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Curing cabinet (Read 1,065 times)
 
John Normoyle
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Curing cabinet
Dec 14th, 2014 at 11:06am
 
I did a search and I dindn't see any thing.  I know many people have made small to large drying cabinets for their wood and rough turned items.  Has anyone tried the same for curing finishes?  I am wondering if you created a drying cabinet but keeping it at a lower temp, I am thinking 90F or so if that would speed the curing times.
I am thinking that an insulated cabinet with a fan inside to move the air so there are no hot spots would alow for a dim able light to maintain a steady temp.  That, I think, would speed the curing times since the piece would be at a stable temp that is warm enough to help the curing process but not so high as to dry out the wood. 
Any thoughts?  Thanks
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JimQuarles
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Re: Curing cabinet
Reply #1 - Dec 14th, 2014 at 11:20am
 
There have been several threads about using a dead refrigerator as a low temp kiln with vents and a 40-100 watt bulb.  Probably would work for curing finishes.
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Don Stephan
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Re: Curing cabinet
Reply #2 - Dec 14th, 2014 at 8:31pm
 
For what type of finish are you trying to speed the cure?
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John Normoyle
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Re: Curing cabinet
Reply #3 - Dec 15th, 2014 at 8:20am
 
Jim, I have seen the threads on the low temp kilns.  I might go hunting the thrift stores for an old refrigerator. 

Don, this time of year in an unfinished garage shop it is for all finishes.  With the wide temperature swings (30 - 70) I am thinking having a more stable temp while curing would both be better for the finish and speed the curing time.
Thanks for the replies.
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Joseph Schlawin
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Re: Curing cabinet
Reply #4 - Dec 15th, 2014 at 9:13am
 
John,
Do you know if the finishes you are using simply dry or off-gas or if there is a UV element needed?  For some finishes, two part resins, a box with a UV grow light would be better than heat.
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Richard Pyle
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Re: Curing cabinet
Reply #5 - Dec 15th, 2014 at 3:15pm
 
You can also use a large ice chest or build a box & insulate it. I'm going to build one on pulleys so I can get it up out of the way since my space is limited
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John Normoyle
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Re: Curing cabinet
Reply #6 - Dec 15th, 2014 at 7:30pm
 
Joseph, right now my finishes include wood turners finish, shellac, lacquer, tung and walnut oil.  I don't think any of those require UV light.
Richard, I like the idea of it being on a pully and getting it out of the way.  I might have to look into that.

The impression I am getting is no one has tried to make a specific container to aid in the curing time, I am quite sure there are many people who have a finishing area that keeps dust and other fine particles from landing on the wet finish.  I might have to build one and report how it goes.  Any thoughts on how to test a finish to see if it is fully cured that is repeatable? I am hoping for a test more accurate then "if you smell the finish then it is not fully cured".
Thank again for all of your thoughts.
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Kenn Harris
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Re: Curing cabinet
Reply #7 - Dec 15th, 2014 at 9:12pm
 
John...I'm very curious in the outcome of your question.  I too have questions about a special 'finishing/drying room' as I currently use my old office, which I rarely use now that I'm retired, but would rather use some other method to dry my wood turning project finishes rather than my garage!  Please keep us posted on your findings and final decision!  Safe turning to you and Merry Christmas to you and yours!
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John L Normoyle
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Re: Curing cabinet
Reply #8 - Feb 14th, 2017 at 12:09pm
 
Since I built a wooden box.  In hindsight I should have added insulation.  Meh.  So. I use a heat lamp for terrariums.  And it keeps the temp at ~85 so that is fine.  I will probably tear it apart in a couple of months and add the insulation.  Or I might just use a spray insulation.
It seems to help with the cure times.  I don't really have a way of accurately measuring the times since I tend to not make more than 1 of the same at a time.  However, I do know that walnut and Tung oils are taking a good 2 -3 days less when I use them as a flood coat for rolling pins, cutting boards and the like. 
I am sure that if I used an old deep freezer or and old upright it would work just as well.  But I had the wood on hand.
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Louie Powell
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Re: Curing cabinet
Reply #9 - Feb 14th, 2017 at 1:13pm
 
A comment and a question - - -

Many years ago, I built a film drying cabinet for my darkroom.  It was a closet-like box made from MDF, but with thin acrylic in the door so I could see inside with the door closed.  It was equipped with a blower to bring in outside air, at the top,  pass it through an air filter to eliminate dust, and then pass the air over a 200w. incandescent lamp that generated heat, before it exited via holes at the bottom of the box.  The interior temperature could reach upwards of 130 degrees.  In drying film, the issue is evaporation of water while preventing dust from settling on the film, and a positive pressure enclosure with filtered, warm air is what is needed.   It worked very well for the intended purpose.

Now the question - to what degree does the curing of a finish depend on temperature?  I honestly don't know the answer to that question, but my intuition is that because curing is mainly a matter of evaporation of hydrocarbon solvents within the finish, temperature is less of a factor than time.  In fact, I suspect that the curing process for some finishes could be exothermic, so the key requirements are to provide for airflow and dust control - it may not be necessary to provide a source of heat.

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John L Normoyle
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Re: Curing cabinet
Reply #10 - Feb 14th, 2017 at 1:30pm
 
Hmm.  That could be explaining why I am not seeing a large change in drying times.  I was working along the premises that since the finish needed to be above 68 that a warmer room would speed the drying time.  I wonder if I put an old computer fan at the top  if the air movement would do anything.  Sigh.  Finishing seems almost an art and less of a science.  Or I am just missing the science bit.
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Gary D Baker
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Re: Curing cabinet
Reply #11 - Feb 15th, 2017 at 5:40pm
 
John,
Use lacquer ... it dries in 10-15 minutes ... I spray it at any temperature above freezing and it is a fantastic finish.
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