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How to fix clear varnish gone tacky?

gapliving
New Contributor

How to fix clear varnish gone tacky?

Hi, I have been stripping stain from my dining table and stools. Successfully stripped the stain, did a light sand and good clean in preparation for using Feast Watson clear varnish (from Bunnings) for furniture. 
Applied varnish on Sunday to the stools, and they feel tacky today (Tuesday)  and not overly dry. Varnish was not applied thickly. Disappointed that the clear varnish has made the stools look darker in colour even though no tint / stain used. 
Sanding doesn’t work. Do I need to strip the varnish and start again? 

KatieC
Member Engagement
Member Engagement

Re: How to fix clear varnish gone tacky?

Hi @gapliving,

 

Firstly, welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community! You'll find the community is a great place to ask a question, give advice, and be inspired. Thank you for joining us and asking about your varnish finish. 

 

Our resident DIY expert @EricL will be on later this afternoon, but let me tag @Remarka6le@sandy_d, and @prettyliving if they have any advice from their experiences working with wood and upcycling.

 

To help with the answer, did you wipe down the chairs after applying the varnish? 

 

Katie

 

 

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Re: How to fix clear varnish gone tacky?

Thanks KatieC!

no I didn’t wipe down the chairs after varnishing. The application instruction on the product didn’t advise this was required. 

Remarka6le
Experienced Contributor

Re: How to fix clear varnish gone tacky?

Do you have any images so we can see what we are working with? 

Remarka6le
KatieC
Member Engagement
Member Engagement

Re: How to fix clear varnish gone tacky?

I agree with @Remarka6le that pictures speak a thousand words. @gapliving do you have images to share?

 

Katie

 

 

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Re: How to fix clear varnish gone tacky?

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 not sure how helpful these pictures are, but chairs certainly feel tacky to the touch. Have tried sanding a small area however the sand paper quickly becomes clogged and unusable. 
Thanks in advance for any advice. 

EricL
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: How to fix clear varnish gone tacky?

Hello @gapliving

 

My apologies for the late reply. There are a few reasons why varnish doesn't dry off. First is temperature, varnish is best applied at 25C at 50 percent humidity. Cold temperatures tend to delay the drying process, continuous cold days will extend it even further. Next is humidity, if there is too much moisture in the air, this also retards the drying time. 

 

Timber is a natural product and sometimes you'll get one that has large pores in them. These pores tend to absorb the substances painted onto them. A good example is your chopping board. If it is made of mixed timber, wiping it with a wet rag produces different results. Parts of it absorb the moisture and go dark, others stay the same as the water is not absorbed. It just so happens that the timber in your chair has large pores and has absorbed the varnish giving it that darker wet timber look. 

 

To remove the tacky varnish on your furniture, I suggest wiping it with a rag with turpentine. You'll want to wipe the varnish off, don't rub it in a circular motion. Leave the chairs in a windy/sunny part of the house to dry off the remaining varnish. However, if temperatures are staying on the cold side, I suggest using an electric heater to artificially heat a room. Use a dehumidifier to lower the moisture in the air. Please remember to keep it at a nice balance. Overheating and overdrying produce the same result and that is a dry surface but a soft undercoat.    

 

On your next attempt, I suggest diluting the varnish. Please keep an eye on the temperature to make sure you're not running into successive cold days. 

 

Let me tag our experienced members @tom_builds, @woodenwookie and @Adam_W for their recommendations.

 

If you need further assistance, please let us know.

 

Eric

 

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Adam_W
Valued Contributor

Re: How to fix clear varnish gone tacky?

Hi @gapliving frustrating to encounter this sort of problem. I had the same thing happen a few years back when using some 'Black Japan' stain on an old timber table. It just refused to set.
First off... you mentioned about the colour. In my experience any of the oils or varnishes, even clear ones, will slightly darken or enhance colours. Just part of the penetrative & sealing process. Feature not a bug as they say...
@EricL touched on what I believe is the right area - humidity & moisture. After it's been very wet or humid timber does stay moist. You can't tell this to touch but it will be holding moisture for sometime. This isn't any great issue with water-based products, in-fact over the years I have talked with some paint experts who say it's an advantage as this tiny amount of dilution actually improves penetration & therefore bonding.
Problem is with oil based products, those that need turps clean-up, the moisture prevents bonding and drying and this can then be amplified if the ambient humidity is still high. Both of these things are what happened with my Black Japan DIY mess...
Not quite sure what the best solution is I'm afraid. Can you move them to an area where they can dry & see what happens?

MitchellMc
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: How to fix clear varnish gone tacky?

Hi @gapliving,

 

I thought I would touch base to see how you're are going with your project. Please let us know if you're still having difficulties, and we'd be happy to help further.

 

Mitchell

 

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Re: How to fix clear varnish gone tacky?

Thanks for your advice! 
To fix the problem I ended up having to re-strip the chairs. 
Also just tried a Tung oil on one chair taking on your helpful advice. Has gone on really nice. Sadly I am not quite a fan of the colour finish as a bit dark (really took to the wood colour following stripping and sanding). 
If you have any advice as to whether I need to put anything on the table/chairs to keep the more blonde look, or what product would be advised to eg, minimise future staining from food spills that would be appreciated! Perhaps a wax or proof sealer? 

@MitchellMc 

@EricL 

 

 

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