Author Topic: Trouble with Varathane Spar Urethane, satin (rattle can).  (Read 540 times)

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Offline Packard

  • Posts: 1394
I make a small project for a friend and since it might be exposed to some exterior use, I decided to finish it with spar urethane.

I used "satin Varathane Ultimate Spar Urethane, Oil Based" from a rattle can. The substrate is red oak with Minwax oil based stain left to dry overnight.

The rattle can allowed a nice smooth coverage (the item is just 10" x 5" x 1½" with a bunch of interior corners that would have taken more time by brush.)

The room temperature to spray was 65 degrees F.  But I brought it up to the main living area where it is 68 degrees to accelerate drying. 

It is now 48 hours since it has been applied and it feels like fly paper.  Very sticky. 

I doubt that I will be able to satisfactorily remove the finish and apply another.  I will have to remake the project. 

Does anyone have experience with this stuff?   Was it me?  Or is the product sucky?   I've sprayed oil based poly (Minwax) before and brushed on oil-based poly (also Minwax).  Both Minwax and Varathane are owned by  Rust-Oleum.  So the technology is available to them. 

Is there any easy way to remove this finish?  Mineral spirits? 

I was thinking of baking the piece at about 140 degrees to see if that will dry it out.  Will that compromise the Woodworkers III glue I used?




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Offline Packard

  • Posts: 1394
Re: Trouble with Varathane Spar Urethane, satin (rattle can).
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2022, 11:39 AM »
It did finally cure after two weeks sitting on a table on my covered deck.  I did get a refund from Varathane. 

My guess is that they want you to apply such a thin coating that it will not level and will not even appear "wet".  Their suggestion that I take the still wet piece and leave it outdoors sounds like lunacy to me.  Not only dust, but also possibly insects and other debris could end up on the surface. 

I did let it dry indoors until it was dry to the touch (but very soft).  That way nothing would adhere to the surface.  But the instructions that said "dry to the touch in one hour and recoat in two hours" was wishful thinking.  It remained "wet to the touch" for two days and soft for several more. 

https://images.homedepot-static.com/catalog/pdfImages/ef/ef3935f2-25d1-4fa4-b6de-51e4ac468dab.pdf

 Dries to touch in 1 hour and can be recoated in 2 hours. Allow 24 hours before full use.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 9868
Re: Trouble with Varathane Spar Urethane, satin (rattle can).
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2022, 11:47 AM »
I think you got some defective product or else maybe you didn't shake it long enough. I've used the rattle can version and it dries to the touch within 30-45 minutes.

Offline Packard

  • Posts: 1394
Re: Trouble with Varathane Spar Urethane, satin (rattle can).
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2022, 11:55 AM »
Or maybe I sprayed too much on.

They did not ask for the can to be returned, so they don't know if it is defective either. That seems like a major fault in their process. They only seemed interested in getting rid of the complaint.  Whereas their main goal should have been to determine if there was a problem in the manufacturing process.  They never really addressed that.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 9868
Re: Trouble with Varathane Spar Urethane, satin (rattle can).
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2022, 12:01 PM »
Ya that's always a hot button for me too. You'd think they would want to know if it's a batch issue.

I spray mine on pretty heavy, I lay it on thick enough until right before it starts to run.

Offline Packard

  • Posts: 1394
Re: Trouble with Varathane Spar Urethane, satin (rattle can).
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2022, 12:36 PM »
In the early 1960s I was just getting into photography and I had just set up my own darkroom.  My friend Steve G. did likewise.

He had a problem with a roll of film he developed.  He was using chemistry from FR Corporation, a economy version of Kodak chemistry. He wrote a letter to them.   They replied by sending him a free sample of every item they produced.

Steve said, "Hey, this is great.  I will write to Kodak and see if I can get free samples from them."  He sent a nearly identical letter to Kodak.

They replied with a small glass vial and a return carton with pre-paid postage and instructions to please send them a sample to test. 

So Steve had to go and buy some Kodak chemicals and mix it up to send.  They replied about two weeks later that there were traces of citric acid in the sample (he used an orange juice jar for the chemical container), and that the concentration was not correct.  They suggested that he wash the container thoroughly and measure out the chemicals and water accurately.  The problem ws not with the chemistry, but with his process.

Steve was upset.  He went to the effort of buying some Kodak product to send in and he got nothing for his efforts.

I, on the other hand, decided right then that I only wanted to use Kodak products because clearly they were more concerned about the quality of their products than the cost to find out what the problem was. 

Varathane did not show that same care even after I wrote to them advising them that they should have tested my sample.  They said that they had the batch number and that was all that was required.  Maybe they are right, but we have a QC department (ISO certified) and we would not work like that.  We would insist that samples of defective products be returned for analysis, especially if the product was currently in production.  We would want to know about issues so that we could address them.  That appeared not to be the goal at Varathane.  Note:  I keep saying "Varathane" but Varathane is owned by Rust-Oleum.  I would think that they would operate with the same protocols. 

I could have gotten the refund with a lot less effort by bringing the can back to HomeDepot.  But I thought that Rust Oleum would want to know about the issue so that they could address it.  In the future if I have problems with a Rustoleum product, I will just return it to the vendor for a refund.  Rustoleum will remain blissfully  ignorant of the problems.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2022, 12:39 PM by Packard »