general indication, and not as the gospel truth.

We have seen varnishes which dried completely in 12 hours at 77 degrees, and required as long as 30 hours when the temperature was below 70 degrees. That gives you some idea of the sensitivity of finishing materials to climatic conditions—a variation of less than 10 degrees in temperature can increase drying time by a factor of 2'/= or 3. High humidity usually has an even greater effect.

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